A LEGACY OF SUPPORT
The Christermon Foundation is a non-profit organization of the Beverage Alcohol Industry. It was established in 1987 to support worthy charities and develop a scholarship program. The mission of the Christermon Foundation is to demonstrate and promote a positive image for our industry within the community.
Over twenty-nine years ago one man envisioned an organization that would help fund college expenses for children and grandchildren of individuals affiliated with the licensed California beverage industry.
In 1986, Thomas A. Henry, then a Vice President with Ralphs Grocery Company and visionary Founder of Christermon, along with a large group of beverage industry volunteers organized and managed to pull together two inaugural events: The first Expo du Vin Wine Tasting and the Ramlosa Golf Tournament.
Working closely with the support of the licensed beverage industry manufacturers and distributors, proceeds from these first two events helped fund the original goal of the Foundation; college scholarships for the children of our industry.
By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation were filed with the State of California in 1987, and non-profit status quickly followed. A foundation name was needed and was derived from Tom and his wife Margaretha's three children's names: Christian, Eric and Monique. The steeple logo design represents the Campanile tower at UC Berkeley.
At that time, twenty-four corporations pledged funding for scholarships in their company's name, and in 1988 twenty-four students received a total of $110,000 toward their college education.
The first Executive Officer panel was installed in 1989, and in 1990, six individuals were named to the Board of Directors.
By 1991 the sponsor base comprised thirty-seven companies, and scholarship revenue continued to grow as new events were added to the original two. The Ramlosa Golf Tournament, renamed the Christermon Golf Classic, celebrated its 21st anniversary this year. The Expo du Vin Wine Tasting, the Beer Industry Golf Cup, The Retailer of the Year, The Brewfest Beer Tasting and Industry Man of the Year made their debut soon after.
Over the years that followed, The Foundation has heard and recognized an impressive list of outstainding beverage industry notables as keynote speakers, honorees, and chairpersons for our industry events.
In 1992, the Foundation moved to office space in Irvine, California.
In 1996 the Scholarship Board of Directors was formed, with members of the retail community invited to participate as ambassadors to our industry. Adding to the core management, former Foundation Presidents were invited to remain involved as Associate Vice Presidents.
In 1997, the goal of a $1,000,000 investment portfolio was reached, and the original scholarship sponsor companies began receiving endowed scholarships with funding provided through the portfolio. That was always a goal of Tom Henry. Of the original twenty-three companies, twelve remain today and form the Founder's Circle, with eight additional companies comprising the Benefactor's Circle. Fifteen companies became involved in subsequent years and provide Annual Scholarships in their corporate name, a designation that remains open to new companies.
In 1997, the Foundation website went online, and discussion began on the possibility of holding events in Northern California. Planning for this "Northern Expansion" continued until 2002, when a new group of beverage industry volunteers made the goal a reality.
By 2002, the Foundation had outgrown its Irvine office, and moved to new headquarters in Lake Forest.
In 2003, a new Expo du Vin format was unveiled in Southern California - the Fall Festival of Wine and Food showcases fifteen wineries paired with restaurants or winery chefs at a gala upscale Fall event.
In September, the inaugural Northern California Golf Tournament was held at Wente Vineyards. And this year, discussion of a third Northern California event is well underway with various ideas under consideration.
In 2004, the ambition to hold a Northern California Scholarship Dinner was realized, with ninteen students accepting awards at the inaugural event in San Ramon. Prior to this, all awards were given at the Southern California event.
By 2006 the Board of Directors included ten active members and three members with emeritus status, and The Scholarship Board of Directors expanded to fourteen members.
Earlier steps to form a Northern based officer group materialized in 2007 with the naming of the first Northern California Vice President.
The Foundation's primary goal remains to execute the Beverage Industry College Scholarship Program, an exciting example of public-private partnerships in education. In addition, other charities have benefitted from event revenues.
As the Foundation celebrates its twenty-eighth year anniversary, we reflect back on the multitude of industry volunteers, dedicated officers and supportive board members, the distinguished list of keynote speakers and honorary event chairpersons, the scholarship sponsor companies, general industry supporters, and California Beverage Industry as a whole, who have made this milestone possible.
The revenue generated from over one hundred events has provided funding for over 5.6 MILLION DOLLARS in college scholarships to over 2,500 California students affiliated with our industry.