Frank Mayo was one of the founders of the Southeast Federation of Mineralogical Societies, Inc. (SFMS), incorporated as a non-profit organization on November 26, 1975. He was also the federation’s first president. The education fund began in 1976 when the Cobb County Gem and Mineral Club, Frank Mayo’s home club, donated $350 to SFMS in memory of his late mother, Vesta Mayo. The club’s donation stayed in the SFMS general treasury as technicalities were worked out to officially establish a separate fund designated for educational purposes.
On May 3, 1980 the members of SFMS established the “Vesta Mayo Educational Foundation” (VMEF) as a separate division of the federation. Five people made up the Board of Directors: one was the SFMS President, the other four elected at SFMS’ annual meeting. The principal of the fund would be invested/preserved and only the interest income was to be used for scholar-ships for graduate students in Earth Sciences. Frank Mayo offered to match all donations until a goal of $100,000 was reached. In 1983, Harold Sparks offered to donate $5 from each registration fee at the first workshop held at the new retreat (William Holland) to VMEF.
Sufficient interest income had accrued by 1985 and the first scholarship award ($1,000) was announced at the November 2 meeting. On December 16, 1985 the VMEF was incorporated in the State of Georgia with Harold Sparks as the registered agent. The directors were Helen Coe, Ben H Smith, Martha Spies, David Tuttle, and Frank Win-gate.
At the August 2, 1986 meeting in Greenville, SC, Frank Mayo gave $20,000 to bring the fund up to $44,000. A hat was passed and another $175 was collected, which he also matched. SFMS approved a request in 1988 “that all interest on SFMS accounts be allocated to the Vesta Mayo Educational Fund”, and the first payment was made in 1989.
Meeting on November 18, 1989, SFMS Executive Board passed a resolution to donate $1,000 in memory of Frank Mayo to the foundation. The name was changed to “Frank Mayo Educational Foundation”, and it was decided to allow undergraduate junior and senior students in college or university as well as graduate students to apply for scholarships. The Board of Directors was increased to seven people, the SFMS Education committee Chairman being one of them.
In 1990 the Mayo family asked that the name be changed to “Mayo Educational Foundation”, its purpose to honor Vesta, Frank, and Winnifred Mayo. Carolyn Mayo Randall presented a ‘matching funds’ check for $17,000. The fund had reached its first goal and now stood at $103,617.29
SFMS donated $100 to MEFI in memory of Dr. Albert Dix at the February 23, 1991 Executive Board meeting, stating policy will be to transfer $100 to the Mayo Foundation upon the demise of SFMS past presidents. In 1992 a plaque was placed in the Weinman Museum listing each MEFI scholarship recipient’s name, school, and date.
In 1999 to further acknowledge the Mayo name, scholarship awards would be named for seven individual Mayo family members, starting with Vesta Mayo, then Frank Mayo, Winnifred Mayo, Carolyn Mayo Randall, Charlotte Mayo Bryant, Vesta Mayo Dalia and Billie Sue Mayo Driggers.
In 2004 the MEFI awarded four scholarships which totaled $7,400. Low interest rates meant less money was available for the awards, so donations to increase the principal are always appreciated.