Rotary Club of Tacoma #8 just celebrated 111 years of service to Tacoma and the world. Tacoma Rotary was the eighth club chartered after Rotary began in Chicago in 1905. Rotary’s service is funded largely by its annual fundraiser which this year takes place in the form of a virtual auction culminating with “A Night at the Theatre” on May 1, 2021.
For more information about the fundraiser please visit – rotary8.maxgiving.bid
I joined Tacoma Rotary in 1990 and served as president in 1996/97. I served three years as a teacher/trainer at the annual President-Elect Training Seminar for Rotary. I am always happy to spread the word about Rotary. In the late 1970s I was co-founder of the Tacoma-Pierce County Christmas House where we donated gifts and warm clothing to families for their children. Rotary was a big supporter. Proudly Rotary helps people in our community and around the world.
Rotary is unique among service clubs because it is an international organization with both local and worldwide service. In recent years, Tacoma #8’s international service has focused on eradicating polio from the world (WE ARE SO CLOSE) and beginning to solve malaria disease. With the advent of Covid-19 Tacoma has addressed pandemic issues by sponsoring Shelter Box homes to quarantine individuals already camped in disaster and refugee centers. Clean water projects are also a major international focus for the club.
Some of my best friends are Rotarians and my wife and I still communicate with Rotary Exchange students from almost thirty years ago. Rotary is about helping communities both world wide and at home . . . here in Pierce County.
Local Service in Tacoma comes in different forms. Charitable giving to the club’s Art Wickens’ Foundation, begun over 40 years ago, allows the club to make annual grants to deserving non-profits. The focus includes food insecurity, children, medical care and homelessness. These funds are supplemented by the club’s auction opportunity when participants can “Raise their Paddle” bid number in support. Last year a special grant of $25,000 went to the Boys and Girls’ Club and the club is making a special grant of $15,000 to be awarded in May.
Club members relish hands on projects the incidental costs of which are funded by auction profits. EFN (Emergency Food Network) repacks and break bags for children, Santa for Seniors, Paint Tacoma Beautiful, Raising Girls hygiene kits and furnishing a new large apartment at the YWCA’s homes project are recent examples. A year-long commitment to providing lunches to the Tacoma Rescue Mission biweekly and during holidays is also in progress.
Children and Education round out the service goals supported by the club’s auction proceeds. For many years, the club has built, refurbished and stocked Little Libraries primarily in east Tacoma. A very favorite event is the club’s award of scholarships from $1000-$5000 to deserving high school seniors from most of Tacoma Pierce County’s high schools. I’ve served on a number of committees, but one of my favorites is about college scholarships. Interviewing and evaluating the competing students is sometimes a heartbreaker, but it’s a joy seeing their enthusiasm, efforts, and dreams.
I hope you will join in the auction fun and bid generously on items like a Pig Roast; vacations in Kona, Pueblo Bonito, Lake Tahoe, Sun Valley, Seaside, Packwood Snoqualmie, or Sedona; wine or beer baskets; gifts for Mother’s Day, a flight and a day in Port Townsend and more! Your auction dollars will be well used to help Tacoma, Pierce County and the world! Our volunteers work constantly to help people. Tacoma Rotary may have been the 8th Rotary Club in the world, but remains #1 in my heart.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.