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Kathy Sollien - Fund Raising

June 1, 2016

Fundraising. I know what you're thinking - Ugh, boring, no fun, count me out, yada, yada, yada. I hear ya'. But let me try to change your mindset from the dreaded Fundraiser into the reality of Community Service. Ask yourself - what events have we held and what happens to the money that was raised?

Take our Holiday Bell Ringing. Brings in close to $4,000. Where does that go? To a matching grant for the fuel fund which helps low income residents with the purchase of heating fuel. Helping to keep families warm during our cold winter months is certainly a worthy cause.

How about our Italian Night dinner? Recently, we've raised money for the Bennington Free Library, Scholarships, Second Chance Animal Shelter and Oldcastle Theatre, among many others. Not to mention that feeding the hungry with our exceptionally delicious spaghetti and homemade sauce is surely a community service.

Garlic Fest - An event that brings over 10,000 people into this town is by all means a community service. For those of you who have volunteered each year, our club earns $500 to be used for donations such as the $1,000 we just gave to BPI to help with the purchase of a much needed new van.

Aside from these three traditional events, we do no other fundraising. Oh, we've thrown in a few raffles here and there and in the past helped with the car show, sold strawberry shortcake at Mayfest, volunteered for the first ever Pow Wow at the Veteran's Home, just to name a few, but nothing that we could call a regular event.

Let's not forget that we also contribute in other ways that don't earn us a dime. How many of you have bowled in the Bowl for Kids Sake for the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization? The Four Way Speech contest takes a number of Rotarians to pull off. Were you at the Independence Day bell ringing on July 4th last year? Did you Stuff the Bus at the Price Chopper supermarket not too long ago?

Any of you help with the restoration of the Bells that Jerry Albert has been organizing? What about all those years that we gathered together and delivered food and gifts for the Spirit of Sharing? Do some of our newer members realize that our club raised the funds and built both pavilions at Willow Park and many, many years ago put together the Deer Park next to the Veteran's Home? Did you know that the cost of our website this year - $350 - was actually a donation to the Mt. Anthony Athletic department and last year this money went to the Shaftsbury After School program?

Are you starting to get the picture ere? Do we need to raise money to cover the cost of our basic club expenses? Of course we do. Is there a need to raise money to fund scholarships for several hard working high school students? Sure. Do we like to help out when asked for things such as vans, park equipment, an international trip for our Interact students? Absolutely.

Have I helped to change your mind? If so, the next time you hear the word Fundraiser, remember that it's only a word and what we are really doing is helping our community in as many different ways as we can. Service above Self. A good motto for everyone.

Author: Sally Sugarman (Club Member & Windmill Editor)

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