Committee members, donors and sponsors are hard at work planning our major fundraising event, “A Night to Pay it Forward,” scheduled for February 13. Putting on a major event like this requires a lot of time and talent. I’d like to thank Director of Fundraising, Christian Bryant, for his hard work. Leilani Slama, Lauren Gutierrez, Brenda Kidder and Lisa Mance have all been energetic leaders. And there are many more committee chairs playing a major role as well.
In many ways, it is the highlight of our Rotary year. This is an evening to get all dressed up, have a great dinner, and enjoy each other’s company. Both the live and silent auctions promise to be full of interesting items to bid on. Our donors have been extremely generous – and our committee members very creative! – about putting together attractive packages.
But this evening will be about much more than a great social event. This is a party with a purpose. We will celebrate what Rotary means to us as members, and what Rotary means to our communities. The net proceeds of the event will be completely dedicated to our charitable work as Rotarians. We have committed $30,000 to the Salem Area Trail Alliance. These funds will help build a children’s bike track within the Salem City limits: a neighborhood resource benefiting kids of all abilities, ages and statuses. This is another project in our distinguished history of contributing tangible improvements for Salem’s citizens.
But that’s not all. Proceeds from this event will also support Rotary’s well-known international Youth Exchange program; our great work in the areas of Literacy, World Community Service, and the youth leadership training program known as RYLA, as well as many smaller projects.
Regrettably, I know there are some of you who will not be in attendance on February 13. Please be assured that your donations to this year’s charitable work are welcome – in fact, even expected. It’s part of our identity as Rotarians to provide some charitable support to our causes. Please give what you can by writing a check to Salem Rotary Foundation, a charitable organization, and giving it to Treasurer Chuck Swank before the end of our Rotary year. We have great momentum in the communities we serve. With your help, we will keep that going and continue to make an even bigger difference every year…
Join us at this week’s meeting to hear an update from the Oregon Department of Education. Salam Noor, Director of Academic Planning and Policy for the State of Oregon, will speak on the state of education in Oregon. He will update us on current strengths, successes, areas of needed improvement and future plans. Mr. Noor was the Assistant Superintendent of Schools for the Salem-Keizer School District prior to holding this position. There will be opportunity for questions following the presentation.