Devolvement refers to the passing on of something to a successor. In some sense, devolvement of Quaker Center to a successor of AFSC, or more specifically its Northern California Regional Office (NCRO), was almost inevitable from the initial transfer by Lucile Manley of her property to Friends in 1949. Right away, AFSC expressed some hesitancy in receiving her gift at all, because it has never been its preference to own real estate. Direct service is its mission. Knowing of this mission, Mrs. Manley imagined at first that her property might be used by AFSC as a place where less fortunate people – refugees of World War II were uppermost in her mind – would find rehabilitation through work on the land. The internal process by which AFSC reached unity on receiving her gift is not entirely clear nor manifest in the extant records, but some process of discernment was completed within a year of the initial offer. Since AFSC was not registered as a California corporation at that time, the initial recipient was the College Park Association of Friends, the forerunner of College Park Quarterly Meeting. One question that remains unanswered is: was it the desire to hold title to Quaker Center that led the NCRO to file for incorporation in California in the first place? While this detail remains unanswered, AFSC did faithfully carry out the intentions of the Manley trust for 33 years, although the initial expectations of both parties must have changed, in particular since European refugees did not come to Ben Lomond to live or work on the AFSC property.
In fact, European refugees did not ever seem to arise as a realistic use for this property. Camp Unalayee was an almost obvious first step at QC for Josephine Duveneck, in light of her experience at Hidden Villa. Sequoia Seminar, whose leaders attended Palo Alto Meeting, quickly took advantage of the relative absence of other planned uses by AFSC, which seemed to be completely comfortable with the original 15-year lease signed with Sequoia in 1950. A program committee of the NCRO was formed in 1950 to manage the Ben Lomond property, but once the two original users – Sequoia Seminar and Camp Unalayee – stepped forward, the active interest of AFSC seemed to wane for much of the time over the next twelve or thirteen years. No BLC minutes can be found covering that period.
Ben Lomond is about 75 miles from San Francisco. This separation alone may have played a large part in explaining why the presence of AFSC at Quaker Center seems, in retrospect, to have been somewhat distant over the years of their holding the property. It also helps explain why devolvement may have been almost inevitable. QC was harder to manage, even from that relatively short distance.
Local Friends – Herb Foster of Santa Cruz being among the most prominent – began to pay attention to the value of this site in the early 1960s, and the Ben Lomond Committee of AFSC was resurrected. The BLC ended the preceding period of dormancy and relative passivity by beginning to use the meager facilities, left behind by Camp Unalayee, for exploratory work parties and family camping. The better built structures on the part of the property above the orchard were still being used by Sequoia Seminar, which had constructed them and imagined using them in perpetuity. It seems that, among the handful of Friends who were interested in and active at Ben Lomond at that time, a greater engagement took place as it became clear that the expiration in 1965 of the initial lease with Sequoia would need attention. Its expected termination meant at least that Sequoia’s first structures on the property – Casa de Luz, warehouse (Haven), dining hall, and caretaker’s residence – became fully amortized and owned by AFSC. This alone certainly heightened at least the perception that Friends would be more involved at QC.
The earliest use of the word devolvement to describe what might follow the ending of the lease with Sequoia occurs in early 1966 (the signing of a new agreement with Sequoia had been delayed): “Vern James and Winslow Osborne emphasized that the mechanics of a plan for devolvement to a ‘Quaker-centered’ group should be worked out and presented to the Executive Committee of AFSC. This can be a gradual process, and present committee members can be a part of the group to which the project is devolved. The change would be in technical ownership. Robert Newick will explain that we look forward to devolvement, but have no immediate plans.” [Minutes, BLC, 4/23/66]
It seems clear now that the unsettled situation with Sequoia made it harder to proceed quickly with anything close to devolvement. There is also a sense that this might have been the only obstacle: “I am also of the impression that it would be very helpful, insofar as the Exec C approval (Ed. i.e. of the 2nd lease with Sequoia Seminar) is concerned, if they were reminded that the BLC is on record as looking toward devolvement to a new corporation as soon as is reasonable after the agreement with Sequoia has been finally approved. (It was felt that we should not devolve before the agreement was finally approved because this would be passing on problems rather than a chance of a positive approach to the new programs.)” [Win Osborne to Bob Newick, 11/16/66]
In spite of this expressed willingness to proceed with devolvement, Friends were still not ready in 1966 to make greater use of the land and buildings which had come fully into their possession and, accordingly, a successor 30-year lease was signed with Sequoia on November 21, 1966, establishing its presence in the Casa de Luz and in its Sunrise Lodge, also on the AFSC property, until 1995. It is remarkable that at the same meeting at which it approved this new lease, the Executive Committee of the NCRO also approved a minute that asked its Ben Lomond Committee to “move forward as quickly as practicable with the formation of an independent Friends’ corporation to own and operate the Ben Lomond property”. From the approval of that minute onward, the arc of the Quaker Center universe would bend toward devolvement.
