Rotary District 5370 Charitable Foundation raises, distributes $1M in Fort McMurray wildfire relief

The flames have long been extinguished and much of the area devastated by the May 2016 Fort McMurray Wildfire—dubbed “The Beast” by former regional fire chief Darby Allen—has been rebuilt, but the emotional impact will take longer to heal, particularly the sense of loss felt by the community’s youngest residents.

As a result of the generosity of Rotarians and others, there is a tool available to help the children of the Wood Buffalo region come to grips with what they experienced.

newfoundland dogA grant of $75,000 from the Rotary District 5370 Charitable Foundation allowed Some Other Solutions to contract with local filmmaker Michael Mankowski to create an animated film that will be used with children in Fort McMurray and made available to other communities that have experienced similar disasters.

SOS, the mandate of which is focused on suicide prevention, was one of nearly 20 agencies and groups to receive grants from the $1,000,000 in donations received for the Fort McMurray Fire Relief Fund.

The film injects the actual words of the fire’s survivors into a world inhabited by the animals of the boreal forest.

“We hope that by juxtaposing these very humanistic, emotionally weighty stories with the light-heartedness of an animated animal world, we can create a compelling and cathartic experience for our audience,” Mankowski says.

Within days of the fire, which destroyed parts of Fort McMurray and forced a month-long evacuation of the more than 80,000 residents from the community, the Rotary District 5370 Charitable Foundation began to solicit funds for its Fort McMurray Fire Relief Fund. 

“Within a matter of months, nearly one million dollars had been received,” says Past District Governor and  former Charitable Foundation president Julius Buski (RC of St. Albert-Saint City). “Donations ranged from single digits to $100,000 from one donor. Rotary clubs from across Canada, the United States, the Caribbean and even the United Kingdom contributed over $125,000. The balance came from caring and concerned individuals.”

The Foundation is a separate entity from Rotary District 5370 and is recognized by the Canada Revenue Agency as a charitable foundation. It is governed by a board of directors elected annually by Foundation members, all of whom are Rotarians.  There is no paid staff.

Its mission is to assist clubs in the district to raise funds for their projects.

Five years before the Fort McMurray fire, the foundation raised and distributed funds following the Slave Lake wildfire.  Julius says this was a “valuable experience,” which prepared the foundation to deal with the much larger 2016 fire.

Another grant of $60,000 was awarded to the Centre of Hope, which executive director image001Amanda Holloway says, “provides programs for people experiencing various stages of homelessness.”

She says, “the fire put an incredible strain on the community and non-profit agencies to meet the needs of people.” 

Following the fire, the agency saw an increase in the number of people it was serving. “About 25 per cent of the people we serve are new to homelessness,” Holloway says. “It’s incredibly important that we are there to deal with people who are new to homelessness.”

The agency offers homeless people a safe place to go, where they have access to laundry facilities, showers and snacks. Staff works with clients to overcome barriers that prevent them from moving from homelessness to more permanent accommodation.

The support of the Charitable Foundation was acknowledged at the provincial level, when then-District Governor Frank Reitz, Foundation Treasurer Kathy Strobl (RC of Edmonton Whyte Avenue) and PDG Laura Morie (RC of Westlock) were introduced to members of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta.

Issuing a call for donations was only the first step for the Charitable Foundation.

“While donations flowed in quickly, making disbursement from the fund was a much longer process,” Julius says. “The Red Cross and other agencies provided necessary immediate relief. Many residents did not experience personal loss, but others needed to deal with insurance companies, rebuilding homes and emotional stress and grief.

“Once the situation was stabilized, the Rotary District 5370 Charitable Foundation began considering how the funds in the Fort McMurray Fire Relief Fund could best be utilized,” he says.

The Foundation established a local allocation advisory committee, chaired by Fort McMurray Rotarian Bryan Lutes, to identify the most critical needs. Other Rotarians on the committee— Susan Bottern, Jennifer Bludd, Rob Denis and Kyle Warren—came from the two Rotary clubs in Fort McMurray; DG Frank Reitz also provided advice.

The committee solicited applications from groups eligible to receive funds from the Foundation under Canada Revenue Agency’s rules. After reviewing applications, the local committee made recommendations to the Foundation board, which made the final decisions related to grants.

On February 28, 2018, the Foundation and the Fort McMurray Rotary clubs hosted a “Million Dollar Dinner” for grant recipients, the mayor and council of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, and MLA Tany Yao to celebrate the hope that grants from the Fort McMurray Wildfire Relief Fund provided the community.

