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The Founders Fund Award was established in 1934 to honor the twelve clubs that founded the Garden Club of America. Donations of nearly $50,000 were given in memory of our first president, Mrs. J. Willis Martin, who served from 1913 to 1920. The income from the
fund was to be used every year to support worthy local horticultural or conservation-oriented civic projects
proposed by member clubs.
Any club has the privilege of proposing a project to the Founders Fund Committee, which selects three project finalists. The winner is chosen by the vote of all GCA clubs at the Annual Meeting. The fund continues to grow through gifts from clubs as well as individuals, from $700 in 1936, to $20,000 today. Philadelphia’s own Bartram’s Garden, the oldest surviving botanical site in the United States, won the Founders Fund award in 1986. The Weeders’ proposal, “Stewardship in an Urban Forest: Learning to Care for the Wissahickon,” was awarded $5,000 as a finalist in 1995 and again in 1996, garnering a total of $10,000. In 2002, Philadelphia’s Awbury Arboretum—proposed by The Garden Club of Philadelphia and seconded by The Weeders—was the winner.
The Founders Fund has enabled GCA members to save thousands of acres of land and innumerable trees, restore historic landmarks and civic plantings, and launch research and education projects nationwide.
The Achievement Medal is awarded in recognition of outstanding achievement and in tribute to creative vision and ability in the interpretation and furtherance of the aims of
The Garden Club of America.
Selection: The outstanding achievement may be in science, history, literature, practice of horticulture, in the art of landscape gardening, or in the field of civic planting, where distinction of accomplishment has been of national influence in promoting higher standards of public taste.
The decision of the awards committee must be approved by the executive committee and ratified by the board of directors.
History: The medal was designed in 1932 by Paul Manship and presented by Mrs. Henry Osborn Taylor, Middletown Garden Club, Connecticut. It was endowed in 1963 by a member of the Garden Club of Somerset Hills, New Jersey. Other winners include Eloise Payne Luquer (1939), Mrs. Francis B. Crowninshield (1950), Corliss Knapp Engle (2005), Christine D. Freitag (2007) and Amy Freitag (2017) a member of our club.
Award description on the certificate: for outstanding achievement and in tribute to creative vision and ability in the interpretation and furtherance of the aims of The Garden Club of America
GCA Zone Awards
Zone Creative Leadership Award
Awarded to members for outstanding and unusual talent in the field of leadership, exemplifying continued judgment and initiative over a period of time. Creative leadership may be defined as executive or organizational ability put to use in any area of GCA activity throughout and/or beyond the zone.
Zone Conservation and/or Civic Improvement Award
Awarded to a club, individual member or a group of members for outstanding service in conservation or civic improvement within the zone. It may be awarded for outstanding actions that improve, protect, or restore the local environment or enhance the community through sharing the knowledge of plants or gardening.
Zone Historic Preservation Award
Given to a club, individual member, or a group of members for outstanding achievement in the preservation and/or restoration of a house, public building, garden, site or district of historic value within the environs of the zone.
Zone Horticultural Award
Presented to a member for outstanding horticultural achievements beyond the activities of her own club.
Barbara Spaulding Cramer Zone Flower Arrangement Award
May be presented annually to one member in each zone in recognition of outstanding achievement in flower arrangement and flower arrangement education throughout and beyond her zone.
Zone Flower Arrangement Award
May be presented annually to one member in each zone for outstanding achievement in flower arrangement beyond the activities of her own club.
GCA Club Awards
Medal of Merit
Awarded for contributions of exceptional merit in the field of horticulture, conservation or civic achievement, or dedication and inspirational leadership within the area of a member’s respective club.
Certificate of Appreciation
Awarded for dedicated and sustained participation in activities within the recipient’s own club.
Conservation Achievement Certificate
Awarded for outstanding achievement and/or service in conservation within the recipient’s own club or community.
Historic Preservation Achievement Certificate
Awarded for outstanding service and achievement in historic preservation within the recipient’s own club or community.
Horticulture Achievement Certificate
Presented to a club member for excellence in the field of horticulture within her club or community.
Flower Arrangement Certificate
Awarded to a club member for excellence in flower arranging within the recipient’s own club or community.
GCA Awards to Non-Members
Civic Improvement Certificate of Acknowledgment to Non-Members
Awarded to a citizen or group of citizens who have made a significant contribution to civic improvement.
Conservation Certificate of Acknowledgment to Non-Members
Awarded to a citizen or group of citizens who have made a significant contribution to conservation.
Historic Preservation Certificate of Acknowledgment to Non-Members
Awarded to a citizen or group of citizens who have made a significant contribution to historic preservation