Club History

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The Rotary Club of Kitchener Grand River was Chartered on April 10, 1986. Our sponsoring club was the Rotary Club of Kitchener Westmount. When the club was originally chartered, it was part of the Rotary International District 709 (an international district that included the Niagara Peninsula down into Buffalo New York). Glenn Stewart, of the Rotary Club of Kitchener Westmount was instrumental in helping to bring together the new Rotary Club of Kitchener Grand River. A group of charter members travelled to Buffalo to receive the charter in a memorable drive in an RV.

CHARTER MEMBERS INCLUDED: Mike Carson, Ted Conlin, Duane Eby, Steve Finch, Ken Hanbidge, Paul Haslam, Martin Johanns, Dave Johnson, Doug Jones, Tim Leonard, Bob Mair, Peter McCann, JimMcDonald, Jim McIntyre, Rob Schultz, Martin Shelley, Jeff Sproat, Greg Stevens, Rob Wagner and Dennis Yanke.

OUR VALUES The members of the Rotary Club of Kitchener Grand River support the principles and goals of Rotary International. In particular, we believe in directing most of our charitable dollars to projects involving youth and children. We believe in planting seeds, or investing in people, helping children and youth with physical, spiritual, educational and mental needs. We believe in supporting projects that are of a preventative or proactive nature and projects that will have a significant impact.

We believe that our primary responsibility is to those in our local community. However, we recognize our responsibility to show leadership and to support children in need throughout our province, our country and the world.

We recognize the need to provide continuing support over several years to some projects, whereas other projects will only need immediate support. We also need to be prudent in scheduling our donations throughout the year, so if called upon, we can respond quickly and effectively at any time.

FUND RAISERS Our focus on fund raisers has been to have hands on events that provide opportunity for club fellowship at the same time as raising funds. The charter board envisioned a club where ticket selling was not the primary focus for fund raising.

Great 48 Great 48 was the first successful fund raiser of the club. The first event was held from August 14-16, 1987. It was a baseball tournament where the teams raised the funds for children's' charities. The event moved from a two day format (48 hours) to a one day event and the 48 referred to the number of teams as opposed to the length of the event. Great 48 was such a successful fund raiser and such a great fund raising model that it became the inspiration for Skate 48. The last Great 48 fund raiser was held in 2003.

Skate 48 The first Skate 48 was held on February 29, 1992. Utilizing the successful model of Great 48, this one day hockey fun and fund raiser has become an even more successful fund raiser than Great 48. The event allows us to raise $60,000 to $100,000 while at the same time providing the club members and participants a chance to enjoy the fellowship of Rotary.

Mudpuppy Chase Our newest fundraiser was introduced in May 2006. The Mudpuppy Chase is held annually in downtown Kitchener. Our hope is that it will become as successful a fund raiser as Skate 48. The event built on the experience and reputation our club had built in participating in some of the runs that we had co-sponsored. The event is successful thanks to the partnerships of local running clubs and schools along with the hard work of our MudPuppy committee.

Other Fund Raisers Our club was involved with a local running organization for a number of years. We had three runs for which we provided organization and manpower to help raise dollars for local organizations including the hospitals. In 2002, we held our first annual gala. We ran three such successful events that included silent auctions. The decision was made to discontinue the event. We also held two beer and wine festivals.