But it is well known that Friends do not act precipitately. The existence of this minute did not mean that an independent Friends corporation would necessarily arise any time soon. Many things had to be settled before way would open for AFSC to relinquish its title. An initial loosening of the ties did take place in 1969, however, when the BLC formed the Ben Lomond Property Board of Trustees (BT) to hold title to and make decisions regarding the property. This did not arise from the initiative of AFSC, but from the BLC who, troubled by continuing difficulties with Sequoia, wanted to have the authority to make decisions about the land closer to the site itself. The BLC’s activities on the site – development, program, building, staffing – were still under the auspices of AFSC and its other committees, especially Finance (the NCRO kept the books in San Francisco), Nominating (which approved members of the BT and the BLC), and Personnel (which technically set policy regarding QC staff, who were its employees and on its health plan). The BLC did ask for, and received from AFSC, the authority to do its own fund-raising and to supervise whatever activities there were at Quaker Center.
Things proceeded in this way smoothly enough so that, even though the minute on devolvement had been approved, there was no urgency on the part of the NCRO to take the initiative to find the successor corporation which would take its place. Besides the BLC, its formal supervising committee of Quaker Center’s affairs, it would continue to relate to QC through three other committees: Nominating, Personnel and Finance. Over the years, each of these committees would have difficulty coordinating its responsibilities to QC with the pertinent responsibilities of the BLC. At times, they seem to have gotten in one another’s way. A few examples may make clear why devolvement took longer than might have been expected.
The NCRO Nominating Committee’s task, in relation to QC, was to recommend to the AFSC Exec C for approval proposed members for both the BLC and the BT. The way this was supposed to work was that these recommendations would be done in coordination with the BLC, which preferred that candidates attend more than one committee meeting before approval. And on the other hand, the BLC, which had its own Nominating Committee, could also recommend names for the same two bodies to AFSC.
This simple nominating process did not always work well. With the names omitted in the following note, we read of a misunderstanding which, in one form or another, was repeated several times during the 1970s: “I was astounded to hear that … wishes to serve on the BT in place of … who was chosen by the QCC …. I remind you that the BT was set up as a step toward devolvement from AFSC, and there was no intention of having AFSC representation on it.”
[Paul Brink to Bob Eaton, 4/20/78]
Personnel missteps between the NCRO and QC also seemed to occur about as often. Notes from that era indicate a sense that AFSC had allowed the BLC to become a self-perpetuating group, and that even though AFSC had the authority over Quaker Center it had not used it. This was particularly true in the personnel area. For example, neither of the two substantive suggestions in the concern raised in the following note was ever implemented at QC while AFSC was in charge. “Historically, there has been a separation between the BLC and the San Francisco Office of the AFSC. This is a situation with which the AFSC Exec C and staff have cooperated in and supported. Definitions of the relationship between the two groups, especially in terms of personnel, have differed…. The (AFSC) Personnel Committee raises the following concerns with the QCC: (a) In consideration of the increased responsibilities, the Personnel Committee concludes that in future job descriptions a title such as program directors would be more appropriate for the staff of QC. (b) The Personnel Committee has serious reservations regarding the three-year limitation on the QC position.” [Mins. AFSC Personnel Committee, 12/5/77]
With regard to finances, it is astonishing to read in a note by NCRO executive secretary Bob Eaton that “…adequate oversight over the QC income and expenditures…does not exist at present…. Sequoia gave us $40,000 (sale of property) and this money was not receipted through the AFSC books but rather deposited in a savings account in Palo Alto….In whose name is the Balovich property and by what authority was it purchased? …on Jan. 1, 1977 the BT received a $30,000 grant from the Palo Alto Meeting (Pentler estate), which was deposited in the account referred to above…. There is no accountability in AFSC terms over the $40,000 or the $30,000.”
It is not clear whether such difficulties in the Nominating, Personnel and Finance areas spurred the desire for devolvement or inhibited it. Nevertheless, by the middle 1970s a growing consensus towards devolvment arose from several corners. The BLC’s position was as follows: “The purpose of this letter is to state my conviction that we are now strong enough to operate independently of the AFSC. During the ten years (since AFSC asked the BLC to “move forward as quickly as practicable with the formation of an independent Friends’ corporation to own and operate the Ben Lomond property”) we have tried our wings, we have been entirely free of debt, and have only called on AFSC for bookkeeping purposes….I feel that we will be a stronger organization when we stand on our own, and that we now have a firm enough base on which to build.”
