An organization that stands for friendship, fellowship charity and good times. It stands for busy, worldly people who take the time to give those less fortunate a helping hand. It stands for warmth, strength and shared laughter.
To facilitate and encourage lifelong friendships while performing charitable works on behalf of children in need.
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A social and charity organization originally consisting of approximately 50 to 100 professional people of diverse backgrounds in the Orange County Area of Southern California.
The Roosters were incorporated on February 16, 1977. The main purpose of the organization is to assist children within the community, while creating fellowship.
“The Roosters” is a 501-c-3 tax-exempt charity corporation that provides cost effective and efficient ways of fund-raising with marketing advice and support from local children’s charities and community groups.
Each year the Roosters raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for disadvantaged and at risk children. The Roosters have been active in philanthropy since 1977 and have consistently been recognized for outstanding community service by civic and government agencies.
History of the Roosters
By Former Crow Editor Doug Davidson
Do you remember 1974? People are waiting in lines for gasoline, Richard Nixon resigns as President of the United States, the average home is selling for $34,000 and the Chanteclair restaurant opens its doors. Over next three years, what would take place would change the lives of many.
The Chanteclair became the hub for the business people that worked around Martin Aviation and the Orange County Airport. Jerry Mendelson, the first President of Roosters, was a friend of Larry Cano, the first owner of the Chanteclair and the first Honorary Member of Roosters. Others who frequent the Chanteclair were Art Axelrod, Don Thomas, Tommy Thompson, Matt Schafnitz, Bob Mooney and Honorary Rooster Neil Durkee. They would become the first Roosters Board of Directors.
Their friendships developed into a group of men who would socialize and support The Braille Institute of Santa Ana. They purchased several vans for the institute and arrange for the children to visit Disneyland. The “hands-on” charity activity had gained notoriety and in 1980, the Daily Pilot News published a feature article on Roosters. The article is in the Roosters Membership Directory under the name, “A Brief History of Roosters.”
“Roosters became the organization that successful men wanted to join and within a few years, the membership grew to 150. However, in 1987, there was trouble in the economy. The building industry was in peril. Lincoln Savings & Loan and the banking industry collapsed and Roosters membership was falling. By 1989, the FDIC had closed three out of every four banks in the United States, the Berlin Wall was dismantled, U.S. invaded Panama and Scott Zimmerman becomes President of Roosters. Scott was a Past President of the Santa Ana Active 20-30 Club. Active 20-30 was a group of young men where many had made life long friendships, but were past the age of 40 and could no longer remain as members. Scott invited the group to renew and gain new friendships by joining Roosters.”
In 1990, Iraq invaded Kuwait, Dances with Wolves was the Oscar winner and another Past President of 20-30 becomes President of Roosters. There was a new gun in town, the no-nonsense Harvey Dorland. Harvey insisted that all past members of 20-30 join Roosters. This was the beginning of the rebirth of Roosters. From 1990-1993, under the leadership of Presidents Dorland, Bob Bertels and Doug Davidson (20-30 Club), membership recruitment resulted in dynamic growth.
In 1993, Harvey Dorland was president, again. He sponsored a new member, Mike Wiley, who would become President of Roosters in 1999. From the start, Mike proved to be a promoter. From 1993 to the 2005, Mike was the founder and ramrod of the Roosters and Jonsson Cancer Center Golf Tournament. The tournament generated over $500,000 for pediatric cancer research.
1994 President John Knipf (20-30 Club), 1995 President Ernie Baldovin and 1996 President Jerry Stanfield established Roosters on a solid foundation for future events to take place. By 1995, membership had doubled. In 1996, Gary Draper (20-30 Clubs) founded the Monte Carlo charity fund-raiser, which would grow and add to the prestige of Roosters in the charity community. A 501-c-3 tax-exempt charity corporation was needed to administer all Roosters charity operations. Gary Draper and Lowell Sneathen founded the Roosters Foundation of Orange County, which was incorporated on July 10, 1997. The mission statement for the foundation is “To raise funds for disadvantaged and at risk children in the Orange County area and to support public and private programs with necessary services for children in need.”
Over the years, the food drive has received large community support and notoriety. From the news media, the Orange County Board Supervisors, the State of California to the United States Congress,Roosters efforts with the food drives, Monte Carlo, Culinary Masters, and the golf tournaments have placed Roosters as the number one men’s charity organization.
1998 President Robert Worley codified 20 years of Roosters procedures. For the first time, future board of directors had a detailed manual from which to operate as a professional and beneficial organization not only for the membership, but to ensure continued community and children’s charity activities. This is the basis of the Roosters mission statement that was written by President Wiley in 1999, “To facilitate and encourage life long friendships, while performing charitable works on behalf of children in need.”
