The Founders Fund Award, established in 1934, was created by Mrs. Harold L. Pratt to honor the Garden Club of America’s twelve founding clubs and the memory of GCA’s first president, Mrs. J. Willis Martin, who served from 1913 to 1920.
Generously supported by gifts from clubs and individuals, the Founders Fund annually provides monetary awards to projects proposed by clubs in their local communities. The first award of $700 was given in 1936 for the publication in English of the Badianus Manuscript, one of the earliest known Aztec herbals. Current award winners receive $30,000 for projects that embody the Garden Club of America's purpose “to restore, improve, and protect the quality of the environment through educational programs and action in the fields of conservation and civic improvement.”
Together, GCA members and fund winners have enriched multitudes and saved thousands of acres of land and innumerable trees. Historic landmarks have been restored to past glory, civic plantings flourish in countless communities nationwide, and research and education projects have benefited young and old.