[Paul Brink to Harvey Smith, BLC clerk, 4/15/76]
And, as if to strengthen its case for devolvement, the BLC was proud of the fact that it was financially independent: “QC has functioned completely independent of AFSC financially. We have raised our money and have contributed to AFSC rather than being a financial burden to AFSC.”
[Harvey Smith, BLC clerk, to Bob Eaton, 1/3/77]
The independence referred to above may have been perceived by others in a different way. Many Friends in College Park Quarterly Meeting at that time felt that the BLC was remote from the various Monthly Meetings in the Quarter. BLC members had historically been drawn largely from the Palo Alto Friends Meeting. This perception may have led CPQM to want to widen the involvement of Friends with Quaker Center. In any case, the first really helpful opening towards devolvement came from CPQM. Even though it met once a year at Quaker Center, it had no other formal relationship with the property or with the BLC. However, at its January 1977 gathering, its M&O Committee approved a minute of concern about Quarterly’s relationship with Ben Lomond. “The Quaker Center Committee is not related to Quarterly Meeting, and some conflicts have occurred because of that separateness. Do we want to look into the possibility of a more direct tie to QC?” This concern was to be considered further by Quarterly M&O and brought back to a future CPQM gathering.
Although the January Quarterly Meeting had not used the word devolvement in its minute seeking a stronger relationship with QC, AFSC seemed to leap to such a conclusion by suggesting CPQM as the successor corporation. Just a few weeks later, their notes state that “a subcommittee of the CPQM M&O Committee is considering a possible relationship of the Quarter with BLQC…. (A committee)… to consider the devolvement of QC to the care and control of CPQM has not met.” [AFSC Nominating Committee minutes, 2/10/77]
Discussions of some sort in this direction, however, must have taken place during 1977 because specific conclusions were reached by October of that year. That month Herb Foster wrote to Harvey Smith, clerk of QCC: “Some months ago there was a concern raised in the Quarterly Meeting Ministry and Oversight Committee regarding the relation of Quarterly Meeting to Ben Lomond….I believe it would be important to urge Quarterly Meeting to give active attention to the question and correspondingly have asked Eric Moon, clerk of M&O to give some attention to the matter at the Oct. 15 Quarterly Meeting.” Quarterly M&O then approved the following minute, which basically began the formal devolvement process: “M&O committee recommends to CPQM that a stronger and broader relationship be established between the CPQM and the Ben Lomond Quaker Center. We recommend that the CPQM authorize the continuing serious consideration of the establishment of some legal entity to exercise oversight of the facility in case the AFSC determines that it should divest itself of the property. To this end, we recommend that CPQM appoint an ad hoc committee of the QM to enter into discussion with AFSC and the BLC to determine their interest in the matter.” [Mins. CPQM, 10/15/77]
At about the same time, in its own minutes the BLC recognized that the three conditions for devolvement suggested earlier by AFSC had now been met: the suit with Sequoia Seminar was settled; the Balovich property was purchased; and the Manley estate – the Manley and Cold Houses – had come into the possession of QC. Accordingly, the BLC appointed in the fall of 1977 its own ad hoc committee to move forward with devolvement.
Things moved fairly quickly from that point onward, from Quarterly M&O to the full Quarterly Meeting. At the January 1978 Quarterly gathering, the following minute was approved: ” CPQM wishes to establish a stronger and broader relationship between the Quarterly Meeting and the Ben Lomond Quaker Center. CPQM authorizes the continuing serious consideration of the establishment of some legal entity to exercise oversight of the Center in the event the AFSC determines that it should divest itself of the property. CPQM authorizes the appointment of an ad hoc committee of the Meeting to enter into discussion with AFSC and the BLC to determine their interests in the matter.” CPQM then appointed at that same gathering Bill Scott, Ruth Flower, and Harry Stamler to its ad hoc committee.
Whereas the view of the BLC towards this minute seemed clear enough: “As we see it, all that is needed is approval from the Exec C for the Trustees to transfer the property to an appropriate Friends association, which would be incorporated by authority of the CPQM” [Virginia Brink to Harvey Smith, 2/7/78], the Exec C of AFSC seemed to have had less clarity. At its next meeting, on 2/15/78, its minutes noted that one of its members believed that, now that the dispute with Sequoia was settled, the purpose of the Board of Trustees (BT) had ended, and that AFSC should take back title to the property.