Recipient organizations made short presentations, highlighting how the funds would be used.

In addition to SOS and the Centre for Hope, other grant recipients included:

Stepping Stones Youth Services ($68,860) – Outreach worker for youth at risk

Ecole St. Paul ($10,000) – Replacement of destroyed library books

Girls Inc. of Northern Alberta ($10,000) – Mental health mentoring

Wood Buffalo Child and Youth Advocacy Centre ($40,000) – Child and youth advocacy/mental health

Multicultural Association of Wood Buffalo—Welcome Centre ($86,160) –  Interpretation and translation unit

Fort McMurray Public School District ($75,000) – School-based mental health therapist

Northern Lights Health Centre ($100,000) – Infant-care resuscitation and warming units

Wood Buffalo Educare Society ($37,126) – Lost hearing aids and supplies

Habitat for Humanity Wood Buffalo Society ($60,000) – Warehouse space rent and volunteer support

STEM Wood Buffalo Charitable Projeclit ($72,000) – After-school and summer learning programs

Fort McMurray Catholic School District ($9,000) – Resources for out-of-school care programs

Anzac Family Community Support Society ($5,500) – Community support services

A second set of grants were distributed in June 2018 to: 

Canadian Mental Health Association – Alberta NE Region ($45,000)

Fort McMurray Public School District #2833 ($50,000)

Fort McMurray Society of the Friends of Music ($5,625)

 Hub Family Resource Centre ($31,500)

Fort McMurray Catholic Board of Education ($34,377)

Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo ($75,000)

Northern Lights Health Foundation ($43,500)  

 “We were touched by the generosity of Rotary clubs and individuals, and their contributions to the Fort McMurray Fire Relief Fund,” says past Foundation chair Julius Buski. “It’s heartening to see such an outpouring of care and concern in a time of crisis.”

Edmonton Rotarian marches in the Rose Parade

on the parade routeFor some, watching the Rose Parade, hosted by Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses, is a New Year’s Day tradition. Carol Devereux, the president of the Rotary Club of Edmonton South, is one of those people.

“I love that parade,” she says. “I have watched it for years and years. It’s a New Year’s Day thing to do.”

But this year, Carol was unable to watch the parade because she was part of Rotary International’s entry in it.

While for most of us, Tuesday morning, January 1 was an opportunity to sleep in, Carol was meeting other Rotarians at 4:45 a.m., in the parking lot of a Pasadena, Calif., grocery store. From there, they were transported to the staging area for the 130th Rose Parade, which was scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m.

“We had to get to the staging area before the streets were closed to traffic,” Carol says. 

Carol’s journey to Pasadena began at the 2017 Rotary International convention in Atlanta, where she met two Rotarians who were members of the RI float committee.

“I met with one of them again in Toronto (during the 2018 RI convention) and we talked about how I could get involved. I wanted to learn about what happens behind the scenes and get involved in decorating the float,” she says.

Not only was she able to help decorate the float, she was also invited to be an “out walker.” Those are the people who walk beside the float.

“Walking beside the float was so much fun, because people watching the parade were so engaged,” Carol says.

An estimated 750,000 watched the parade as it passed by the bleachers set up along the parade route.

Click here for a short video of the float in the parade.

There has been a RI float in the parade for nearly 40 years.

The float committee begins to prepare for the parade almost as soon as the previous year’s parade ends. Once the parade theme is established, the Rotarians look at how to combine that theme with the RI annual theme.

As Rotary International provides no financial support, the float committee must find donations to cover the cost, which for 2019 was approximately $150,000.

The theme for this year’s float was “Service Rocks.” Its design was based on Crocodile Rocks, a song by Elton John, which was reflected in the float and the costumes worn by the out walkers and people riding on the float.

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Carol Devereux (right) waits with RI president Barry Raasin and his wife Esther for the parade to begin

As had his predecessors in previous years, RI President Barry Rassin (RC of East Nassau, Bahamas) and his wife, Esther, rode on the float. 

Others invited to ride on the float included the president of the Rotary Club of Paradise, Calif., who lost both his home and business in the Camp Wildfire, and the Rotarian who owns the Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks, Calf., which was the scene of a mass shooting in November 2018.

Because they are considered an extension to the float, parade participants were required to be there in costume when the floats were judged on Monday, December 31.

