1998-1999, Dennis Graves

Theme: Follow Your Rotary Dream

1998-99 The final year for the Salem Rotary Club before the millennium was filled with activity, fellowship and service to the local and world community.

Membership averaged 210, with the club sponsoring two outbound and two inbound international exchange students.
Internationally, the club funded a drinking water well/ supply tank project in Honduras and sent almost $4,000 in direct aid to the earthquake victims there.

The president’s goal for the year was to lead the club, analyzing several possible annual fund-raising activities and establishing a fund-raising template that could be used in years in the future. After careful study by a committee of key members, a gourmet dinner/auction event was selected. The evening’s entertainment was capped off by cakes provided by Gerry Frank’s Konditorei. For the first time, champagne was sold in glasses containing either a 1/2 carat cubic zirconium or 1/2 carat diamond. The stones were weighed after all glasses were sold to identify the lucky diamond winner.
The club again provided dictionaries to every fourth-grade student in the Salem-Keizer schools and provided an all-time high $7,500 in funding for the Reading Is Fundamental program in four local high-need elementary schools.

A new project funded this year at Bush and Richmond schools involved both study and soccer. Students who had no disciplinary referrals were allowed to participate in after-school study periods twice weekly, fol¬lowed by soccer practice. Rotarians tutored the students at the study periods, and those students who successfully participated throughout the week were allowed to play on the soccer team each Saturday. This project produced dramatic academic and behavioral improvement at both schools.

Salem Skyball received $5,000 to provide scholar-ships for middle school students otherwise unable to participate in after-school basketball programs.
Salem Rotary Foundation grew in size to over $125.000 in invested funds and donated in excess of $5,000 to several worthwhile youth education projects.

The decision was made to shift sponsorship of the annual Salem Pops Orchestra concert to a more youth-oriented event. For the first time, Salem Rotary next year will sponsor the annual Salem-Keizer High School choir, orchestra and band concert in what we expect will become an annual tradition of spotlighting Salem’s finest high school musicians.

All of these projects were planned and/or carried out during a fun-filled year of fellowship opportunities highlighted by a reception at the new Hallie Ford Art Museum. Needless to say, 1998-99 was a bountiful year of service-above-self accomplishments for Salem Rotary Club members.