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The Rockland Country Club Foundation

After a number of informal meetings in 1984, the Rockland Country Club Foundation was incorporated on December 14, 1984.  The Founders were a group of past Club Presidents, led by John Morro, and including Kent Vanderhoef, Jim Patterson, Joe Romano, Anthony Tozzoli, Bob Jablonski, and George Garrecht.  In January 1985, George Van Ausdall was elected club President and he joined the original Board of Directors at that time.

The foundation is a Not-For-Profit organization under the laws of the State of New York and, as its charter indicates, exists for the purpose of receiving and maintaining funds to be used for charitable, religious, scientific, literacy or educational purposes.  It has tax exempt status under Section 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Service Code.

In early 1985 it was determined that the principal interest of the Foundation would be the awarding of scholarships to Rockland and Bergen County students entering college.  A committee of educators was formed and chaired by Dr. Donald T. McNelis, President of St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill.  Application forms were devised and provided to guidance counselors at all Rockland and Bergen County High Schools.  In addition, forms and information about the program were distributed to Club employees, their children and caddies at the Club.  In 1985, two scholarships of $1,000 each, renewable for up to a total of four years were awarded.

Also in the spring of 1985, the Foundation joined with Camp Venture, an organization serving developmentally impaired individuals, in sponsoring a golf tournament which became known as the “Venturi Classic.”  This event had been started by Venture two years earlier but had enjoyed limited success.  Famed Golf Pro and announcer, Ken Venturi, winner of the 1964 US Open, came to the club each year on the day of the tournament, joined the participants on the golf course, conducted a clinic and spoke at the dinner following the event.  This charitable tournament was primarily supported by Club members and soon became one of the premier tournaments in the area.  Dr. Jablonski chaired the committed managing the event and the first years net came to $30,000 which was split with Camp Venture.  With the $100 each in seed money donated by the Founders, donations by other Club members and tournament profits, the Foundation had a net worth of $20,300 at year end.

In 1986 the Foundation awarded four scholarships which became known as “Venturi Scholarships” in recognition of Ken Venturi’s involvement.  Dr. Jablonski again chaired the event which produced $25,600 as the Foundation’s share of the net profit.  At year end the Foundation had a net worth of $51,400.

In 1987 the Foundation expanded its Board of Directors to include other than current and past Club Presidents with the addition of Jim Costello and Herb Sperling as Directors.  An Annual Joseph “Skip” DeJulia Jr.  Award was established to honor the son of Dr. & Mrs. DeJulia who were very active in the management of the tournament each year.  “Skip” DeJulia was starting a career as golf professional when he was killed in a car accident.  This award is given each year to a graduating member of the Tappan Zee High School golf team and winners are selected each year by the coach and other officials at the school.

In 1988 and 1989 George Garrecht chaired the tournament committee and, with increasing sponsor support, the event netted $52,000 and $53,000 for the Foundation.  Six scholarships were awarded each year and in 1989 the amount was increased to $1,500 per year.  The Foundation also made a Grant to Nyack Hospital and these annual Grants have been awarded each year since then.

In 1990 seven Venturi Scholarships were awarded, including one to Bob Everett, now our Golf Professional.  Bob had been working at the Club and had an outstanding record in high school golf.  The Foundation added a Casino Night at the Club to its fundraising events.  At year end the Foundation had a net worth of $225,000 with $180,000 invested in US Treasury Notes.

In 1991, 1992 and 1993 the tournament was chaired by George VanAusdall and netted about $45,000 for the foundation each year.  Six or seven full Venturi Scholarships were awarded each year, and for the first time, one-time educational Grants of $500 were awarded to deserving applicants not given full Venturi scholarships.  At year end 1993 the Foundation had $332,000 of which $250,000 was invested in US Treasury Notes.

1994 and 1995 saw several major changes in the structure of the Foundation and a change in its investment policy.  A schedule of retirement from the Board was developed under which the fifteen Directors would phase out over a five year period.  Accordingly on July 1, 1995, Max Ulrich replaced John Morro as President, Bob Chepak replaced Geroge Garrecht as Vice President and Clark Burkins and George VanAusdall became Secretary and Treasurer, replacing Jim Patterson as Secretary-Treasurer.  The three outgoing Officers had served since the Foundations beginning.  It was also decided to broaden the Foundation’s investment program to include stocks.  After several meetings, Stan Ward of Paine Webber, and later of Dean Witter, became the Foundation’s investment advisor.  As previous investments in short-term US Treasury Notes matured, a more diversified program went into effect.  Max Ulrich chaired the tournament in both of these years and each produced about $45,000 for the Foundation. 

