Today Kim Simon and Val Gerhart provided an update, guiding us through a PowerPoint on Rotary at the local and the international level.
After a short video Val covered the history and impact of Rotary International.  Rotary was founded in Chicago by Paul Harris in 1905.  Rotary's core values include service, fellowship, integrity, leadership and diversity.  Rotary has 1.2 million members in 35,000 clubs and 220 countries.
Rotary's effort to end polio began in 1979 in the Philippines. Since then $1.6B has been donated by Rotarians on this effort and matched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Now the only remaining trouble spots for polio are in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The idea of a Rotary endowment fund was conceived in 1917.  The Rotary International Foundation has given $4.9B since 1947 and has received top rating from Charity Navigator.  Foundation projects address one of seven areas of focus:
  • Promoting peace
  • Fighting disease
  • Providing clean water
  • Saving mothers and children
  • Supporting education
  • Growing local economies
  • Protecting the environment
Each Rotarian is encouraged to contribute $100 to the RI Foundation annually.
Kim talked about Rotary at the local level.  Benzie Sunrise Rotary was established in 1999 as a member of Rotary International District 6290.  The Club currently has 39 active members and 41 Friends of Rotary.  Weekly meetings eventually will be held at Lucky Dog in Beulah.  Opportunities for fellowship occur through social events and other activities, including the President's Dinner, the Holiday Party and at fundraisers including the Up North Bike Fest and annual Golf Outing.  Club projects in 2020-2021 have included:
  • Born to Read
  • Dolly Parton's Imagination Library
  • Adopt-a-Highway, M-115
  • Benzie Bus passes for after-school activities
  • BACN's annual food drives
  • Goodwill Industries Food Rescue
  • Pints for Polio
  • Wheels of Hope (Nigeria).
Club programs at Benzie Central have involved everything from pre-K to the 12th grade, including PoWeR! Book Bags, Reading is FUNdamental, dictionary give-away, Crystal Lake walkabout, Service Above Self Day, CHOICES, Career Quest,  NMC tour & lunch. college trip to MSU & Ferris, Career Expo, Tim Krause and Choices Scholarships and monthly Service above Self awards.
In addition to the foregoing activities Benzie Sunrise Rotary also has its own foundation to which members are encouraged to contribute.