In fact, feelings of mistrust between the NCRO and the QCC were still quite strong on both sides, and based upon deeply held interpretations of the evidence supporting the separate positions. If the QCC acted independently of AFSC, it seemed to base this stance on the Declaration of Trust which established the BT in the first place: ” ‘To carry out the responsibilities above numerated, the BT shall have fee simple ownership of property… and shall in every way be empowered to deal with the property as its fee simple owner, subject only to the reservation of life estate made by Lucile Manley in her deed’…. We (the QCC) have been accused of improper conduct all over the Quarter without an opportunity to explain our interpretation of the Trust, which may or may not be correct.” [Virginia Brink to Bob Eaton, 5/12/78]
Virginia went on to say that “it would be nice if someone would point out the remarkable achievement of dozens of volunteers in building a beautiful retreat center which has been used and enjoyed by thousands of people since 1966. Some good will and some monetary benefit has accrued to AFSC because of the Ben Lomond Center.”
In the end, disagreements like those just referred to above must not have been that substantial, because AFSC formally approved, on 4/22/78, a minute supporting the move towards devolvement suggested by CPQM, without specifying to whom QC would be devolved. This minute seemed to satisfy CPQM’s waiting to move on the matter until “AFSC determines that it should divest itself of the property.”
Following up this minute a month later, on 5/19/78 AFSC appointed its own ad hoc committee on devolvement, with Barbara Graves, Mike Ingerman, Barbara Perry, and Katherine Youngmeister as members, together with Harvey Smith representing the QCC. At its first meeting, this ad hoc committee raised a number of concerns: there should be legal counsel; there should be thorough financial record-keeping; the body or bodies to hold title to the property and to hire, oversee, and terminate staff should be determined, as well as another body which would nominate the members of the responsible one.
There were now three ad hoc committees considering devolvement, those appointed by CPQM, AFSC, and QCC. The first of these held a threshing session at the May 1978 Quarterly gathering, where some of the concerns raised were: QC should be financially stable and do its own fund-raising; there should be a closer relation between QC and Monthly Meetings in the Quarter; an independent administering corporation should not be a burden to Quarterly, especially in light of the fact that CPQM had recently assumed a long-term responsibility for another corporation – Friends Association in Services to the Elderly (FASE, which would eventually oversee Friends House in Santa Rosa); and devolvement should advance the religious life of the Quarterly Meeting. In short, the basic concern was whether there were at that time enough resources in CPQM to run QC. It was agreed to follow up this session with a questionnaire and with visits to Monthly Meetings over the rest of the year.
One of the first such visits took place the very next month with the current and former staff of QC who still lived near Ben Lomond – Earle and Akie Reynolds, Lonnie Harvey, and Vern and Maggie Reynolds. Interestingly, Vern and Maggie were not in favor of devolvement. Vern’s long service with AFSC in Philadelphia convinced them that QC was stronger because of its ties to that influential national organization.
Some of the three ad hoc committees were beginning to work together: “(The AFSC) Ad Hoc Committee on Devolvement of QC… has met once. It has established communication with the CPQM Ad Hoc Committee which is considering a formal relationship involving accountability of the QCC to CPQM. Questions have been raised with this committee regarding AFSC interest in the matter and the AFSC Ad Hoc Committee will pursue communications with the CPQM committee.
[Mins. AFSC Exec C, 6/19/78]
As talk of devolvement developed, the question of specifying the successor entity soon arose. Should it be the current BLC or should it be CPQM itself? Some of the early suggestions on the nature of this entity led Herb Foster to resign from the BLC in a letter to clerk Harvey Smith on 10.3/78: “My sole reason for resigning at this time is my conviction that Ben Lomond will become fully a Quaker center only when the Quarterly Meeting assumes a fuller role in the administration and a more active participation in the on-going life of the center.” Specifically, Herb wanted a representative of each Monthly Meeting in the Quarter on the Board of the governing organization. Regretting that Herb had decided to resign, in his response Harvey noted that “…devolvement from AFSC seems to be moving along smoothly. In all, there are three ad hoc committees working toward the same desirable goal.” [Harvey Smith to Herb Foster, 11/12/78]
Perhaps not entirely smoothly. At the end of 1978, this same clerk of QCC wrote to the Exec C, fearing that AFSC Nominating, Personnel, and Finance committees were increasing, rather than lightening, their grip on QC. The concern was great enough that the QCC asked the Exec C for a threshing session to deal with it, explaining the situation thus: “One urgent need for this meeting stems from the seemingly contradictory actions being taken by AFSC, on the one hand in planning for devolvement of the Center from AFSC, and on the other exercising increasing control of the Committee’s long-established operation of the Center through the actions of the AFSC’s nominating, personnel and finance committees.”
