As part of the negotiation settlement – Westinghouse agreed to refund the PGA’s costs as related to legal, accounting and administrative expenses. This amounted to a total of $83,000. Amongst a variety of startup issues confronting the new Board was the issue of what to do with the “war chest” reimbursement. In as much as the war chest had been generated by $200 contributions made by each PGA member – one school of thought was simply to refund each member of the PGA the amount of their contribution. This could have been easily accomplished as detailed accounting records of their contributions had been kept. The “refund” concept never gained any support from the Board.
Another school of thought was to use these funds to serve the community in some philanthropic way and while there had been some uncertainty as to what an appropriate vehicle would be – there was no uncertainty regarding a refund. The Board was unanimous in its decision – to escrow the funds and give serious thought as to their future use in serving The CLUB and the community.
It was at a Pelican Bay Beach Sand Bar sunset dinner attended by the Harfords and the Biondos that the idea of a scholarship program was suggested by Jean Harford. Using the Woodway Country Club in Darien Connecticut, volunteered to research their scholarship program and report to the Board as to the details of its program and how it was being administered.
By early March, based on glowing reports and confirmation of the success of the Woodway Country Club program, the Board enthusiastically voted to establish a scholarship program to be named “The Founders Fund” in honor of the Founding members of The Club. Mickey Biondo was assigned the responsibility of shaping its initial mission and to recruit a CLUB member to “chair” the startup.
The CLUB Board felt strongly that The Founders Fund needed to be established as a separate entity with its own Board and decision-making capability. The legal and accounting issues associated with charitable “not-for-profit” status required an “arm’s length” organizational structure. However, it was the Founding Board’s desire that the genesis of The Founders Fund would be remembered as an outgrowth of the generosity of the membership of The CLUB Pelican Bay, and that while it would function as an independent charitable organization, The Founders Fund would always be an integral part of the philosophy and social fabric of The CLUB, and supported by 100% of its membership. Based on this understanding, activity to organize the launch began.