top of page
Happy Family

Past President Doug Meyer talks about The California Jaycee Foundation

June 9, 2019

I have heard it said that the Foundation was founded for tax reasons so the State Officers could deduct travel and meeting expenses from their income taxes; that it was a social excuse; a power organization; that it was established as a building fund, that it was a tax dodge for contributions; and even that it is an “old age home for ex-Jaycees. But, do you really know who we are and what we do?? In fact, when I use the pronoun “we” I actually mean YOU because “we be you” or “you be us”! Every active California Jaycee is a member of the California Junior Chamber of Commerce Foundation. 

Administration of the Foundation is conducted by 25 trustees, each elected for a three-year term. In addition to these Trustees, all California Jaycee State Vice Presidents are ex-officio members of the board. Let me tell you more.

You must understand the era of its conception. In 1963, the Camelot years of JFK was in full swing with the altruistic fervor of the Peace Corp., freedom marches, and community involvement sweeping the nation. Meaningful community development projects and leadership training were the drive and energy of the California Jaycees. “Leadership training through Community Service” was the mantra of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, AND they delivered. The Jaycees were the community’s vitality and the “movers and Shakers”.

Significant to this period, community, State, and Federally funded programs, coupled with generous tax incentives for charitable and educational contributions were the tempo of the time. The California Jaycees saw this as an opportunity to expand their already dynamic community activism by capturing some of this largess, but they needed an IRS approved vehicle. Hence the Foundation was born.

JFK was soon gone but the spirit of involvement lived on and so did the Foundation. For the next ten years, a great variety of major funds passed through the Foundation. During the era of LBJ’s Great Society, the Foundation applied for and received federal grants. The Foundation was the conduit for the California Special Olympics funds, the San Jose State Jaycee headquarters, flood relief for the Mexico Jaycee, earthquake disaster relief, the Five outstanding Young Men/Farmers/Educators programs, portfolio sponsorships, the Junior Miss pageant, the Veterans Memorial Scholarships, etc., etc, etc.

Sponsors such as the Bank of America, Sears Roebuck Foundation, Connecticut Mutual Life, Standard Oil, just to name a few provided portfolio funds that were funneled through the Foundation. The Foundation did not solicit these funds, the Jaycee Executive Committee and state chairmen did because it was “part of the job’

In the mid 70’s the idea of a building fund was born. Many of us can remember, as State Officers, we were infrequently presented travel pay and asked to step to the stage to receive the check – I can also clearly see Dick Davenport COB at the time, standing at the foot of the steps accepting the checks toward the building fund. Toward the end of the 70’s the Foundation became somewhat dormant. There was some money in an account that was raised for a building although not enough to really get serious and enthusiasm had waned. During this time the Foundation was structured with the president of the Jaycees also serving as the President of the Foundation with the Vice Presidents and Regional Directors serving as the Trustees. Membership and growth were a priority in the early 80’s and little time was left to oversee any activity for the Foundation and it became somewhat dormant.

All this changed in 1984 when the California Jaycees again utilized the Foundation as a vehicle to funnel $10,000 through sales of Blue Diamond Almonds to be presented to Lee Iocca at the Jaycees National Convention for the Restoration of the Statue of Liberty. This resurrection of the Foundation again raised the idea of a permanent building from which the state could provide service to the 300+ chapters in California. So serious was the organization that the Jaycees passed a bylaw provision that assessed a $2.50 per member addition to the State dues to fund the venture.

In 1988 the Foundation was restructured to operate autonomously from the Jaycee organization. The Board of Directors and Trustees were nominated from candidates that were no longer officers or active members of the Jaycees and therefore were free of conflicting responsibilities. Greg Stavish, past California Jaycee president was the first Foundation president under the restructuring. Also in 1988 past president Ed Arnold approached the Foundation with an idea concerning an administration building that the Chino Bank wanted to dispose of. The Foundation purchased the building that year with a down payment of $60,000 and a 20-year note.

The dream of a permanent building for the California Jaycees was finally realized and they occupied the building for over 5 years. A significant decrease in Membership of the California Jaycees and the resulting loss of revenue forced the Foundation to take drastic steps to save the building. The Jaycees moved into a smaller office that was donated by Ray Noxsel, although they continued to contribute to the retirement of the note through their yearly dues. The Foundation then found a tenant to lease the building which covered the costs of maintaining the building and the mortgage. The Foundation also conducted many fund raising programs tapping the Jaycee Alumnus and Senators for contributions some of which were substantial amounts. The California Jaycee Foundation now owns the building free and clear. The California Jaycees now have an annuity through the monies received as rent.

So what does this mean to me as a Jaycee?? The major benefit to the California Junior Chamber of Commerce arises from its status as an “IRS 501-C-3 Non-Profit Charitable California Trust” Simply stated monies, goods, and services donated to the Foundation are tax deductible (donations to the California Jaycees are NOT!) This should greately facilitate fundraising efforts for the California Jaycees. Deductibility of contributions provides the needed incentive to many, especially the “heavy Hitters’ and corporations. Proper utilization of the Foundation may provide the added deductibility incentive which could result in an increase in contributions to Jaycee programs and allow us to more effectively live our creed and serve humanity in larger ways and numbers.

Through the years countless numbers of people have worked together to make this happen including every person that has passed through the Jaycee experience since 1984. My congratulations and gratitude to all.

Doug Meyers
Past President, 1999-2001
California Jaycee Foundation

bottom of page