Rotarians pitch fundraising efforts

Jess Oaks
Posted 7/10/24

TORRINGTON – The Torrington Rotary Club joined together for their Monday lunch where the club discussed fundraising opportunities for the club.  

President, Michele Ogburn called the …

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Rotarians pitch fundraising efforts


TORRINGTON – The Torrington Rotary Club joined together for their Monday lunch where the club discussed fundraising opportunities for the club. 

President, Michele Ogburn called the meeting to order shortly after noon and the meeting kicked off with the Pledge of Allegiance, inspirational passage, and the Rotarian four-way test. 

“In the words of Rotarian Franklin D. Roosevelt, ‘The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much. It is whether we provide enough to those who have too little.’ This moment of inspiration reflects the rotary focus on helping those less fortunate and promoting fairness and equity,” Ogburn said to the club. 

After the remainder of the meeting formalities were addressed, Ogburn gave the definition of a rotary club and stated not everyone knows what rotary is about. 

“‘The definition of Rotary,’” Ogburn read to the club. “‘How can you describe an organization called Rotary? There are so many characteristics of a Rotary club as well as the activities of a million Rotarians. There are the features of service, internationality, fellowship, classifications of each vocation, development of goodwill and world understanding, the emphasis of high ethical standards, concern for other people and many more descriptive qualities,’” Ogburn continued. 

According to Ogburn, the Rotary International Board of Directors wanted to further define the fundamental aspects of Rotary, and a one-sentence definition was born with the help of the Rotary’s Public Relations Committee.

“’After numerous drafts, the committee presented this definition, which has been used ever since in various Rotary publications, ‘Rotary is an organization of business and professional person united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and peace in the world,’” Ogburn recited. 

Moving on to old business, Ogburn expressed the excitement from the Lion’s Club regarding the upcoming Festival of Sight on Saturday, July 20. 

“We will be selling 50/50 raffle tickets and everything we raise will go back to the Lion’s Club to help them purchase glasses for those in need.” 

Ogburn spoke about the participation of the Rotary Club during the annual night out on Tuesday, August 6. 

Lynda Baumgardner and Todd Peterson were both recognized for their Rotarian efforts.

“Michele and I as past president and current president wanted to simply thank folks that we thought were extortionately helpful to our efforts to push the club forward,” Eric Boyer, past president, said. “These guys were here at my last meeting when we gave everyone else their jackets.” 

Moving on to new business, Ogburn expressed the Rotary Club will participate in the fair parade, suggesting members drive personal vehicles with a rotary banner. 

Up next, Kim Evezich spoke to the club about fundraising activities. 

“This sort of got started in a conversation because as the price of everything has gone up, we are making less money in our fundraisers,” Evezich said. “Those of you that are involved know that it is just a huge amount of work to do wine tasting so we are debating whether or not we need to have some alternatives or every-other-year alternative. We are sort of open for ideas and suggestions.” 

Evezich explained the club would hear many different fundraiser pitches and the club would then vote on which activity the members would be in favor of. 

“Just a little history a bunch of you might remember. This (the wine-tasting gala) actually started as a car raffle banquet and we ended up in the same position,” John Maier said. “Cars got more expensive than we could afford to buy and give away and so we searched for another thing. I guess what I would say is that an annual event that is something that puts Rotary in the news. In the news of the community. It’s something we have to work hard for, and we need to make sure that everybody knows that they all have to do it. That’s been dwindling a little bit the last few years but if everybody does it, it becomes a community event,” Maier continued.

Maier also expressed renting the rendezvous center and selling raffle tickets can be a challenge.

“This is a pitch, it’s more of a tradition. You can change it, it doesn’t have to be a wine tasting but some event we can get a big part of our community to go to and participate in is something I think puts Rotary out in the community really well,” Maier explained.

Ogburn spoke with the club about an incentive for those members who donate their time and effort to Rotarian fundraising events.

Boyer briefly spoke with the club on participation and on a fundraising opportunity with a “Ladies’ Night Out” type event. Boyer provided some background information, stating the event as well as the “Corn Crib” at the Goshen County Fair were organized by a college sorority group. Boyer added both staples in the community are no longer available due to lack of participation.

“It’s gone and largely because they couldn’t get enough people to volunteer to do it,” Boyer said. “That’s where we are at. Both of those are a huge loss for this community.”

Furthering the discussion, Evezich provided some background on the financial reports for the event. 

“I went and researched what we have made on wine tasting or pseudo wine tasting for the last three years.” Evezich began. “In 2020, it got canceled although there were some positive turns that we didn’t have to pay in 2021. [In] 2021, we didn’t have the event, but we had the reverse raffle and the silent auction because all the silent auction items were already done from the previous year. We made about $15,000. In 2022, we made about $20,000 and in 2023 we made $16,000.”

Evezich pitched an increase in dues and the possibility of doing a stand-alone reverse raffle.

Ogburn also suggested a smaller-scale wine-tasting event. 

Tim Pieper spoke on the fundraising event of a duck race. 

A pitch for a casino night was also briefly discussed with the club.

The club agreed to further the discussion on the fundraising activities during the next meeting and the meeting quickly adjourned after 1 p.m. to reconvene the following Monday.