In 1997, Titanic is the blockbuster film of the year, The Roosters Foundation is created and incorporated by Gary Draper and Lowell Sneathen. Gary Draper is President of Roosters and Jeff Smith establishes The Roosters Foundation Food Drive. Roosters, family, business associates, and friends purchase and prepare food baskets for delivery to needy families for the holidays. “HUNGER IS A TRAGIC SOCIAL SICKNESS THAT CAN BE CURED” and Roosters becomes a community leader. In 2007, Roosters feed 2,400 families; that is 20,000 individuals.
The year is 2000, Hillary Clinton wins her bid for the U.S. Senate and George Bush is declared president. The new millennium President of Roosters is Lieutenant Colonel Clifford B. Wallace, USMC, retired. Cliff was instrumental in the success of Roosters charity activities. Cliff was the first one to arrive at an event, rolling up the shirtsleeves, inspiring others and the last one to leave.
It is the years 2001 and 2002. Jim Herrell is President of Roosters for the first few months of 2001. His father, who lived in Phoenix, Arizona, became ill and Jim moved to take care of him. Ned Van Rensselaer was Vice President, but unprepared to assume the Presidency. True to Ned’s fashion, he called upon the board of directors and select Roosters to assist with the efforts of the administration and the results were amazing. Not only did Ned prevail, but exceeded expectations to become one of the great Presidents of Roosters. He severed not one term, but two. During his tenure, Roosters increased membership, charity contribution and community involvement. In July of 2005, we unexpectedly lost Ned who gave light and meaning to being a Rooster.
In 2003, the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster rips the nation. The Department of Homeland Security comes into operation and Joe De Ladurantey is the 26th President of Roosters. Like a few other Presidents of Roosters, Joe is a Marine. Joe increases community awareness of Roosters charity commitment and membership abounds. Joe is one of the most active and dedicated Roosters. As a Past President, he has continually volunteered for charity projects in a leadership roll.
In 2004, George Walker Bush is elected the 43rd President of the United States and Jim Rose is President of Roosters. Under Jim’s leadership, Roosters Charity Policy is formulated, which is in effect today. The following is part of Jim’s article that appeared in the Crow Newsletter: “It’s not often that you can be a part of group that does as much good for children in need and still have as much fun as we do. When asked to donate my time, I consider it an honor to underwrite a part of the golf classic, Monte Carlo or food dive.” Jim Rose passed away on April 24 of 2006 leaving a legacy of charity for all of us to fellow.
The United Nations declared 2005 “The Year of the Volunteer” and Michael Cipolla is the 28th President of Roosters. Michael was a popular President due to his remarkable ability of administration, board of directors, and support staff of volunteers that were dedicated to the Roosters Creed. From Michael’s article in the January 2005 Roosters Crow Newsletter: “Charity is the result of our existence, but SOCIAL is the glue Innovative socials will be a major emphasis of this board. Good times bring us together and when we’re together good things continue to happen.”
In 2006, Italy won the World Cup of Soccer and John McCluskey joined the ranks of other Marines to serve as President of Roosters. From John’s article in the January 2006 Roosters Crow Newsletter: “What we do for ourselves die with us! What we do for others is immortal.” Feeling the noble obligation to “give back” is one of our prime motivations as Roosters. John McCluskey was a man of courage. John died in office on August 28 of 2006.
Vice-President Bill Schilt fulfilled John’s term completing his goals in making Roosters a better place for men in service to their community. Bill has the honor of being the 30th & 31st President of Roosters. In 2007, Bill continued as President and we discovered that Bill is a remarkable man with deep beliefs. The following is from the Roosters Crow Newsletter by President Bill Schilt- “So, I’m sitting on a plane bound for Honolulu to visit my daughter, Jennifer’s family and more particularly for my granddaughter Melia’s 4th birthday celebration. I have been suffering with “(Roosters Crow) writer’s block” for the past two days, when somewhere over the Pacific, I began to think about how we develop our charitable consciences and how they reflect on our work as Roosters.
In my case, I can thank my father. When I was a very young boy, he told me of how during the Great Depression, a Hungarian immigrant name Gustav Molnar would scavenge for any scraps of food he could find in the dumpsters that lined the ally behind the store to feed his family of four. My father had great empathy for this proud out of work man who spoke broken English. Dad would put together a box of food for Gustav when he came to the store’s back door around 6:00 p.m.
These memories have stayed with me for all of these years. They resurface every year, around and during the Roosters Foundation Food Drive. I know that my father’s act of human kindness influenced my decision to become a Rooster and to give back to those less fortunate. The reward for me, as it was for my father, was the making of friendships with like-minded men, who through their generosity gain a sense of fulfillment. My father and Gustav died many years ago, but their legacy lives on.”
In 2008, economic crisis hits Orange County, but under the leadership of President Greg Bates, Roosters increases its charity giving. From the October 2008 Crow Newsletter, “It can never be said too many times, the Roosters volunteers and their families are the life blood of Roosters. We are moving into 32 years of Roosters. Our membership abounds with the greatest volunteers. I am proud of you and take pride in calling you friend.”
