Rotary Highlands Community Choice awards seek voters

February 11, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

The Rotary Club of Orangeville Highlands is choosing a new way to give to the community, that allows residents to help them decide which good causes will benefit from the Club’s donations this year.

The Rotary Club holds fund raising events several times during the year that benefit not only the local community but also have an international outreach.

This year, the Highlands Club is reaching out to local residents to nominate deserving groups in the area. The public will then be asked to vote for which ever group they think deserves to be a recipient of a Rotary Club grant.

“We are calling it the Rotary Club Community Choice Grants,” explained Michele Fisher, chair of the Rotary Service Committee.

“What we wanted to do was get the community engaged in deciding where the grant monies are going to go and which charities and non-profits are going to benefit. Normally these types of decisions are made within the Club. However, we know there are a lot of smaller non-profit groups out there who could really benefit from getting a grant. We’re going to put it out to the community to nominate who they would like to see short-listed for the grants. Then once the short list is generated, we’re going to put it back out to the community to vote on their top three.”

This is a brand-new way of determining who will benefit from Rotary grants.

“As a Rotary Club, we raise money through a couple of fundraisers,” Ms. Fisher said. “Earlier this year we did the Orangeville Cares GoFundMe campaign and raised about $10,000. We were raising money to help food business and restaurants who were giving out free food to people in need due to the pandemic. Normally in the fall we have our Taste of Autumn Gala, and that’s our big fundraiser.”

The Club plans to do some marketing through social media platforms to announce the contest. People can put in a nomination in the comments section of a social media post.

“We will contact the non-profit [organizations] and let them know they’ve been nominated and send them a link to the application form,” Ms. Fisher explained. “We’ve tried to makes this as ‘no strings attached’ as possible. A lot of times charities have to jump through hoops to get funding. We just have a simple application form. We’re just asking that the non-profit or program are within one of Rotary’s seven areas of focus and that they are in good standing in the community and they serve Orangeville in some way. Once they go through the application process, we’re going to turn it back around to the public so they can vote on who’s going to receive these grants.”

On the application, organizations will have to explain how they serve the public, why they need the money, and their area of service must fit within Rotary’s area of focus.

Voting will take place beginning on March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day – and will end on March 24.

The grant recipients will be announced by the end of March.

“All non-profits have really been suffering during this pandemic, the smaller ones especially,” Ms. Fisher said. “So these Rotary Community Choice grants are especially to help the little guy.”

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