At about the same time this criticism was leveled at AFSC for acting independently, the QCC acted equally independently by drafting a proposed set of by-laws for whatever the new corporation was to be without apparently checking with either CPQM or AFSC, both of which subsequently expressed surprise at this move. The CPQM ad hoc committee on devolvement had to insist that if it were to take over QC, it would write the by-laws of this new corporation.
The requested threshing session took the form of a joint meeting in January 1979 between the AFSC ad-hoc Committee for Consideration of Devolvement and the BLC. Some of AFSC’s concerns were outlined as follows:
– legal counsel needs to be consulted;
– what body would hold title?
– what body would maintain financial records?
– what would be the governing committee structure?
– who would nominate this committee’s members?
– who would then appoint these nominees?
– provision must be made for removal or orderly rotation of membership;
– to whom would staff be accountable?
– who would hire and fire staff?
A second session was held on 2/3/79, this time between QCC and the AFSC Nominating Committee. Some of the tensions between the two groups, which had bothered persons on both sides for years, surfaced again on that occasion. In the notes of this meeting, we read of both sides asserting their beliefs in a kind of one-upmanship sparring.
On the one hand, QCC believed that the AFSC Nominating Committee did not accept the QCC recommendations; AFSC thinks it’s in charge of QC, but an independent committee has managed it for 12 years; the BLC representative on the Exec C has “never been able to make reports”; QC has raised its own funds; AFSC has treated us like a step-child; in the 1960s AFSC wanted to give QC back to Mrs. Manley, and the QCC “saved it for the Quakers”; the relationship has benefited AFSC more, in that QC users become AFSC donors; we had to act fast on the Balovich.
On the other hand, we also read there that AFSC believed that since its Exec C could dismiss the BT, it had ultimate power; and that after devolvement, the staff of QC would lose their AFSC benefits.
While the preceding notes represented a threshing session, one thing was actually agreed upon, in spite of the fact that the notes suggest a fair degree of tension. In the nominating process, AFSC resolved to only nominate persons to the QCC who have been mutually agreed upon. The actual minute that was approved at a subsequent committee meeting was: “Although technically it is presently within the prerogative of the AFSC Nominating Committee to recommend members directly, in recognition of the special relationship of the BLC to the AFSC, the Nominating Committee (of AFSC) agrees with the QCC to submit only the names of people mutually agreed upon.”
[AFSC Nominating Committee Mins. 3/3/79]
It is astonishing that a minute like the preceding was approved so shortly before devolvement took place, when it might have been helpful in preventing difficulties if it had been the practice from the beginning.
The visits by the CPQM ad-hoc committee to Monthly Meetings, approved the previous May, revealed a variety of concerns regarding devolvement. The most common were: Will the program at QC be Quaker oriented? We don’t need a business. Does Quarterly need this devolvement to take place? It seems OK as it is. The location in Ben Lomond is a problem. How about PYM taking over QC? Quakers want simple facilities, but others who use the place may want or need them to be more elaborate. No process to address or alleviate these concerns was apparently taken at that time.
Looking forward to the possible devolvement, an audit of QC’s books was done in early 1979 by Paul Hammond, which showed about $45,000 in QC accounts. The source of these funds seemed clear. At that time, the first $30,000 had been received from the Pentler estate and $40,000 from the sale of three acres to Sequoia Seminar; on the expense side, the Balovich parcel had been purchased with a down payment of $25,000.
Weighing in on proceedings to date, at its 4/79 meeting the BLC stated that, in its view, devolvement to CPQM was not for CPQM control, but to have wider participation in the life of QC by other Monthly Meetings in the Quarter.
As it finished its work of visiting Monthly Meetings in the Quarter, the CPQM ad hoc committee began to find remarkable clarity about what it saw as the ultimate outcome of the devolvement process, which it expressed at its meeting on 5/5/79. The specific steps that needed to be done to reach this outcome were:
– write Articles and By-laws for a new non-profit corporation;
– decide who to first appoint to its board, and how many current QCC members to include;
– agree that CPQM will continue to appoint board members, but otherwise have no involvement in the operation of QC;
– agree that there will be no CPQM responsibility for the finances of QC, nor will CPQM be an appeal body for problems within the new board.
It also made the following suggestions:
– QC programs should be more representative of the full quarter, and include Southern California;
– QC may hold programs elsewhere in the Quarter, especially farther from Ben Lomond;
– QC staff will not be members of the new corporation or its board;
– QC will be financially self-sufficient, with regular audits and reports to CPQM.
