Fund Raising
Fundraisers Past and Present

Fundraising is an important part of Rotary.  The members of the Rotary Club of Campbell River generate about $100,000 annually in local funds for community service.  Often these funds are matched by grants and volunteer leadership and labour.  Monies raised directly from community supported Rotary functions are put into the local community.  Rotary makes a difference, we enjoy it, and we appreciate the tremendous support and respect from the community.

Rotary Club of Campbell River records reveal that our initial members were a busy, diverse and multi-talented bunch.  In the first five years (1946-1950) they originated the:

  • first fundraiser, an auction which netted $37 in June 1947;
  • first carnival which netted $187 in August 1947;
  • first Klondike Night which netted $839.80 in November 1947; and
  • first March of Dimes in February 1948.

In May 1947 member funds were gathered to make the first $53 donation to the Paul Harris Foundation (later named Rotary Foundation) following our founder’s death in January 27, 1947. 

Rotary and the Kinsmen had “sporty” relationship in those days.  In October 1948 the two groups had a $100 bet on a beard growing contest.  The Kinsmen prevailed and passed the wager to the “Memorial Hall Fund” later changed to the Community Hall Fund.  In September 1949 Rotary won a log rolling contest but the Kinsmen bested us in a tug-of-war. 

Fines collected at meetings were passed to Queen Alexandra Solarium (tuberculosis) in Victoria.  Major forest fires interrupted fundraising plus winter snowfall collapsed a newly built Scout Hall roof that Rotarians built and rebuilt, the latter with a $500 member’s loan.

Klondike Nights

The name Klondike came from the gold rush days in the wild west area north of Edmonton, Alberta.  There was usually a dinner, some can-can dancing and other entertainment followed by a round of gambling with ‘inflated wads” of money.  Proceeds peaked at a little over $1,000.  It had a 10 year run, until 1967 when it was dropped as a fundraiser and the equipment given to the Elks.

Scrap Metal Drives

This program started in 1955.  Steel scrap metal was worth $15/ton, delivered to a collection point.  In the initial years this scrap raised over $2,000/year with the success related to two factors.  Tom Hargreaves, the Elk Falls mill manager was a dedicated Rotarian.  He had team of workers, with suitable heavy equipment, ready to go to work.  This fundraiser lasted until the mid 60’s.

Newspaper Bingos

Newspaper bingos started circa 1955 and lasted until around 1970.  Typically, this fundraiser garnered about $600 per year.

White Elephant Sale

This brainwave was started in 1968 and raised $147.  Rotarians can occasionally receive gifts that are best passed onto another.  The first meeting in the New Year is designated “White Elephants” and members get to auction off/purchase some gems with the proceeds going to member or international purposes.  This contrasts with community funds raised in the community staying in the community.  This program continues to this day.  In its 38 year history this entertaining fiasco has raised about $25,000 mostly for international charities, usually with matching fund support.  The projects fall under World Community Service.

Bits and Pieces

In 1968 $800 was raised.  The idea was that Rotary would rent a hall and groups, mostly Rotary, would be formed to put on an entertaining skit or two.  This initiative only lasted a few years.

March for Dimes/Children

Rotary assisted others in 1948-1953.  The March had started in the hungry 30’s in New York City.  Funds were earmarked for Children’s Hospital facilities.  In 1954 Rotary took control locally.  Daybreak Rotary is our equal partner.  The Children’s Hospital in the lower mainland was the recipient of all the funds raised through until 1993 or about $165,000.  In 1994 the funds were redirected to our local Campbell River Hospital.  Annual proceeds are over $15,000 with local pediatrics having now received over $200,000 from the renamed “March for Children”.  This event happens on the last Saturday before Christmas from 10:00 until 4:00.

The 200 Club

This fund raiser started in 1973 but, due to the requirement for Rotarians to sell tickets, it only ran for two years but did raise about $1600 per year.  Rotarians disdain selling tickets.  That has been proven time and again. 

Barrel Sweeps

Operated for one year, 1975, and lost $75.90.  The idea was to guess the length of time it would take for a sealed barrel to float down the Campbell River.  The barrel floated, the concept did not.

Pancake Breakfast

In April 1958 Rotary hosted a pancake breakfast in the community hall as part of the Ripple Rock blast festivities.  In 1968 the first annual breakfast tradition on Father’s Day started.  It netted $147.  The breakfast has continued every Father’s Day since.  The peak number of attendees was placed at 1600 in 1984.  The meal is gratis to seniors and is now a break even project, a community service.  It is an opportunity to say thanks to our pioneers.  The aggregate number of breakfasts served over 42 years is over 50,000.

TV Auction

Ken Phillips picked up the concept from Prince George Rotary;  Brian Taylor and Al Grant were responsible for getting it up and running.  A core group of Rotarians developed it in Campbell River, moving it from a live audience/radio/TV format to the slick production we see on TV today.  Annual proceeds were over $80,000 in 2009.  The auction passed the one million dollar  net milestone in 2003.  This clearly is the most significant fundraiser for our club.  It funds most of our community service projects.  The auction happens on the last weekend in November and involves the whole club.

Weekly Draws

A $2 draw at most meetings takes place with the winner getting a tax receipt, a chance on a cumulative card draw or a bottle of wine or similar.  The proceeds go to the club funds for Foundation initiatives.

BC Lottery – Bingo

This club is on the sponsor rotation at the Bingo Palace on St. Ann’s Road.  Annual proceeds are in the area of $20,000.  Lotteries are very particular as to how these funds are spent.  There are a myriad of regulations but the funds are real. 

Mac’s Ties

In the mid 70’s Rotarian Wilf Shipway wore what Mac McDougall considered to be an “ugly” tie to a TV Auction social.  The tie should not be destroyed – no –it should be shared amongst Rotarians with every obliging member kicking in a few bucks for a “piece”.  “Mac the knife” sliced off enough pieces of tie over a period of about 3 years to raise over $7,000 including $1,553 on the Port Hardy Rotary Charter Night to help them get started in Rotary.


Other fundraisers include Hard Time Nights, Western nights, Mexican, Hawaiian, and Oktoberfest, Games night, auctions and a host of other socials that raise funds.