Posted by JBK on Feb 25, 2018

Our Club has an amazing history of Making A Difference in our community, and one of the powerful tools we have is in the donation of a large amount of money to a local Major Project.  Recent years include: COFood Bank ($25k, 2018), Foundry (KGH, $25k, 2017), Rotary Kitchen (Freedom’s Door, $76k, 2016), Recognition within Trades Building (OC, $75k, 2014-16), Neuro-Navigational Surgical Device (KGH, $75k, 2012-14).  Historical Greats include: Rotary Centennial House (NOW Canada, $80k, 2003), Rotary Centre for the Arts (2001), Southern Interior Rotary Lodge (Canadian Cancer Society, $1.2m, 1998), Rotary Marshes (1995), Rotary Beach, and of course Pleasantvale Homes.  The list is long and distinguished.  Some projects require multi-year commitments or partnership with other Clubs and/or Organizations to get completed. 

In my short time with Rotary I have seen Club Presidents and their Boards prioritize saving towards a Major Project with a $25k/year donation to our Foundation to someday achieve a big, visible, naming opportunity.  I saw one President/Board forego a Major Project in his year so that we would not be committing to a project in Fall in advance of having the proceeds from the tournament next Spring.  There is great debate within the Membership about whether a Major Project is $25k, or whether our $25k/year goes towards a larger Major Project, but that is up to the will of the Club.

Enter the Major Project Selection Committee.  Two years ago, under the vision of then-President John McIntyre, he set about to establish an accountable, transparent and thorough process to engage our membership, evaluate the areas of greatest need, and report to the Club on a recommendation.  That inaugural Committee, Fall 2015, selected the Rotary Kitchen at Freedom’s Door for $76k such that it was known and available for promotion at the 2016 ProAm.  Each committee aspires to complete their assessment and deliver a recommendation by late Fall so that promotion can take place and grants can be sought through the Winter/Spring.  Some of the amazing initiatives considered over the three Selection Processes include:

2015/16– Rotary Kitchen (Freedom’s Door), Glenmore Clubhouse (NOW/EFry/WKS); Giving Giggles Campaign (KGH), Trailer & Tools (Habitat for Humanity), Trades Literacy Campaign (OC), New Van (Salvation Army), Classroom & Counselling Room Reno (Teen Challenge), Bereavement Centre (COHA), Children’s Literacy (YMCA/SD23), AquaZone (YMCA), Rail Trail (City of Kelowna), Rotary Centennial House Roof (NOW), New Building (COFoodBank), Kelowna Pharmacare Assist Program (CCS), Glenrosa Childcare Centre (YMCA).

2016/17 – Foundry (KGH), Silver Lake Camp, SD23, Salvation Army, Kelowna Museum, Okanagan Boys & Girls Club, Willow Child & Youth Advocacy Centre.

2017/18 - Central Okanagan Food Bank, Silver Lake Camp, JoeAnna’s House, Kelowna Foundation Child Advocacy Centre.  (Only Top 4 Listed)

The 2018/2019 approach to donations/spending/savings/major project truly belongs to the incoming Board of Directors and the budget it wishes to present to the Club.  The budget must balance Donations, World Community Service, Foundation Donation, and/or Major Project Selection, which often are four equally deserving components of our Rotary Giving.  Their challenge is difficult and for the coming year we have already heard from several worthy causes in our community: BC Cancer and the PET CT Scanner, JoeAnna’s House and the potential Rotary Garden, not to mention the under-publicized but highly beneficial partnership in October 2017 between Rotary International and Habitat for Humanity to facilitate collaboration to improve access to safe and affordable housing across the globe – their Okanagan Builds could use our help.

If you have read this far, thank you, I appreciate your engagement in this process.  The Major Project Selection process has been undertaken three times within our Club, remarkably successfully by most accounts.  The Club has decisions to make about what constitutes a Major Project, how often can we do them, and how do we select them.  $25k+ is a significant sum of money, and as our funds all come from the generosity of our donors and sponsors to the Pro Am Golf Tournament, our stewardship of these funds deserves our full wisdom, discretion, and vision.