Hoff helps members understand Marshalltown Rotary Foundation
Bill Fitzgerald rang the bell to get the May 23 edition of the Marshalltown Rotary Club luncheon meeting underway. John Fink offered a prayer and led in the Pledge of Allegiance. More than 55 members were present and guests were welcomed from the Newton and Grinnell Rotary clubs. Bonnie Lowery welcomed Charissa Bassett as the club’s newest member, having her membership transferred from the Avoca club. Bassett recently moved to Marshalltown, is the administrator for Care Initiatives, and possesses the new club record for consecutive consonants in a name. Fitzgerald reported on the Rotary District Conference that he and Dennis Drager recently attended. A news report was presented by Bob Moore and a healthy dose of Happy News followed.
The program for the day was centered on the Marshalltown Rotary Foundation. After some introductory remarks by club President Fitzgerald, Rotary Foundation President Curt Hoff began by making the distinction between this local foundation and the International and District Foundations of Rotary. The International foundation has had a robust 100-year history. More than $3 billion has been spent around the world on a variety of causes that include: promoting peace, supporting education, providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene and fighting disease. Efforts to eradicate Polio is its most visible project at the moment. The Marshalltown club recognizes its members who attain Paul Harris Fellow status each year for their individual contribution toward these international efforts. The Marshalltown Rotary club is one of 64 clubs in its district. There were $87,000 in district grants in 2017 and Marshalltown was the recipient of two such grants. Moving to the main topic of the local Marshalltown Rotary Foundation, Hoff noted this 501C3 organization was established in 1983. Max Buck is the only surviving member of the founding group and serves as the organizations Secretary/Treasurer. He has been an invaluable resource for the group. A couple of large contributions helped jump start the Foundation in its early years and its first grant was for orthodontic work on a needy student. The organization has acted as a conduit for efforts related to Habitat for Humanity, a sun oven project and the community band shell that is still in use here in Marshalltown. The bulk of the funds over the years have gone toward scholarships to MHS graduates. The scholarships are for a four-year term and at least two have been given each year since 1986. Hoff detailed the balance of funds invested and noted that the board revised the investment philosophy of the monies two years ago. Additionally, a portion of funds was placed in an endowment with the Community Foundation of Marshall County. Citing a number of reasons to consider giving to the Marshalltown Rotary Foundation, Hoff encouraged members to consider just that. “No amount is too large or too small and whatever the reason behind the gift, know that it is appreciated,” he said. After a round of questions and answers, Fitzgerald described the scholarship application and selection process. He thanked Lowery and Sam Vance for their assistance and then introduced recipients: Mary Drummer, Whitney Canaday, and Morgan Van Staalduine. Fitzgerald gave a sampling of the trio’s activities, accomplishments and future plans.
Around the world and around the corner, the 1.2 million men and women of Rotary share their time and experience with young people.