The judging occurred in the large warehouse where several floats were being assembled, a process which began on Boxing Day. Interactors, Rotaractors and Rotarians worked in shifts to complete the float. 

Once the judging was complete, a driver and a spotter spent eight hours moving the float to the staging area.

When Carol and other Rotarians arrived at the staging area, the floats were lined up in the order in which they would travel over the five-mile parade route, which took about two hours to complete. 

The marching bands and equestrian groups gathered on side streets, prepared to take their place as the floats passed by. 

Back in Edmonton a few days later, Carol remained enthused about the experience.

“It was so much fun. It was just amazing to see behind the scenes of the construction of the floats and decorating them,” she says.

“It was great meeting a whole bunch of new people. Whenever you are around a group of Rotarians, there’s sure to be lots of laughter and fun.” 

Edmonton Rotarian revives and donates old ambulances to to Belize, Mexico and Africa

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Ambulances waiting to be refurbished by Alberta Honda

Some people collect coins. Others fill albums with postage stamps from around the world. But not Roman Bayrock (RC of Edmonton Riverview). He collects ambulances.

So far, he has obtained 11 of these life-saving vehicles, after they have been retired by Alberta Health Services. 

Once these ambulances are refurbished, they are designated for developing countries where the need for them is great.

Assisting people in this fashion gives Roman “a rush. It’s like winning the lottery. I feel great helping people,” he says.

Roman, who describes himself as “a bit of an opportunist, with a talent for bargain hunting,” purchased his first ambulance by chance, when he discovered it listed for sale on an auction site. 

“I figured that not too many people would be interested,” he recalls. “I wondered how cheaply I could buy it.”

 But first, he contacted the Belize Emergency Response Team.

“I called BERT and asked, ‘If I could find you an ambulance cheap, would you be interested?’ They were.”

That first ambulance was shipped to Belize in 2016.

Since then, two more ambulance have gone to Belize. One went to the village of Dangriga, in the Southern Health Region, and the other to Southern Emergency Service, which was started in the Southern Health Region by a former Spruce Grove resident.

This last ambulance was delivered to Belize with the assistance of the US Air Force, through the Denton Program, which is jointly administered by several US government departments and agencies.

“The Denton program offers shipment of ‘humanitarian assistance’ in the form of utility trucks, fire trucks, ambulances, etc., to locations in North American at virtually no charge when space is available,” Roman says.

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Sandra and Roman Bayrock 

At the end of August, Roman and his wife Sandra, who is also a member of Edmonton Riverview, drove the ambulance to the Malstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, Montana. There the ambulance was loaded onto a C-5 Hercules transport for the flight to Belize.

Prior to departing for Montana, Roman held a media event at Alberta Honda in Edmonton, which stores and refurbishes the ambulances.

“Without Alberta Honda, we would not have a space to store these ambulances and no source for parts, tires and batteries,” Roman says.

Once Alberta Honda has refurbished the remaining ambulances, they will be shipped to other developing countries. Four will go to Belize, two to Africa and two to Mexico, as part of the Highway to Mexico program organized by the Rotary Club of  Grande Prairie-Swan City.

This convoy of ambulances, fire trucks and other vehicles will depart for Mazatlan on March 29. Members of the Edson Rotary Club, which is paying to refurbish this vehicle, will drive one ambulance on the two-week journey. Roman and Sandra will drive the second.

Two ambulances will be going to Southern Emergency Services Belize, two to the Believe in Belize Charity in Pacencia, and one each to Faith Prestige Hospital in Ghana and to Arms Across Africa for use in Uganda.

The organizations receiving ambulances are responsible for all costs associated with refurbishing and transportation of the vehicles.

Before the Riverview club releases vehicles to other groups, the potential recipients are required to complete a questionnaire developed by Dean Wood, the club’s International Services director. 

“The purpose of the questionnaire was to get the organizations to make a series of commitments and demonstrate they have the capacity to operate and maintain the vehicle to ensure they will provide a quality and sustainable service,” Dean says.

“We asked them to commit to provide services to all residents of the areas, without regard to their ability to pay,” he says. “We believe that making the service available to all reflects a core Rotary value.”

Finally, each organization was asked to demonstrate a partnership with a local Rotary club.

Turn donating to The Rotary Foundation into a game with yourself

Untitled designSupporting The Rotary Foundation doesn’t have to be tedious.

