In response to an ongoing debate about funding, the MCMA Scholarship Program, a group of eight MCMA executives met on September 10, 1995, at the Blind Brook Club. In attendance were John Bladt, Scott Burne, P. Eric Caspers, Jim Glover, Robert James, Gaspar Klamar, Kevin Murphy and Drew Campbell, as well as MCMA accountant Tom Donnely (from the firm of Condon, O'Meara, McGinty, and Donnelly). The scope of their discussion broadened, and the net result was the birth of the Metropolitan Club Foundation.
Besides, coordinating the Association's scholarship efforts, the Foundation was created to elevate MCMA's educational workshop to a level needed for present and future General Managers, and to assure funding for catastrophic and tragic events affecting General Managers. The Department of the Treasury granted tax-exempt status to the Foundation on February 6, 1996. Tom Donnelly did an enormous amount of work processing the documents to state and federal agencies.
The initial work by Foundation members included designing a brochure listing all Foundation goals; providing design support for an academic program at Cornell; organizing individual and club support through various functions for club presidents and offices; and developing an investment plan, with a goal of reaching $500,000 by year 2000. This gial was reached, and a new goal of $1 million was set. Jay Mottola, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Golf Association, lent his expertise gained from the organization of the MGA Foundation.
The Foundation has grown to host an annual fundraising Challenge Cup Golf Tournament, a great Vendor Show, high-level computer workshops, and annual President's Symposium featuring speakers of national prominence. The computer workshops, held the first years at IBM Palisades, are now held in a seminar format at a variety of sites. The President's Symposium, held in memory of Eric Caspers, featured a gourmet dinner for the first time in 2002 at Fenway, recalling Caspers' interest in wines and fine dining, and his extensive work with the Culinary Institute.
In memory of Eric, a Fund was established by members of the Beach Point Club and MCMA. The Fund was established to promote education in the culinary arts. This event, tied into the MCMA Symposium and the Challenge Cup Golf Tournament, will be held annually in Eric Caspers' name.
In 2002, the Frederic Goldmann Fund was started by family and friends, with assistance from the MCMA's Foundation, to establish a scholarship honoring Fred's memory. Fred Goldmann, a chapter member for more than twenty-five years, considered education the primary responsibility and benefit of the Association. The Scholarship is designed to provide an opportunity for Assistant Managers to further their education and development in the club management field. This was accomplished by establishing scholarships to the Assistant Managers Conference, the World Conference, and the Business Management Institute (BMI). The program received an initial funding of $5,000 from the Foundation, and receives donations from Wheatley Hills, Deepdale and private donors. After collecting substantial seed money for future years, the Frederic Goldmann Fund asked the Foundation to manage its money. Terms similar to those for the Eric Caspers Fund were agreed upon. Toni DeMay and Donald Mollitor, along with Fred's family, were instrumental in establishing and organizing the Goldmann Fund.
In addition to extensive support of the scholarly efforts of students in hospitality programs, as well as the educational needs of member General Managers and deserving community agencies, the MCMA has recently embarked on a program to support scholarly research in the field of club management.
Michael Robinson, Ph.D., MCM, was the first club manager to receive an MCMA grant for scholarly research. His research for his dissertation studied club manager job tenure. Michael is a former president of the Connecticut Chapter and is one of the 13 Master Club Managers worldwide. His degree is in organization and management with a specialization in leadership. Michael is an executive recruiter and executive coach, serving clubs and club managers nationwide.
On Memorial Day weekend in 2004, MCMA lost a dear friend and colleague, Michael D. Loper, CCM, General Manager of Willow Ridge Country Club. As a result of Michael's sudden and tragic death, the Metropolitan Club Foundation acted immediately by starting a fund-raising campaign asking those persons whose lives Michael had touched to make contributions to MCF in lieu of flowers. Thanks to the overwhelming support of the private club community, MCF raised over $120,000 with matching funds of $100,000. This is a tremendous, albeit unfortunate example of one of the many functions of the Metropolitan Club Foundation, ofering assistance to Club Management professionals and their families during catastrophic times.
Michael's closest friends and fellow club managers also held the "Celebration of Life" Golf Tournament in Michael's honor; the outpouring of support was tremendous with over 350 golfers playing on three courses, followed by an elaborate cocktail party / auction attended by well over 400 people. The resulting additional funds raised approximately $225,000. This financial success is a true tribute to Michael Loper and lives he touched!