Mayflower Project loses USA charity status. Chair and vice chair step down.

“loss of 501(c)(3) status can be highly challenging to a charity’s continued operation, as many foundations and corporate matching programs do not grant funds to a charity without such status, and individual donors often do not donate to such a charity due to the unavailability of the deduction.”

It appears from the Harwich Mayflower website as well as various US Gov sites, that they have lost their US charity status. This comes in a few weeks when there has been a flurry of activity at the project, which includes the chairman stepping down and then the vice chairman stepping down as well.

While I remain cautiously optimistic that the project will one day build the ship as promised, I have to be honest, with time ticking by and their continued refusal to talk to members of the public (the same public that they are asking for donations) I’m of the opinion that the build may not end up as originally envisioned.  Maybe they’ll drop the ship build and just become a Harwich Heritage centre, maybe they’ll get pieces built off site and build it like a kit, maybe they’ll scale it down and build a model in dry dock, maybe they’ll just continue to stumble along as they are? Who knows, apparently not even the project themselves.

Although my email to them asking about the build was opened and read at 10.29pm on February 2nd, they have of course not replied. No, I’m not surprised either. Let’s remember that these people are a charity asking for help from the public, yet continue to refuse to give any information to the public on what they are doing.

Seriously, how hard is it? Come on guys, get your act together. You’re either building a ship or you’re not. As time goes on you’re losing more and more credibility, to the point where people are beginning to think that there’s something “funny” going on. Remember the old saying:

You can fool some of the people some of the time, but most people can see through you. 🙂



  1. Pat Claus

    What a huge relief!! It is indeed a huge problem to lose your 501 (c) (3) status, and this sends an uneqiuvocal statement to any US person who was remotely thinking of sending money to this organization, as I myself unfortunately did years ago. What a terrible waste of time and effort and money for all involved!! Thanks so much for keeping us informed, especially we who are descendants and who otherwise would have no way of knowing what is going on over there! Pat Claus


    • James Kelly

      Unfortunately, I too (along with many before and after me) got caught up in the romance of the project and devoted hundreds of hours and money before I moved away from harwich. Please be reassured that whether these guys build a ship or not, this blog will always give an honest and unbiased view of what’s happening.

  2. Paul

    There must come a time, maybe not so very far ahead, when people who have donated money, time and effort to the HMP Charity in good faith, will start to challenge the validity, honesty and itegrity of this ever changing group of people. There is no doubt that Tom Daly and the founding trustees of the Project acted correctly at the start, however, many things have happened, both good and bad, that have affected all their good intentions.

    Only time will tell how much of the original idea will come to fruition, but let nobody decry those that wanted to bring a renewed importance to Harwich, by broadcasting to the world where the most famous ship that ever sailed was built and who skippered her. I have sailed the world with many Americans and very few of them know that the Mayflower was built in Harwich, Essex. Most will tell you that she was built either in Liverpool or Ireland and only a small percentage of adults across the pond consider that the Mayflower story is more than a fairy story for children.

    The HMP losing USA charity status is very sad, however, I am not surprised. But, this may actually be the savior of the ship build, rather than a start of the end. One of the greatest supporters of the ship build whilst I was closely connected to the Project, was Sir Richard Branson. If Sir Richard was contacted and asked to take the helm, all kinds of money and effort would be pumped in and in no time at all, the ship would be built and ready for sea trials.

    • James Kelly

      I have been to the USA many, many times and am going again in a few months to spend 12 weeks there, several of those weeks will be in “Mayflower” country. Of all the people I have met and those who have talked Mayflower with me, I have to agree that very few knew of the Harwich connection.

      Let’s be honest here, Richard Branson? If ANYONE was asked to take over the helm it would be a huge improvement.

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