The Rotary Club of St. Albert proved that last year, by combining raising funds to support the work of the Foundation with fun and fellowship. The club invited members to board a virtual canoe for a year-long journey from Rotary Park in downtown St. Albert to Sturgeon Valley Golf and Country Club, which was powered by TRF donations.

Along the way, there were quarterly stops to assess and celebrate their progress. By June 2018, the club had surpassed its TRF goal and had nearly every Rotarian “in the canoe.”

Half the money Rotarians donate to TRF annual fund is returned to the District three years later, to be used by the District Foundation Committee to support club’s local and international projects and scholarships. The remaining funds are used by TRF for Global Grants, Rotary Peace Fellowships and other scholarships.

Gamification—defined by Merriam Webster as “the process of adding games or game-like elements to something (such as a task) so as to encourage participation”—of TRF fundraising isn’t limited to club-wide activities. Individuals can turn determining how much to donate to TRF into a bit of a game with themselves. 

Here are a few alternatives to a “I-guess-I’ll-write-a-cheque-again-this-year” approach to your TRF donation. They allow factors beyond your control to determine how much you’ll give—although we still encourage you to begin by meeting the Sustaining Member standard of $US100 (about $CA140), each year.

When it’s time to make your donation to TRF Canada, you can do so online and instantly receive a receipt for income tax purposes.

Here are a few suggestions for how to make donating to TRF fun:

When I published my first book a few years ago, I made a commitment that for every book I sold, I would donate one dollar to TRF ($5 if the book was purchased by a Rotarian). Unfortunately, the book never became a bestseller, but so far I have donated enough from book sales to earn at least one Paul Harris Fellowship.

Not sure what a Paul Harris Fellowship is? District Foundation chair Wayne Kauffman (RC of Edmonton Riverview) explains:

“Paul Harris Fellowship recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute $US1,000 to The Rotary Foundation.”

Haven’t written a book? There are still lots of other fun ways to determine your annual donation to TRF:

Money on the floor—Have you heard the sound as money tumbles onto the floor when you pick up a pair of pants? Have you found money on the street? Consider anything you find on the floor, on the street, or between sofa cushions as meant to be a donation to TRF. Collect the money in a jar or piggy bank until year-end, then donate what you have picked up for the Foundation.

Just one cup less each week—You’ve heard this suggestion before. If you skipped buying a latte or cappuccino at Starbucks or Second Cup just once a week, you would have an extra $5 per week to do good. By year-end, that would add up to $250 or more that you could donate to TRF. Can’t kick your daily caffeine fix? Okay, let’s approach this differently. How about every time you buy your favourite drink, you set aside a dollar for TRF? That way you will enjoy your beverage, while still making a significant donation to the Foundation.

Return your empties—This one’s simple. Donate what you receive from the bottle depot to TRF.

Pay your fine to TRF—How much do you expect to be fined at each meeting? What if you go to the meeting and the Sergeant-at-Arms ignores you? Donate what you expected to be fined to TRF. And if you were fined, how about matching the fine with a donation to TRF?

Leftover foreign currency—Spent fewer euros, pounds or US dollars than you expected to spend on your last vacation trip? Exchange them for Canadian dollars, which you can then donate to TRF.

Share your lottery winnings—Won 649 or a 50/50 draw recently? Share your good fortune with TRF by donating 10 percent of what you won. (Sorry,  but TRF won’t cover your losses.)

Environmentally friendly shopping—Part of being environmentally friendly is using reusable shopping bags when grocery shopping, but sometimes we forget. Every time you say yes to plastic bags, drop a quarter per bag into your TRF bank. 

Bring your own mug—Most coffee shops offer a discount (10 to 25 cents) when you bring a refillable mug. Donate what you save to TRF. You will be helping the Foundation do its work, while also reducing the number of takeaway cups destined for the landfill.

TRF yard sale—Share the proceeds of your next garage or yard sale with TRF. Your “customers” may buy more if you tell them that you will be donating money to support TRF’s six areas of focus: disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, economic and community development, and peace and conflict prevention/resolution.

That’s our list. What about yours? How else can Rotarians decide what to donate? What other fun ways can you suggest to determine how much you will donate to TRF? Leave your suggestions in the comment section below.

District grants have assisted clubs implement projects, which relate to The Rotary Foundation’s six areas of focus

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Since 2016-17, Rotary clubs in our District have shared $320,000 in District grants, due to the generosity of Rotarians who donated to The Rotary Foundation Annual Fund, three years earlier.

Clubs received a total of $111,000 in 2016-17, $100,000 in 2017-18 and $109,000 this year.

