By Todd Cohen
GREENSBORO, N.C. — Crescent Rotary in Greensboro has set an unprecedented fundraising mark, becoming the first “Triple Crown” Rotary club in the world.
One year ago, Rotary International in Evanston, Ill., challenged each of its 31,603 clubs in 166 countries to enlist all their members, totaling 1.2 million, in each of three fundraising initiatives.
This spring, Crescent Rotary became the first club to meet the challenge, with each of its 120 members donating $1,000 to the annual fund of the Rotary Foundation in Chicago and another $1,000 to the foundation’s permanent fund either through their wills or in a gift, while also agreeing to donate $100 a year to the annual fund.
“It’s the only club in the world that has done that,” says Don Allred, a retired Asheboro business executive who serves as governor of Rotary International’s District 7690, which has 50 clubs, including eight in Greensboro. “It’s quite an accomplishment. The foresight to think about doing it and the stick-to-it-ness to get it done was just incredible.”
The fundraising effort, which generated $190,000 in cash contributions and $90,000 in commitments through club members’ wills, was spearheaded by Patrick Eakes, who chairs the club’s foundation committee, serves as an assistant district governor and is president of C.P. Eakes Co., a custom metal-fabrication business.
Since it was formed in 1964, Crescent Rotary has raised $509,000 in cash contributions overall and roughly $200,000 more in commitments through club members’ wills.
After Rotary International initially challenged clubs to secure $1,000 gifts to the foundation’s annual fund from all their members, Eakes says, Stuart Fountain of Asheboro, who chairs the district’s foundation committee, urged the club to become the first in the world to secure the additional donations to the permanent and annual funds.
The Triple Crown achievement, which Rotary International certified Aug. 11, will be recognized Nov. 11 at the Rotary Foundation district banquet, to be held at High Point Country Club.
The keynote speaker will be James L. Lacy of Cooksville, Tenn., immediate past chairman of the foundation and a past president of Rotary International.
Now in its 100th year, Rotary was started Feb. 23, 1905, by Chicago lawyer Paul Harris, who met weekly with three friends for lunch to talk about business, with meetings rotating at each member’s office.
Funds from the foundation are used to promote the humanitarian and educational goals of Rotary throughout the world, with a big goal being to eradicate polio, a cause to which Rotary International has contributed over $600 million.
After three years, half the dollars that local clubs contribute to the foundation’s annual fund are returned to their districts.
This year for example, District 7690 is getting $200,000 from the foundation, or half the total the district’s clubs contributed three years ago, and is spending $150,000 of it on scholarships, $11,000 on a group-study exchange team visiting Germany, and the remainder for community projects.
Crescent also raises $30,000 to $40,000 a year that it contributes mainly to local charities focusing on human development, and to some international projects.
Those funds are raised at an annual auction, to be held Nov. 5 at Greensboro Airport Marriott and chaired by Tom Somerville, president of ReMax 1st Choice.
For information, visit www.rotary7690.org.