In 2009, Jeff Smith became President of Roosters. Jeff was the founder of the Roosters Foundation Food Drive, which has grown into the cornerstone of Roosters charity giving. For 2009, under the leadership of Jeff, Roosters has become one of the foremost charitable organizations in California, if not the nation. Roosters support and assistance to Second Harvest Food Bank became a rallying cry across this nation thanks to the many television stations that covered our efforts to support the many food programs that were so very much needed during this national financial crisis. In 2009, Roosters exceeded their own expectations in charity giving. Under the new leadership of Roosters Foundation Food Drive Chairman Jon Giberson, the food drive provided food for 4,000 families; that is to say the 32,000 family members received hot nourishing meals.
“It was my privilege to serve as President of the Roosters during the year of 2010. I had wonderful experiences while in that capacity beginning with the outstanding group of Board members I worked with during my administration. I was able to learn from experienced Roosters like Jeff Smith (Immediate Past President), Chad Kearns (Vice President with multiple roles as a Rooster),Troy Smith (who continued as Treasurer from the prior year), Michael Cipolla (Membership Chair & Past President) and Randy Fine (Social Chair & ’09 Rooster of the Year). The Board also had others with less experience as a Rooster, but with commitment, enthusiasm and a willingness to participate that has carried over to our current Board: Lou Gardner (Public Relations Chair), Steve Smith (Charity Chair) and Stan Smith (Speakers Chair).
While the news during 2010 focused on the Penn State sexual abuse scandal, Wall Street being occupied by demonstrators, the death of Steve Jobs and the Charlie Sheen implosion, the Roosters Board of Directors achieved new milestones. Besides Randy Fine’s Board responsibilities, he oversaw the inaugural OC Food & Wine Celebration. This was a first for the Roosters as we did not use an event planner thus generating additional proceeds going to the Roosters. It was a tremendous success and paved the way for what has become an annual fundraiser. Near the end of my presidency, I was able to negotiate with Old Ranch Country Club to donate the Club’s property, personnel and services for this two day extravaganza.
Another major undertaking was the resurrection of the Roosters Golf Tournament. The day of the tournament we had to turn 24 players away as we had used all the course golf carts. Due to its popularity this has become an annual contest. The Board further realized that much of the success of the Roosters is because of the support we receive from our significant others. With that in mind, my wife, Ginny, was instrumental in initiating a number of activities among our ladies aimed to getting them involved and more personally connected with Roosters.
These achievements don’t come easily. They require time, energy, reaching out to others and a spirit of giving back to those less fortunate. We need to nurture these feelings with our current and future members. I challenge all of us to embrace these ideals, be involved and continue to keep the Roosters the Premier Charity Organization, which reaches out to support children in need and at risk in Orange County.”
Jeff Scheibner, Roosters President
2013 was a memorable year for the Roosters. It was my honor and privilege to serve as president of the wonderful group. Two milestones that I was particularly proud of were giving away a ( then) highest amount ever to our charities – $270,000. We were also named the top Philanthropic group of Orange county – it was great being recognized by our peers in front of 900 people at the Disneyland hotel. I’m very proud of our group.
John Hinson, Roosters President
2014 was a tremendous year for the Roosters Foundation and an interesting year for the USA and the world in general. John Hinson took the reins as Roosters President following a strong year by his predecessor, Jeff Scheibner.
The U.S. economy picked up steam as the stock market and housing prices continued to rebound from the Great Recession that began in 2008. Interest rates were near all time lows and gasoline prices dropped by one-third in the last six months of 2014. Among others, we lost one of John Hinson’s favorite comedians, Robin Williams.
We witness a number of things worldwide that also impacted the U.S. including the spread of Ebola and the rise of ISIS.
The Roosters Foundation raised a record amount of money through fund raising efforts including Roosters Orange County Food & Wine Celebration™ and our golf tournament, Golfing for Kids netting over $175,000 between the two events. We were blessed to receive a $200,000 grant again from the Windsong Foundation. In turn, Roosters provided 3,000 food boxes, which fed 30,000 people, at our 19th Annual Holiday Food Drive; we gave away 45 grants to Orange County charities serving abused and at-risk children. Between our cost for the Food Drive and the grants, Roosters funded or donated over $300,000 to the Orange County community.
We also had a lot of fun at various social events throughout the year reinforcing our mission statement “To facilitate and encourage life-long friendships, while performing charitable works on behalf of children in need.”
To quote the 1980 Daily Pilot article on Roosters, “IT IS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR MEN TO GET A FRESH START WITH NEW INVIGORATING FRIENDS. THE IDEA TO FORM THE ROOSTERS TOOK SHAPE WHEN SHARP EXECUTIVES DECIDED TO BRING TOGETHER MEN WHO WOULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE COMMUNITY.”
They may not remember our names, but they will never forget what we have done.