A few weeks later, at its May 1979 gathering, following the lead of its ad hoc committee, CPQM united on the following minute: “CPQM approves accepting the responsibility for ownership of the QC property at Ben Lomond and responsible oversight of the QC program in order to furnish a setting for projects and ideas that would further the principles and testimonies of Friends, primarily: to provide a place of meeting, learning, retreat and refreshment for Friends and others; and to exercise right stewardship over this parcel of God’s land. Ownership of the property and management of the QC program would be in the hands of a suitable corporation. In order to establish the corporate and committee structure that will allow this responsibility to be accepted and QC to be devolved from AFSC to CPQM, the ad hoc committee, is asked to … consult with the QCC and AFSC Devolvement committees and other interested Friends.”
CPQM went on to minute that it would relate to the new corporation by appointing its members, receiving its reports, providing consultation on good order, and in the general sharing of Friends’ concerns; that it would require that QC be financially self-sufficient, carry insurance to protect the Quarterly Meeting from liability, and make a written financial statement in its annual report to CPQM. Finally, at the time of transfer, the present QCC and the BT would be laid down.
In light of these actions, that same month AFSC appointed Paul Niebanck, who had been founding provost of College Eight at UC Santa Cruz and clerk of Santa Cruz Friends Meeting, to be the volunteer facilitator of the devolvement process from that point on.
In his initial formal report of 9/14/79 to AFSC, Paul Niebanck stated that the CPQM ad hoc committee had finished its work, presented its minutes to CPQM for approval, and that it was now time for legal and accounting consultation to be secured, with AFSC and QCC sharing the expenses of devolvement. The CPQM ad hoc committee was, in fact, laid down at the 10/13/79 Quarterly Meeting at which time its Nominating Committee was asked to bring proposed names for members of a new corporation – a Quaker Center Association (QCA) – by its January 1980 meeting. The ad hoc committee on devolvement was then laid down.
By early 1980, Paul Niebanck reported to the QCC that the CPQM Nominating committee “did not know what the Quarter wanted” regarding the devolvement, and was concerned with how they felt about devolvement as a whole. He believed the way was “not smooth, but appears open.” The QCC responded by asking for a joint meeting with the Quarterly Nominating Committee. This “Meeting for Caring” took place in Palo Alto on April 27, 1980. Present were Nickie Garman, Dave Rich, Joe Magruder, Louise Aldrich, Elizabeth Perry, Paul Niebanck, Mark Thomas, Harvey Smith, Ruth Smith, Mary Mikesell, Virginia Rusinak, Steve Jones, Howard Bull, Faith Fraser, with Madge Seaver as clerk and Margaret Mossman as Recording Clerk. The purpose of the meeting was stated in its minutes as “determining the mutual responsibility of Quarterly Nominating Committee and the QCC to one another.” During the meeting, those present spoke of the sources of disunity among them. Paul Niebanck asked everyone to “hang their beefs on an imaginary clothesline.” He recalls now, in an email, that “from that moment on it was smooth sailing.” The group agreed that the new QCA would write the by-laws and the QCC would continue to operate QC in the interim.
On 5/18/80 CPQM appointed the initial members of the first manifestation of the new corporation – Quaker Center Association (QCA), a temporary title – and asked it to prepare by-laws and Articles of Incorporation and to negotiate the details of devolvement with the NCRO. Following devolvement, the QCA would assume the responsibility for property, policy, staff, program, and finance and the present Quaker Center Committee and the Ben Lomond Property Board of Trustees would be laid down.
The May 1980 CPQM nominations to the new QCA were: for one year – Ed Flowers, Ted Neff, Nancy Salzman and Anna Koster; for two years – Rich Vicente, Maggie Reynolds, Tom Farley and Earle Reynolds; for three years -Thom McCue, Herb Foster, David Charles, and Pat McGee; and appointed but not given a term yet – Faith Fraser, Steve Jones, Howard Bull, and Angus Sumner. Ruth Smith was appointed as the representative of the current QCC. Herb Foster was asked by the CPQM clerk to serve as convenor.
In June 1980, AFSC re-approved Paul Niebanck as its representative for devolvement for another nine months. It also suggested that during this period, the QCC go forth unimpeded in its management of QC. It approved Mary Mikesell as the QCC clerk, in which position she also became an ex-officio member of the BT.
The QCA began regular meetings on 8/23/80. Present at that first meeting were Tom Farley, Anna Koster, Steve Jones, Pat Magee, Thom McCue, Earle Reynolds, Ruth Smith and Herb Foster (convenor) from the QCA, and Dee Steele and Mark Thomas from the QC staff. Paul Niebanck was present as the AFSC representative and Mary Mikesell as the QCC representative. The QCA recognized three goals for itself: to set policy for QC; to oversee daily operations; and to develop a mechanism for involving CPQM in the life of QC, although not in its daily operations. The QCA rejected a suggestion that it pursue merging with College Park Friends Educational Association (CPFEA), another non-profit corporation under the care of Quarterly Meeting, which held title to and had oversight of John Woolman School. At that meeting Thom McCue was approved as QCA clerk, Pat Magee as Assistant Clerk, and Herb Foster as Recording Clerk, all for an interim period of 90 days. The QCA made its first report to CPQM on 10/19/80, stating that QC had a total of $60,000 in three savings accounts. (An additional bequest of $30,000 had been received from the Pentler estate.)