In 1996, six Venturi Scholarships were awarded, the Director replacement program continued and Mrs. Carol DeJulia was the first woman to serve on the Board and was elected Secretary. Max Ulrich again chaired the tournament committee and at year end, the Foundation had a net worth of about $400,000.

1997 saw the 15th year for this tournament and the 13th year in which the Foundation participated.  Pete Malcolm served as Chairman and greatly expanded corporate support for the event which netted the Foundation $56,000.  Six Venturi scholarships were awarded at year end the Foundation’s net worth was about $444,000 including some $400,000 in investments.

1998 saw a major change in the tournament sponsorship.  It was decided that the Foundation and Venture would sever their ties and each run its own tournament.  It should be noted here that Venture has since established a successful event each year that enjoys wide support by individual Rockland Country Club Members.  In 1998 the Board also decided to expand its charitable activities by awarding Grants over and above the long standing educational programs.  In this year Bob Chepak became the Foundation President.  Five full scholarships and six other educational Grants were awarded.  At year end Foundation net worth approached $500,000.

In 1999 the Foundation joined with the Heisman Trophy Organization as co-sponsors of the tournament.  Again under Pete Malcolm’s leadership and again with expanded corporate support, the event netted $74,000 for the Foundation after a major Grant of $25,000 to Venture and $15,000 to Heisman.  This year the Foundation awarded six full scholarships, six other educational awards and $18,500 in other Grants, not including the Venture and Heisman awards.  Year end saw a net worth grown to $688,000 including $537,000 in investments, which were now managed by Warburg, Pincus.

In 2000 Frank Medici became Foundation President and again the Heisman organization was involved in the tournament.  This year seven full scholarships were awarded and after giving $25,000 to Heisman and a related organization plus a number of other Grants, year end saw the Foundation with a net worth of $884,000.  This amount reflected a substantial increase in stock prices in general.

2001 was the final year with Heisman and the tournament, again led by Pete Malcolm, and produced $78,000 for the Foundation after Heisman awards. Rod Vyskocil joined Pete Malcolm in managing this year’s tournament.  A different system for scholarships was put in place and nine were awarded with values of $1,500 to $750 per year for up to four years each.  Year end saw a fund balance of about $720,000.

In 2002 Rod Vyskocil chaired the tournament committee and our new co-sponsor was the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.  A most successful tournament was held on July 1, 2002.  Net profits from this event were about $166,000 with the Foundation and Juvenile Diabetes each receiving about $83,000.  Grants and Scholarships awarded this year will total about $58,000.  With the decline in stock values in general, Foundation fund balance was down to about $550, 000 as of June 30, 2002.

At the September 2002 Board meeting, the Foundation put plans for 2003 in place, which will include continuing our relationship with The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.  Rod Vyskocil will again chair the event.  Committees for the coming year were formed and Prudential Securities was named as the Foundation’s new investment advisor.

As the Foundation moves into the future, Club Members should feel a sense of pride in the organization which has grown from $800 in seed money donated in late 1984 and very early 1985, to the major organization that it is today.  This growth has been accompanied with constantly increasing support for educational purposes and, in recent years, a broadening of our assistance to other qualified agencies.  It should also be remembered that through these years Venture, Heisman and now Juvenile Diabetes have also benefited from the Foundation’s activities.

None of the success would have been possible without the most effective leadership and dedicated efforts of all Club members who have served as Officers, Directors, Tournament Chairmen and committed members during these years.  Club Members have been most generous since the Foundations inception with their participation in the tournament in various ways as well as their support of other Foundation activities.  Their contributions of “Time, Treasure and Talent” have been outstanding.

Again, as we move into 2003 and beyond, we ask for your continued support and involvement in our activities. We also hope that you will keep your Foundation in mind when you plan your annual charitable contributions.

It is our hope that this brief historical report has been both informative and, particularly to newer Club Members, enlightening about your Club’s charitable Foundation.

James C. Patterson