When in need of a great feel-good story for The Grapevine, I can always turn to the Rotary Club for assistance. This amazing organization is a global network of 1.2 million neighbours, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change: across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves. I spoke with John Smith, past president and currently the chair of the Club Community Services Committee of the Rotary Club of Wolfville–Mud Creek, and he let me in on a super cool project the Rotary Club is working on right now.
The Rotary Club follows some inspirational mandates, including solving real problems which takes real commitment and vision. For more than 110 years, Rotary’s people of action have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to take action on sustainable projects. “From literacy and peace to water and health,” John says, “we are always working to better our world, and we stay committed to the end.”
Right now as part of the very famous Toonie Toss, The Rotary Club is considering applications from local groups for financial support and to disperse funds from the revenues their club receives from the very popular and successful ongoing fundraiser. The Toonie Toss has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over its history. Except for a very small amount for administration costs for the program, all the funds make their way back into the community. In addition to the activities of the Community Services Committee that supports primarily local smaller projects and requests for assistance, the Rotary offers large annual grants to each of the local food banks, the Harvest Marathon, the Valley Regional Hospital Foundation, and the like. Additionally, over time they’ve granted or committed significant funds (over $800,000) toward several major ongoing projects, notably the construction of the new multipurpose building at Landmark East, the recently opened Chrysalis House, and the Flower Cart Group’s new facility.
Rotary also used these funds to create endowments at NSCC and Acadia University to ensure each year $10,000 in entrance awards are granted at our local high schools. They’ve also used the funds to significantly increase the Rotary Clubs of Kings County Charity Foundation, which now has in excess of 2.5 million dollars endowed for use in the local area. As well they work with other clubs in the region to offer support to persons with disabilities, the international community, youth initiatives, the local indigenous population, and those who are financially disadvantaged.
“The Toonie Toss is brilliant in its simplicity and effectiveness,” John notes. “Players have a number that they can play each week for a toonie. If their number is drawn, and they have played their number that week, the owner of the number receives 50% of the funds received that week. The Club then uses the majority of the remaining 50% to support myriad projects large and small, local and global.”
To help them make good decisions about where the proceeds can be best used in the region, the Rotary decided to enlist winners in helping make decisions. “We’ve put together a list of local charitable organizations,” John continues, “and each week our lucky winner of the toonie toss gets to select from that list a charity that will receive 10% of the following week’s club proceeds. Since starting this program, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, CAPRE, CentreStage Theatre, Kings County SPCA, and Valley Search and Rescue have each received close to $1000.”
Do you have a potential “charity of choice?” To get on the list of charities for possible selection, local charities are encouraged to apply for inclusion. The criteria are pretty simple: the group must provide services locally and must have charitable status with CRA. Rotary makes their list of recipients such that they try to address various areas of needs broadly and fairly. Sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? A big thanks to the Rotary Club of Mud Creek and those beyond for all their work to make our community thrive. Get your toonie, everyone! Have fun!
Photo: stock image