At that same time, while the new QCA was meeting, the QCC continued to follow its regular schedule of monthly meetings. The QCC and the QCA met on successive weekend days for some months, and then agreed in November 1980 to meet on the same day, with the committee meeting in the morning, and the Association meeting in the afternoon, with members from each group welcome as observers at the meetings of the other group. Each organization was keeping its own set of minutes.
In a memo of 10/80, shortly before turning over the NCRO Executive Secretary duties to his successor Tony Henry, Bob Eaton wrote to Paul Niebanck that AFSC’s main concern about devolvement was that the trust obligation to Lucile Manley continue to be fulfilled afterwards.
As if attempting to head off some imagined difficulties with personnel after devolvement, in early 1981 the AFSC Exec C decided that the QC Program and Property Managers must have the same salary. This made some sense because neither of these positions had a supervisory function over the other at that time. It also would no longer provide health benefits for dependents of QC staff from that time on (it pointed out that Quaker Center’s was the only staff in the region which had this extended benefit). On the question of staffing QC after devolvement, AFSC suggested that QC might contract with AFSC after that time to have it take care of all payroll functions, including benefits with AFSC. The QCA would have responsibility for hiring, firing, and supervision of staff.
These personnel decisions, made well on the way to devolvement and apparently without the participation of the QCC, were interpreted by the QCC as yet more examples of “the way AFSC has related to us over the years: allowing our operation to proceed with no representation or apparent interest from them, then suddenly moving in, with resultant lack of information and empathy, to impose a decision on us.”
In spite of this repetition of a still apparently unresolved struggle between the QCC and AFSC, the following note suggests that a great deal of work had been completed in just a few short months. “The QCA has been meeting since August 1980 and is close to a final draft of By-laws and Articles of Incorporation….The pace has quickened in recent weeks, and several steps now appear to be in order:
1. a meeting between the BLC and the QCA to identify transitional questions
2. a follow-up meeting with BLC, QCA and AFSC
3. clearness from the National AFSC Finance committee
4. distribution of the incorporation papers
5. definitive work by legal and financial experts and subsequent official action by AFSC.”
[Paul Niebanck to Tony Henry, 3/10.81]
In early 1981, apparently for the first time, the national AFSC office weighed in on the devolvement process, with questions about its effects: was the NCRO carrying the value of QC on its books, and would devolvement mean a loss of net worth? If, at some time in the future, the property were to be sold, would AFSC have any claim on the proceeds? After settling with Sequoia Seminar, wasn’t the reason for the BT obsolete, and shouldn’t the property have then reverted back to the NCRO? Must the Balovich parcel be used for the same purposes as those restricted by the Manley Trust?
Paul Niebanck’s response to the national office was essentially that title to the property had already been transferred from AFSC to the BT, and one of the BT’s responsibilities given to it at that time was to facilitate this very transfer.
On 8/1/81, the QCA approved the Articles of Incorporation of the new corporation, now to be known officially as the Ben Lomond Quaker Center Association (BLQCA). The beginnings of a new Personnel Policy were submitted, which included proposed relationships between Board and staff. The Board would set guidelines, within which the staff would assume responsibility.
On 8/7/81, the first draft of a “Terms of Transfer (from AFSC to BLQCA)” were drawn up. Its four main parts state:
1. Both the Manley and Balovich parcels, together with all current assets, are to be used for activities in accordance with the original Manley Trust.
2. Should the BLQCA dissolve, these restrictions shall pass on to the subsequent owners.
3. The salaries and benefits of the individuals forming the current staff of QC shall continue at their present levels. A new BLQCA personnel policy would apply to subsequent staff, in no way contingent on AFSC approval.
4. The BLQCA shall take financial responsibility for and put under its name all mortgages, bills, insurance and service contracts that relate to the QC. A complete list of these obligations will be drawn up with mutual consultation.
