By Joe Kreitz, Immediate Past President
The work the Ridgefield Rotary Club has done in the past few months on behalf of the deserving service organizations in our town is indeed something of which we can all be very proud. In January we held the 15th annual Taste of Ridgefield. Just when we thought it might be running out of gas after 15 years, we made more money than we had for the previous 5 years, about $30k. This was followed by the Ridgefield Gone Country BBQ Festival in early May . We’ve never done anything like this before and nothing of this magnitude has ever been undertaken in our town before. We ended up making about $40K, which we shared with the Community Center.
All the money we make on these events goes back 100% into the community in the form of grants to local worthy organizations. We touched over 30 organizations, did Amber Alerts and gave scholarships and youth awards. The project we have underway right now, Fly The Colors, in partnership with the Marine Corps League, is really catching on. All profits from this project will go to help meet the needs of returning veterans. The wonderful Gift of Life campaign raised enough money to save at least two lives of children with congenital heart defects, who otherwise would have died, while memorializing two young lives so tragically lost at Sandy Hook.
Given all this local activity, one might think we’ve overlooked support of our wonderful worldwide Rotary Foundation. Such is not the case.
PDG and District Foundation Chair Rick Benson, tells us: “Our Foundation relies on all clubs to do their part and for all members to support the good works of our Foundation”, and indeed we have delivered. Here is a summary of what Ridgefield has done , in this regard .we have attained EREY (Every Rotarian Every Year contributing) for the very first time and expect this to continue
24 of our 35 members are Sustaining Members (donations of at least $100)
15 members are Paul Harris Fellows, with 1 new Fellow and 7 additional citations this year. ($1,000 cumulative}. This says that we have 17.5% of the PHF in the District, with only 1.5% of the District population.
In PolioPlus we have attained 200% of our goal, placing us at or near the top of D7980 We have exceeded our aggressive $8000. goal for The Annual Fund. Entering June, we were well on our way to a “miss” but our Foundation Chair Simon, was not about to let that happen. Simon pledged to donate half of the shortfall , if the rest of us matched with the other half. We did meet The Simon Cooper Annual Fund Challenge, through the generosity and responsiveness of several Board members and Frank Weber, who doubled his usual annual gift. This gives us a per capita average of about $230. or well above (171%) the D7980 goal of $135.
In the spirit of supporting the good works of The Foundation, we have also participated in Oklahoma Tornado Relief and the District Kenya Project. We are completing, with the help of a District Managed Grant, a Ghana school sanitation project. Earlier we used another DMG to provide a computer system for Rides For Ridgefield. We have given local grants to a Kenya Orphans Project (ARRIVE) and the Haitian Health Foundation. Are we doing our part to further the good works of The Rotary Foundation ?
Indeed we are.