CR Rotary Club Foundation

The Rotary Club of Campbell River is involved in two important foundations.  First, we are part of and support the Rotary International Foundation, which was established to administer the funds to support the world wide service.  Second, we established The Campbell River Rotary Club Foundation to administer a permanent fund for supplying bursaries for  local students who have graduated from District 72 schools. 

The Campbell River Rotary Club Foundation resulted from the ideas brought to the club by Warren Thompson. Warren, a recent transfer to the Campbell River club had retired and immigrated to Canada. He and his wife Rhoda had an extra car, a classic 1975 Mercury Cougar which they offered to donate to the club if the club would use it to raise money for permanent fund to provide bursaries for Campbell River students. The club accepted the idea. Member Brian Taylor took the car to his auto body shop, removed a few bruises and abrasions and arrange for a complete job. The car, placed on display in the Ironwood Mal was the center of attention as the club conducted a public raffle. The lottery resulted in a net profit of $3,500, which became the nucleus for the establishment of the foundation.  On May 29, 1988, the Foundation was incorporated under the Societies Act of BC. The by-laws established for the Society provided that all Past Presidents still active in the club, plus the acting President, the President Elect and two members of the club would be eligible for membership in the Foundation. Members would be assessed $10 annually as dues. 

The first annual meeting was held July 13, 1989. Directors elected were Bill Andrew, Clark Houser, Norm Bell, Ed Hrechuk and Bill Meyers. The assets of the foundation had grown to $10,892 and a bank account was opened, segregating the Foundation funds from other club funds. The first bursary for $1,000 was authorized.  Warren Thompson wrote the guidelines for the Student Selection Committee and both the Club Board of Directors and the Foundation Board approved the guidelines. The selection committee consists of Rotarians appointed by the club president and or the club board of directors.  The selection committee has a great deal of discretion in selecting students for awards. Financial need of the applicant is of prime consideration. The only rigid requirement is that the student be a graduate of a District 72 secondary school. Aid can be provided to attend the school of the students choice and includes vocational or trade schools. Continuing Education students of any age may be considered. No money can be withdrawn from the funds investments may be used for bursaries. A review of the Foundations annual financial statements show a steady growth in assets of the corporation. However, this growth has tapered off in the last few years as the club seems to have lost interest in developing it further.

Funds for the foundation have come from a number of sources. For many years the annual barbecue held at Fort McDougall was a successful fund raiser. Mac and Phyl McDougall furnished the venue and paid for the steaks.  Warren Thompson provided the wine and a number of Rotary Ladies made the desserts.  At first the barbecue made in excess of $3,000 profit, but this gradually dwindled until the last year, 2003, when only $1,386.00 was realized, only because Mac McDougall paid for 10 tickets and Warren Thompson paid for eight, providing between them $900 of the gross income for the event.  For several years, the annual proceeds of the annual White Elephant sale, required by club by-laws to go to the World Community Service fund, were diverted to the club foundation. This can be done only upon the advance approval, each year, by the club board of directors. This diversion was ended with the 1997 year. 

In 1994, Doug Reedman headed up a garage sale that produced $3,000 for the club foundation. 

In 1996, Warren Thompson challenged club members to make personal donations to the club foundation.  He agreed to match all donations up to a total of $10,000. Warrens matching donations amounted to $8,950, resulting in a total of $17,900 for the foundation.  Starting in 2004, the Club Bingo Committee offered to fund $6,000 worth of bursaries so that investment income could be retained for the permanent fund. This arrangement has continued and increased to $8,000 in 2009 and $9,000 in 2010. Bingo funds may not be invested in permanent foundations and are limited to $1,000 per recipient.  Other donations and various small raffles have continued to bring in a dribble of fund for the foundation, but they grow smaller each year.

With changing economic times, declining interest rates and continuing lack of interest by club members, returns for the foundation are diminishing.  The first bursary of $1,000 was granted in 1998. From then through 2003, at least one bursary was granted each year, mostly for $1,000  on occasion, larger or smaller amounts were provided.  To date, $23,139.91 of investment returns have been distributed to 19 students. Another $39,000 from bingo has provided $1,000 each to 39 students. A number of club members have been expressing interest in increasing the size of the fund. With inflated value of the dollar and low interest rates, the present fund does not produce much income. Bingo funds cannot be depended on to keep up the stream of bursaries granted. If the fund was built to a minimum of a half million dollars, it would be much more able to serve the purpose for which it was established. Such a fund would establish a legacy for Rotary in Campbell River that would continue far into the future.