By 9/9/81, Tony Sheldon, who had been working for AFSC on legal aspects of the devolvement question, had prepared a second draft of the Terms of Transfer. Here, there are specified eight main items that would be included in the final transfer agreement:
1. Statement of Purpose: to transfer ownership and responsibility to the BLQCA
2. Naming of the relevant parties: AFSC, NCRO, BT, BLQCA
3. Property to be transferred: Manley and Balovich parcels
4. Other categories of assets to be transferred
5. An item-by-item list of all the currently held assets
6. A management contract by which AFSC continues to compensate current staff through 7/15/82.
7. Costs of transfer to be paid by AFSC from QC accounts.
8. Possibility of amendments to this document.
Finally, there was cited a list of 14 various legal papers which had been in effect at some point in the 33-year history of QC and that were to be attached to the final document.
Shortly after this, AFSC agreed to pay the salaries of the QC staff through July 1982, which happened to coincide with the end of the three-year term of the current QC Program Director. The BLQCA had a concern about one consequence of this agreement, raised by its own Personnel Committee clerk: AFSC has raised staff salaries, but it may be necessary for the BLQCA to reduce these salaries after devolvement. The BLQCA Treasurer stated that there might also need to be changes in fees for the use of QC after devolvement.
The final incorporation papers for the BLQCA were legalized on 11/5/81. At its meeting of 12/5/81, the BLQCA was authorized to execute the necessary agreements for devolvement, open a bank account, and hold a formal first meeting. The board of directors at that time were: Ray Cook, Faith Fraser, Thom McCue, Ruth Smith, Bill Visher, Sarah Eichorn, Ruth Hunter, Eric Moon, Angus Sumner, Anna Koster, Steve Jones, Rich Vicente, and Earle Reynolds. Anna Koster was nominated as clerk.
In the spring of 1982, a formal Agreement for Transfer of Assets and Liabilities, with six pages of inventory of everything at QC, was drawn up as a last step before devolvement. Here, it was pointed out one more time that the BT legally owned title to the real property as of that moment. AFSC stated that it, however, owned the “funds”, i.e. the cash on deposit for QC. The easement to the adjacent Hawkins parcel and the potential for litigation in this matter were mentioned in the Agreement as something to be taken into account. In this regard, the BT reported that it had disputed the Hawkins claim, but with no response. AFSC will pay all outstanding bills, but the balance of the Balovich mortgage shall be carried by the BLQCA. AFSC will not compete with QC by establishing any similar activities in Santa Cruz County for five years. The Transfer Agreement officially laid down both the QCC and the BT. (The BT members at the time of transfer were: Mary Mikesell as QCC Clerk, Howard Bull, Paul Niebanck and Harvey Smith). AFSC of Philadelphia, and not the NCRO, was to be the official signer on the devolvement papers.
At its meeting of 4/30/82, the Finance Committee of AFSC approved the devolvement of QC in principle. It did not agree to the suggestion that AFSC may no longer use the name “Quaker Center”, and left unresolved the question of disposition of assets should BLQCA be dissolved.
In a letter of 5/10/82, the AFSC lawyer in Philadelphia advised waiting until the BLQCA had received its tax-exempt status from the IRS. He also wanted a clause that the property revert back to AFSC if the BLQCA violated the Manley Trust. In his closing sentence, he remarked that he did not consider the Terms of Transfer Agreement to be well drafted, and would like to do it over once the issues had been resolved. Finally, he noted that the national board of AFSC should approve the final agreement. It is nowhere noted whether this letter had any effect on the proceedings, but in any case it did not delay the process.
Regarding the amount of the “funds” claimed to be held for QC by AFSC, a letter of 6/30/82 from Clarke Dixon-Moses (then the acting attorney for the BLQCA) to Tony Henry, states: “My understanding is that there is approximately $30,000 in the QC bank account, of which something less than half is claimed by AFSC as its own funds.” In the end, at the time of devolvement only $2817 was transferred from AFSC to the BLQCA. To assist its newly fledged offspring, at the request of the BLQCA, on 9/1/82 AFSC made a loan of $10,000 for a period of two years at 11.9%. not an unusual rate of interest at that time.
In June 1982, the BLQCA hired John and Betty deValcourt as the first resident host couple under its oversight, and in August they moved into what is now the Maintenance Manager’s residence. The Thomas family continued to live in the Manley House, and cook Wendy Schnelker and Dan Hirsch in the Cold House. The newly devolved existence of Quaker Center thus began with this small resident community of ten – three full-time staff, one part-time staff, and six family members.
The final papers ending the devolvement process and transferring title to Quaker Center to the BLQCA were recorded in Santa Cruz County on 8/26/82. With the repayment by the BLQCA of the $10,000 loan in just one year, the final formal link between Quaker Center and AFSC was ended, after 33 years. Quaker Center was truly on its own, under the new relationship with College Park Quarterly Meeting that was spelled out in its By-Laws.