October 27, 2017
President Marty welcomed everyone to the meeting and reminded the club members of Jim Runion’s funeral being held in the afternoon after our meeting. The funeral is at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and reception to follow in the church hall. Our club members present will be providing an honour guard.
Our goal today is to introduce – or perhaps re-introduce – the club to one of Guelph’s best kept secrets. In fact, it’s also fair to say it’s probably one of Rotary’s best kept secrets. Which is surprising, because the Rotary Club of Guelph Charitable Foundation has been around for more than 28 years and has empowered, changed and impacted hundreds – if not thousands – of lives all across our city and in many places around the world. Almost everywhere we look locally we see the extent of the work of our club’s foundation – and yet it remains virtually unknown to many of those who benefit directly from its efforts.
Many of us here today have probably contributed to the success of our foundation. You may have given money to it; or time to it. You may have taken part in activities it has helped to create [hospice, senior’s centre]; or you have benefitted directly from the services that others have been able to create. For a number of organizations in Guelph, it is fair to say that our foundation has truly been a game changer. It has helped organizations and individuals achieve their dreams and commemorate events of historical significance [John McCrae statue]. Our club foundation has transformed organizations from small players with a dream into larger ones [Hospice].
Our foundation has reached out to the young [Youth Music Centre, Sunrise Equestrian, scholarships] and the not-so-young [senior’s centre, the Elliott community}; to those who love the arts [music centre, Shakespeare, John McCrae] and the sciences; to those who care for our native peoples [Bheny] and who care equally for the disadvantaged in many corners of the world [int’l development].
Our club foundation has contributed to the building of buildings [senior’s centre, Dialysis centre, Hopewell]; to those who help with both the beginning [Health for Guelph] and end of life [Hospice]; to farmers [Africa committee, Help Lesotho) and to social workers [Family & children’s services, GW Counselling Centre, Guelph Community Services, Habitat], to teachers [Tytler Reading Trust} and professors [Shakespeare], to artists and artisans [Youth Music Centre]. And yet, even though it is right in our own backyard, very few of us know much about the Rotary Club of Guelph Charitable Foundation.
So we are pleased to have this opportunity to tell you more about the foundation’s past, present and potential future and about why we should think of it as a game changer in so many aspects of our lives. Depending upon your age and stage, you may remember a very well-known and extraordinarily generous real estate businessman named Jack Skov.
Jack made a lifetime habit of sharing his good fortune with others; a habit that made him a pivotal member of the Rotary Club of Guelph at the time, and an embodiment of everything that is best about Rotary and what it stands for. Jack practiced ‘service above self’; he gave his time and treasure unhesitatingly; he lived a full yet simple life; and he cared deeply for those who, like him, had come up the hard way and succeeded in overcoming all kinds of odds- whether social, educational, financial or health related- on their way to a better life.
So when the end of Jack’s own life was near and he was taking counsel on planning for those who would follow him, he was open to the suggestion to begin a charitable foundation as a fund raising benefactor for the community. As a result, on April 22, 1988, the Rotary Club of Guelph Charitable Foundation was incorporated.
To assure perpetuity and renewal, the volunteer board of directors consists of past-presidents of the Rotary Club of Guelph. The foundation began its life as an agent of change for good in Guelph and Wellington county. Today, the foundation is still entirely administered by volunteers. they raise money; consider requests for help; often become actively engaged in the projects the foundation supports; disburse funds and constantly review the giving landscape for opportunities to assist.
This volunteer effort helps to ensure that the foundation’s operating costs are almost zero. In fact, less than 1% of all funds raised go towards legal and accounting costs. The remainder, a full 99%, has either been distributed to or is available to support community projects. This makes the foundation unique among registered charities and certainly one of the best ways to ensure that one’s donation goes fully towards the project of choice.
Including our recent pledge of half a million dollars to help fund our own club’s ambitious and exciting centennial project, the foundation has disbursed or pledged more than $2.0 million to projects here and around the globe. It carries and invests significant cash reserves to be ready to support worthy projects and it stewards and manages donated funds under a charitable registration number and in full compliance with Revenue Canada regulations.
As a result, the foundation is in almost every corner of the community – often unseen and unsung, but very much a part of the fabric of our daily lives. If you step into the Guelph Evergreen Centre, you may visit the T.T. (Jack) Skov Auditorium, partially funded by the foundation.
You may take your children or grandchildren to see the iconic John McCrae statue outside the Guelph Museum. We’re there, too. The Guelph Youth Music Centre has benefitted from our support and so has Sunrise Equestrian Centre. If you have won a scholarship at College Heights Collegiate, it might be one that honors our past Chairman, Don Bower. Or, you may have those you love and cherish staying at Hospice Wellington, which we are honored to support.
