Theme: The Future of Rotary is in Your Hands
The 90th anniversary of the founding of our Club was celebrated at club meetings throughout the year with historical vignettes, birthday cakes and memories shared by past Presidents.
The Rotary International theme “The Future of Rotary Is in Your Hands” was truly put in the hands of our members through the Avenue of Club Service when two email surveys of club members were conducted regarding all aspects of Club operations, especially fundraising. The Board of Directors then set its goals to align with the feedback received from Club members. As a result, the future of the Club and two major changes occurred.
First, a pledge system for contributions to Club Good Works projects was implemented. Secondly, instead of The President’s Ball, a very successful and less formal Community Good Works Celebration was held raising $40,000. Leading these efforts were Board Fundraising Chair Ken Van Osdol and Renee Campbell, Chair of the Good Works Celebration Committee.
The Good Works Committee selected infrastructure improvements for the HOME and HOST facilities, two very worthy programs serving homeless and runaway youth in our community, as our major service project for the year. Additionally, youth from these programs spoke at Club meetings on several occasions and Club members cooked and served three dinners at each facility.
Youth Service efforts continued to expand as we sponsored two exchange students this year, inbound students Andre Spiller from Switzerland and Farid Andres Mendoza from Ecuador and outbound students Corey Kenoyer to Taiwan and Alex Decker to Ecuador.
Additionally, under the Short Term Student Exchange Program led by Lavinia Goto, we sponsored Lindsey Kelly to go to Turkey in July 2009. The summer of 2010 we have Claudia McCammond and Greg Lee going to Japan and Ashleigh Davis going to Germany.
World and Community Service, under John Shirley’s leadership, received two matching grants from Rotary International allowing the Club to sponsor a water well project in Indonesia and to donate 20 computers to a school in Simferopol, Ukraine.
Club Rotarians, friends and family participated in over 13 Community Service projects including the Rotary Workplace Food Drive that raised $80,000 in cash and over 80,000 pounds of food for Marion-Polk Food Share. Six Vocational Service after-hours work site tours and a number of fellowship events were held including new monthly “Dining Groups” and an annual Fall Foliage car tour led by Tom McGirr. The Club achieved its goal of donating $25,000 to the Rotary International Foundation and continued to add numerous Paul Harris Fellows. Despite difficult economic times and many members being transferred due to job changes, membership held steady at close to 200.
The most significant endeavor of the year for our Club was a commitment by the Board to grow our Salem Rotary Foundation so that, in future years, charitable giving proceeds from the Foundation would provide the majority of funding for our annual major Good Works Project. A task force comprised of Foundation and Club Board members was appointed for the purpose of developing a plan to grow the Foundation to the approximately $1 million dollar level needed to do so.
Thanks to Drew Toney, a better than an ever biweekly electronic Rotogram continued to be the main communication tool for the Club. A transition from Clubrunner to a new District electronic database communications system led by Club secretary Ron Rubel promised to be a worthwhile challenge for enhancing club communications.
As another Rotary year closed we continued to earn our tagline: “The Rotary Club of Salem, a Club that gets things done. Good programs, good fellowship and good works.” President Marybeth Beall summed this up best in the four “P’s” that make our Club great: the people; our programs; our projects, and the prestige we have earned as a result.