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Rotary funds come back to community

District Rotary Foundation Chair Joan Firkins tells the Rotary Club of Campbell River what global initiatives are made possible by the money it raises locally during the club’s Wednesday luncheon. - Renée Andor
District Rotary Foundation Chair Joan Firkins tells the Rotary Club of Campbell River what global initiatives are made possible by the money it raises locally during the club’s Wednesday luncheon.
— image credit: Renée Andor

“Campbell River, you guys are good.”

This was District Rotary Foundation Chair Joan Firkins’ message as she spoke to the Rotary Club of Campbell River during a special presentation on Wednesday.

While the club contributes to Campbell River through projects like the Rotary Seawalk, Rotary Beach Park, helping with the creation of walking trails and many other things, Firkins came to tell local club members what their fundraising is doing on a global scale.

She said an underlying theme in all Rotary Foundation endeavours is sustainability.

“To make (projects) sustainable there has to be somewhat of an education component attached to it, so that when all the rotarians leave and all the money has been expended with regard to the project, the people in the local community are able to carry the project on,” explained Firkins.

She also spoke about the Foundation’s fight to eradicate polio in third world countries, which the Rotary Foundation has been working on since 1985.

“Even though we’ve been doing it for years, we’ll keep going,” said Firkins. “We’re close and we’re getting closer.”

The Rotary Foundation provides vaccines to children in an effort to stop polio from spreading. Firkins pointed out that initially 1,000 children a day were paralyzed with the disease, and it was seen in about 200 countries and territories around the world.

Now, she said there’s about 40 per cent fewer cases per year, and she congratulated the Rotary Club of Campbell River on contributing over $6,000 towards the Foundation’s fight against this disease.

The Rotary Foundation also provides funding for vocational training, group study exchanges, scholarships, global and matching grants, district grants, and Rotary Peace Centres.

She also reminded local club members that half of the money they send to the Foundation comes right back to Campbell River for local initiatives within three years.

“It doesn’t go off into airy-fairy land and you never see it again or don’t know what happened to it,” said Firkins.

“The other 50 per cent goes to the world fund and that’s where the matching money comes from, the grants that we apply for, so all in all we get very good use out of the money that we contribute.”

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