Rotary Club Benefit Fund grant applications just under $200,000

February 11, 2009
Santa Paula News

At first they just trickled in, but then the applications for the first ever Rotary Club Benefit Fund grants turned into a torrent now topping $197,000 in requests from nonprofit groups.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesAt first they just trickled in, but then the applications for the first ever Rotary Club Benefit Fund grants turned into a torrent now topping $197,000 in requests from nonprofit groups.“What an incredible community we live in!” said Rotary Past President Maria Bombara. “There is so much energy and care for projects benefiting youth, arts, public safety, and the general community,” but sadly, requests outstrip available funds almost fourfold.Bombara admits, “At first, I was very sad that all could not have the money requested... these are all such worthy projects. Then, the respect and pride I have so deeply for Rotary reminded me we are the only organization raising money to support community projects,” with major funding being diverted from “our own projects.”Applications for the funding range from youth groups to public safety to support of the arts to festivals and celebration and beyond. The money was raised through the 2nd Annual Rotary Club of Santa Paula Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch/Harvest Festival held each weekend in October 2008.“How many fundraisers do you attend all year long, and they benefit that very worthy organization? When you attend the Rotary Club of Santa Paula Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch,” said Bombara, “you are raising funds for a variety of Santa Paula community organizations.”
The public can help in raising more funds for the community with simple action: “As your Santa Paula Rotary Club, we hope you will help us market the Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch this year” as, Bombara noted, “the more money we can raise, the more applications we can grant. This is funding your projects, your passions, your hopes and dreams for Santa Paula.”Now is the time for Rotary Club committee members to decide on the applications. “Be assured we will apply our 4 Way Test as we make these very difficult decisions” from the raft of applications that were welcomed for consideration.And, Bombara promised, “Our energy will stay positive as we begin our planning process for the 2009 Pumpkin Patch so we can grant even more funding” in the future. “Put the Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch on your calendar for family fun and community support!”With 2008 Pumpkin Patch money to share with community nonprofit programs and projects, the Rotary Club crafted the new grant application procedure. “Previously our club took requests for funds as they were presented to us in the form of letters, notes, or general fundraising literature,” said Incoming Rotary President Pam Lindsay, which made it “difficult to evaluate the need for our funds or how they would impact the group making the request.”Programs or organizations serving residents of Santa Paula have precedence in this new procedure, which has two grant levels and application processes. Grant applications of more than $500 to be considered by Rotary Benefit Fund committee members were given the specific deadline. Those wishing to apply for amounts of up to $500 will continue to be accepted throughout the year.An interesting caveat of the application for those requesting more than $500 was an explanation of how the funded organization would benefit the Pumpkin Patch, which offers a wide berth of possibilities. “They can mention it in their organization newsletter, provide volunteers to be in a booth to promote their own program that we were able to help them with and how the program helps the community,” said Lindsay. “They can even provide volunteers to work and help Rotarians” at the annual Pumpkin Patch or, according to Lindsay, conduct one-on-one marketing by encouraging friends and neighbors to attend the Pumpkin Patch.

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