The Adrian Rotary Foundation (ARF) Chair, Mark Murray, kicked things off today but first mentioned how fortunate our club was to have such wonderful members (who are fine role models too) committed to helping this community not the least of which was Nate Smith who will be this year’s recipient of the Stubnitz Award through the United Way! Since, Mark said, members get the appreciation they truly deserve, he asked everyone to shake hands with those around them! He also encouraged everyone to bring someone to Rotary and share the gold with others in this community who would love to join.
Mike Olsaver, Chair of the Rotary International Foundation (RIF), spoke next and shared these facts with members: The RIF receives approximately $100M per year in contributions and spend $105M each year on educational and humanitarian projects! The money donated this year will be invested for a 3-year period and that’s where the surplus comes from, he said. “It’s a huge financial engine for doing good in the world”, Mike said. The RIF funds things like eradicating polio around the world, digging water wells in the Philippines, supplying dictionaries to elementary students, and educating scholars in peace/conflict resolution.
Our club goal, Mike mentioned, is $6,853 and if we meet it before the end of June, we qualify for grants from District 6400 to spend in this community such like Fluency Friends, 3rd Day Farm Project, and Child Advocacy Center just to name a few. Currently in the fund is $3,175 and coupled with those as part of a member’s dues ($1,150), we are only short 2,528! Mike then mentioned that we have a donor who will be giving $1,000 if we get within that of our total goal. So, that means we only need another $1,500! Note: members can donate to the RIF on line. See him for details.
Mark returned to the podium to tell members that 50 years ago, a number of members of this club founded the ARF for the intended purpose to support local projects specifically. IT is hoped, Mark said, that every member would see the need to support the RIF as well as the ARF each year. Brent Mercer, ARF’s Treasurer, then came forward to give stats on the ARF’s holdings. He said that there were actually two separate funds: a General Activity Fund which helps fund the local club and its projects and the Scholarship Fund. There are two accounts in the General Fund – an investment account with Old National Bank ($200,000+) as well as an annuity with Gleaners ($142,000). The Scholarship Fund has about $32,000 in it which pays out for a dedicated scholarship each year. Due to the ups and downs in the market this past year, Brent said we pay out just about what the ARF makes each year.
Mark then wrapped up the presentation telling the audience that 5% of the ARF’s holdings each year go to our club’s board to fund the local projects they choose to support. Mark challenged each of us to continue to be good stewards of this money and that we all have an obligation to those members 50 years ago who decide to start this foundation. One way to help us think about how this club spends this money is through considering the BHAD criteria – Big Hairy Audacious Dream projects. President Rod spoke about the 3rd Day Farm Project which helped the Neighbors of Hope in Adrian further the work they’re doing feeding the hungry in Lenawee County.
Money from the ARF bought a plow, erected a shed, etc. this year they will be able to harvest 3,000 pounds of food for their Fishes & Loaves facility in Adrian. Other examples of previously successful BHAD projects are: Hospice Peace Pond, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Croswell Opera House, Stubnitz Center, and City Ice rink and Bohn Pool. Copies of the BHAD criteria were distributed. Two possible projects are being proposed on which the board will decide in the near future which will require a program chair and others who have a passion for what is being proposed now and in the future. “It’s not really about money, it’s about using our time, talent and treasures”, Mark said. While a mechanism for on-line donations does not exist for the ARF, you can simply make a note to be sure an make a $100 contribution to the ARF like you do for the RIF. From this point forward, there will be separate buckets for both the ARF and RIF at the check-in tables for your donations. Great presentation, guys!