Farther afield, we have supplied seed money to leverage significant additional funding for the extraordinary Better Hearing for Northern Youth, or Bheny Project in our north. And even further away, through the living legacy of Rotarian Dave Kennedy, we support the Developing Countries Farm Radio Network; and a home building program in Honduras has been a foundation beneficiary. These are just eight examples, but there are many more. In fact, the foundation has supported more than 36 special projects both at home and abroad. Briefly and before taking any questions you may have, allow me to describe what the future holds for the foundation.
Like every organization, the foundation recognizes that it needs to reinvent itself constantly to stay useful and current and, frankly, to help it remain worthy and prepared to receive and dispense future donations. As a result, our club foundation has rebranded itself as the RGC fund, with a new look, new information and a strong presence both in traditional print and social media formats. You can now find us on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. We encourage you to follow – and “like” us – and to share in our progress over the next few years.
Next- and of significant importance- we’ll soon be embarking on an ambitious $2.5 million capital fundraising campaign. This will be the first public campaign in the history of the fund. We are optimistic that the community will strongly support it. The campaign will provide additional resources to transform, empower, and strengthen efforts to enhance our quality of life. And while these new initiatives are exciting, our biggest news is inspired by the generosity of one man who has offered us an enormous motivation to succeed.
Jim Estill, whom many of you will know from his success at EMJ Data Systems, Synnex and, most recently, Danby Appliances and who has been instrumental in bringing many Syrian refugees to safety in our community, has pledged to match all donations raised by the fund to a total of $5 million! This means that every gift donated to the fund will be doubled through Jim’s extraordinary bequest; and it also ensures that the fund can build a legacy of strength for the future to endow other projects that come on stream. We are exceptionally grateful to Jim for this very generous, tangible and motivating support.
I began these remarks with the thought that the fund has been one of Guelph’s best kept secrets for many years. Well, it is time, on this – the eve of our club’s centennial year – to get the secret out! We look forward to a very successful future for the fund, for its donors, for the recipients and for the community.
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President Marty informed the club that we had received 2 letters of appreciation – one from GRCA and the other from Guelph General Hospital Foundation.
President Marty also announced that the 4 Rotary clubs in Guelph and Fergus and Centre-Wellington clubs are hosting an international event on Monday June 25 2018 at the Country Heritage Park in Milton and they are looking for members from our club to be part of the organizing committee. If you are interested please contact President Marty directly.
Diane Spratt made an announcement on behalf of the Sparkles in the Park committee asking for volunteers to help test all the lights on Saturday morning at 9 am at Bob Ireland’s workshop 4700 Watson Road south.
Peter McSherry and Beverley Trist-Stewart on behalf of the fellowship committee asked all members who were attending today’s meeting to come to the front of the room if their birthday is in October. A competition followed and Helmuth walked away with the prize??
Jim Stevens then gave the following report on a few of our international projects:
“from 2000 to 2007 our club coupled with the Brampton and Canmore clubs to carry out a RI 3H (Health Hunger Humanity) grant of nearly half a million $ US to improve conditions in the Maji Ya Chai Ward in the Arumeru District of Tanzania. 3H preceded the current Global Grants. The grant provided for clean water, electrification, education , health services and support of a leper colony. After completion there was an influx of new residents and the economy grew. The population in 2002 was 19,000, in 2012 was 29,000 and is now close to 40,000.
In addition Arumeru District, near Mount Kilimajaro, is one of the three district recipients of a YEMP program (Young Men as Equal Partners). This program is provided by UMATI, a non- governmental organization, which provides sexual and reproductive information and services.
One of the other projects was to build a science lab in the Maji Ya Chai Secondary School so that the school could get science education certification. I have just heard from Faye Cran, our local Project Coordinator, that the Chairman of the School Board that thanks to the construction of the laboratory that we paid for, the school has gone from 100% failures in 2011 to only 2% last year.”
Terrie Jarvis made an announcement that she is now taking on the work of sending email blasts out to club members. Roxanne Eztes had done these for years and now Terrie will be handling these. If you have message that needs to be sent out please let Terrie know.
Terrie also paid happy bills and announced that she and Alan have a new granddaughter born Tuesday in Calgary (name pending)!
Ben McCarl paid some happy bills as he has just acquired his new “hybrid” car – he noticed the quietness while stopped at a red light and pondered about his old sports car 20 years ago that used to Growl!
Ab Moore paid a few happy bills and gave an update regarding the situation that he described last week internet communication has reopened and we recently had a $50K grant approved to provide wells for 5 towns.
Paul Dredge presented Callie Cabral (his guest) with her Don Bower Award cheque of $2000.
Paul also gave a few happy bills as his son has just graduated from Wilfred Laurier university.
Grant Gammie – October 26th -his 95th Birthday!!
Steve Irvine – October 22 -24 years
Lawrie Jones – October 22, 45 years
Sharon Rice – October 22, 18 years
Anne-Marie Zajdlik – October 22, 7 years
Jan Jofriet – October 23, 19 years
Joanne McCauley – October 24, 14 years
Barb Holmes – October 26, 27 years
Total of 176 years of service!