The funds were distributed in response to proposals submitted the District Foundation Committee. For each grant received from the Committee, clubs committed to invest at least as much to projects or scholarships from their own funds.

Clubs use this money for their service projects and scholarships for university and high school students, and support attendance at District youth services programs, such as the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, Rotary Youth Leadership Experience, and Rotary Youth Program of Enrichment (RYLA, RYLE and RYPEN).

The list of service projects supported by these grants provides insight into the scope of what Rotary clubs do to make a difference, both internationally and locally.

Projects receiving grants helped educate children in developing countries, support literacy programs, feed individuals and families in need, provide emergency shelter, improve access to clean drinking water and support tree-planning initiatives.

All these projects fit into at least one of TRF’s six areas of focus: disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, economic and community development, and peace and conflict prevention/resolution.

The amount available to the District is based on contributions to the annual fund of TRF. For every dollar donated to TRF, the District receives 50 cents three years later. 

Half of the funds that the District receives are available for grants and scholarships, and the other half is used to support Global Grants the clubs receive from TRF.

During the current Rotary year, 39 of the District’s 57 clubs received grants of $95,000 for projects and $13,000 for scholarships. Clubs plan to spend about two-thirds of the money they received on projects and scholarships in Canada and the balance on international projects.

Due to volume of requests, the District Grant Subcommittee, chaired by Wayne McCutcheon (RC of St. Albert) had to reduce the size of 2018-19 project grants from $3,500 in previous years to $3,019. The District Scholarship Committee, headed by Dean Wood (RC of Edmonton Riverview) reduced the value of each scholarship from $650 to $559.

“The District grants went down this year because Rotarians did not contribute enough to TRF,” says Wayne Kauffman (RC of Edmonton Riverview), who is the TRF chair for District 5370.

“The more Rotarians contribute to the annual fund, the more money we will have available for grants.”

Click here to donate to The Rotary Foundation.

A list of grants and scholarships for 2018-19 will be added to the District website after clubs have completed reports required by TRF.

The lists of 2016-17 and 2017-18 projects and scholarships are now available on the website.

Information about how and when to apply for 2019-20 grants will be announced early in 2019.

Tracey Vavrek well into preparation for her year as District Governor

 

On July 1, the floodgates opened for Tracey Vavrek (RC of Grande Prairie After Five). That’s the day she stepped into the role of District Governor-Elect for Rotary District 5370.

Tracey had been busy as District Governor Nominee, but now her to-do list has grownTracey longer as she continues her preparations to succeed current DG Ingrid Neitsch, when the 2019-20 Rotary year begins on July 1, 2019.

“Once July 1 hit and my designation became District Governor-Elect, then there was a strong increase of communications from Rotary International and more responsibilities with Rotary International to complete certain tasks by certain times,” Tracey says.  “Also there were more responsibilities at the District level, including finalizing all of our training and planning for our conference.” 

The fall Leadership Assembly will be the first opportunity for Tracey to meet and work with the Rotarians who will serve as presidents of their clubs during 2019-20.

“We have scheduled things a little differently for this year,” she says. Rather than having all the Presidents-Elect come together at one location, this fall’s assembly will consist of two “pods.” The first will be held on Saturday, November 3, at the Delta South Hotel in Edmonton. 

Two weeks later, on November 17, another session will be held in Grande Prairie, at the Holiday Inn and Suites.

“We have chosen two locations because we have a very large geographical area for our District,” Tracey says.

While Presidents-Elect are expected to attend, both pods are open to all Rotarians.

“Our goal is to inspire our current Presidents-Elect, who will be taking on their role as of July 1, and also to inspire other current leaders or future leaders within their clubs. We are hoping with the two locations we will be making it easier for members to participate,” Tracey says.

In preparing for the Leadership Assembly, Tracey has been working closely with District trainer Donna Barrett (RC of Edmonton Sunrise), who says the purpose of this training is “to build a greater understanding of all that Rotary does across the District. We will be continuing the work done last year on building vibrant clubs.”

When planning for these days, Donna and her committee asked themselves, “How can people be inspired by the great things Rotary does?”

The answer is short, tightly facilitated sessions that will focus on youth services, Rotary’s partnerships with other organizations, membership, peace building and The Rotary Foundation.

One session will help participants, “understand what Rotary does to encourage youth leadership,” Donna says. “We will also showcase powerful ways the District is involved in projects, such as the Employment partnership with Inclusion Alberta.”

