When a Vancouver newspaper published a list of the top 100 fundraising charities in B.C. the Rotary Club was curiously left from the list.
That sparked the first study of charitable fundraising by Rotary Clubs in B.C., which found that in 2012 the 147 clubs raised $8.5 million – including $64,000 from the Rotary Club of Oak Bay – and landed the charity a spot among the province’s best.
Individual Oak Bay members directly donated $23,000 to the Rotary Foundation, an international foundation committed to improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty. The 60-member club also raised $34,000 through club fundraisers in Oak Bay, including a Tuscan dinner, involvement at the Oak Bay Tea Party, a Thrifty Foods smile card program, a poinsettia sale, the Merrython run and the Bowker Creek Brush Up.
A portion of funds raised have been set aside for what will become a teen centre within the new Oak Bay High. The club has sponsored the current teen centre, located at a portable on school grounds and open during lunch hours, said club president Joan Peggs
“It’s for students who are quieter in nature and not part of any group,” she said.
The club also gave cash to the municipality for the water park at Carnarvon Park, which members work to upkeep each spring. Members regularly travel at their own expense to places such as India, Guatemala and Malawi. Last year projects brought members to Mexico for the construction of toilets and to Rwanda for the installation of smoke-free stoves.
“So many of their health problems are related to the smoke that comes off of the stove,” Peggs said.
The club continues work back at home by sponsoring student leadership and exchange programs at the high school and post-secondary level.
The 80-member-strong Victoria club raised an estimated $100,000 during the same one-year period between June 2011 and July 2012. Victoria Harbourside and West Shore clubs also raised $62,000 and $15,000, respectively. This year marks Rotary’s 100th anniversary in Victoria, now with 11 clubs in Greater Victoria and 600 members. Worldwide there are 34,242 clubs, representing more than 1.2 million rotarians.