About Our Club
 
image
The Area 4 Rotary Club in Brooklyn Center, with the assistance of the Brooklyn Park Rotary Club, supported the launch of the precursor to what became the Maple Grove Rotary Club. The first lunch meetings for the Extension Club were held at the Snyder's drugstore café. As is often the case, it was a struggle to attract 25 potential members. The barrier seemed to be in the time of the meeting. Lunch meetings were shifted to the breakfast hour and a surge of potential membership activity took place. Finally, on May 12, 1990, the Maple Grove Rotary Club held their Charter Night at the Northland Inn. There were 33 Charter Members among the 100+ people in attendance at the dinner. John Mitchell, a long time Rotarian and surprise guest, along with his wife, flew in from Texas. He was the keynote speaker for the evening and father of Diane Confer, our District 5950 Executive Secretary since 1978. Diane was attending the event as a District representative and had not expected to see her parents at this time. Needless to say, the reunion of Diane with her parents, and the creation of the new Maple Grove Rotary Club "family", was an emotional event.

Four years later, the membership had dwindled to 19. The Club was in need of new members and more funds to stay viable. Necessity was a great motivator to create a new strategy. The Club's primary goals were to double their membership and initiate a fundraiser. Their efforts resulted in a 63% increase in membership with a net gain of 12 new members, approaching the member size on Charter Night. President-Elect Dave Looby, Tim Zastoupil and Gary Martini organized the first Maple Grove Rotary Silent Auction held at Pulaski's Palace. The Auction raised just over $4,000 - 40% of the annual budget at that time. This was a significant turning point for the Club, setting the stage for what has become the distinctive personality of the Maple Grove Rotary Club.

Since 1995, we have met at Champp's Americana in Maple Grove. Our fellowship consists of about 55 men and women members, ranging in age from 37 to 75. In our 15 years of existence, we have put forth three Ambassadorial Scholars and taken in eight Youth Exchange students. Our investment in youth continues through Camp Enterprise, the Sophomore Respect Retreat, RYLA and the actions of members participating in the Strive program in two high schools. We have supported international projects from Chile to Latvia, Tanzania to Mexico.

Our international projects have touched the hearts of two Rotary families. In the spring of 1999, a patient of chiropractor Dr. Doug Broman mentioned he was in town to make enough money to be able to work at Hope for Children, a children's home in Riga, Latvia. Dr. Broman became interested in the needs of Hope for Children and offered to collect backpacks and tennis shoes. That fall, the Broman family carried two hockey bags filled with 350 lbs. of backpacks and tennis shoes to Riga, Latvia. They spent a week interacting with the children and volunteers of Hope for Children. They learned a lot and came back with a project Area 4 could embrace - the purchase of a tractor for use in a large garden that could feed everyone at the facility. In 2001, the Broman family returned to Hope for Children to take pictures of their new tractor and spend time with children. This trip solidified a relationship with one of the children. Upon their return to the United States, the process of adoption began. In December 2003, 15 year old Karina Drozda became Karina Broman.

In January 2005, the Maple Grove Rotary Club assisted Journey for Hope in a fundraiser to offset expenses to bring older Russian children to Minnesota for the purposes of adoption. This time, Rotarian Doug Galka and his family had their heart strings pulled. Two ten year old Russian boys, Olek and Sasha, spent a month this summer with the Galka family. The adoption paperwork has begun. The Maple Grove Rotary truly has become an international family. Locally, we are active in several community activities including the local food shelf, boulevard flower planting, highway clean up, support for area K-12 schools and getting the word out about Rotary as a civic organization. We have strong ties with North Hennepin Community College, Feed My Starving Children and the Maple Grove Days Parade. We are currently supporting an Extension Club to the north of us in Rogers, MN. Our primary fundraisers are a Rose Sale and our now coveted Silent Auction. On the eve of construction of a new hospital in our community (the first hospital built in the state in 20 years), we have already taken steps to incorporate a Rotary presence in the new facility.

Maple Grove Rotary is a vibrant, growing Club located at the base of the 94 corridor. We celebrate life - it all the forms life takes. We welcome all those passing through our city to stop by on Tuesday mornings.