During another session, participants will look at membership trends. “This will be an opportunity to reflect on their clubs’ successes and challenges and learn from other clubs.”

Another area of focus for the day will be The Rotary Foundation. “This will be an opportunity for people to discover the power of TRF to support work of Rotarians.”

Donna emphasizes that all Rotarians are welcome to register for one of the pods. The cost is only $150, which includes breakfast and lunch. Presidents-Elect can attend for free.

Click here to register.

A second District Leadership Assembly for incoming club leaders and other Rotarians will be held next spring, on March 8 and 9, at the Chateau Louis Conference Centre in Edmonton.

RI preparation for DGEs takes two years

Preparing to become District Governor is a two-year process, which began for Tracey in 2017-18 as District Governor Nominee. She spent much of that year asking questions and listening to what past district governors and other Rotarians were saying.  

“I asked questions of past District Governors about what were their toughest lessons, what were their experiences, what could they share of their thoughts and ideas (for me) to consider going forward. I also asked many other people, not just past District Governors, what’s your dream for our District, what’s your dream for Rotary, what’s your dream for being a member?” Tracey says.

At the fall 2017 Zone Institute in Harford, Connecticut, she had the opportunity to meet and work with all her “classmates” from Zones 24 and 32, for the first time.

“As the District Governor Nominee, they take you through starting to understand what Rotary International is. They also push the District Governor Nominees to really dive deeper into the District level, so we have a basic understanding of our responsibilities at the District level, who’s involved, what the District committees do, and how does that align with Rotary International.”

A year later, Tracey and her classmates were together again, this time in Montreal, for what has now become the Zones 24 and 32 Conference. 

“The sessions I attended were specifically on what District Governors do throughout the Rotary year. We were provided with our District Governor workbook and tasked in advance to review it and bring all our questions. We went through all the responsibilities, from what we have to report to RI, what we need to complete for RI, what our responsibilities are, and how we are going to lead our Districts, how we are going to engage and inspire our clubs and our members.

The final stage of Tracey’s preparation will occur at the International Assembly, which will be held in January 2019 in San Diego.

“We will be meeting with all 550 District Governors-Elect from around the world and we will be working with our President-Elect, Mark Maloney,” Tracey says. “We will also be working with Mark on his vision for the future of Rotary.” 

Registration now open for 2019 District 5370 Conference

An important part of preparing for one’s year as District Governor is planning for the next District Conference, which will be held October 3 to 5, 2019, in Grande Prairie.

Screen Shot 2018-10-23 at 11.19.17 PM“We are calling our conference, ‘People of Action,’” Tracey says. “We are people of action and we are ready to make a difference.”

A different approach is being taken related to planning, including involving the “whole community” in hosting the conference.

“What I mean by a whole community is that all our clubs will be involved,” Tracey says. “There are five clubs in Grande Prairie, including our Rotaract club, which are participating in organizing the District conference. The Grande Prairie Rotary clubs are excited to roll out the red carpet and welcome everyone to our great community and this celebration of Rotary.”

Another unique feature of this conference is that the organizers are “inviting community citizens to participate and become part of it. We are also reaching out to former Rotarians, who we call our ‘roots of Rotary.’ We are saying, ‘come and celebrate this weekend and be part of the conference with us.’ ”

“We wanted to really reach out to them with a heartfelt invite to come and join us. Come be part of us this weekend. We are hoping to re-engage them.”

Register before November 30, 2018 to take advantage of the early-bird rate to save $50.

 

District Office now located in the Orange Hub

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District 5370 has a new home.

At the beginning of October, the District office moved to the Orange Hub, a building which previously housed the fine arts programs of MacEwan University.

The building at 10045 156 Street NW is now owned by the City of Edmonton, which describes it on its website as “a centre for non-profit groups that offer programs and services in the arts, recreation, wellness and learning.” 

The District Office is located in room 402.

Prior to the move, the District rented from the Boys and Girls Club, which will be moving its offices into the space vacated by the District.

Donna Nicoll (RC of Edmonton Northeast), who as the District’s administration chair co-ordinated the move, is pleased with the new office space.

“It is bright and clean,” she says. “The staff at the Orange Hub have been great to work with.”

Preparing for the move involved sorting through material accumulated over 10 years in the previous location.

“As with all moves, there was way more stuff in those cupboards than we ever expected there to be,” Donna says. “We purged and purged and purged.”

Donna arranged for the space to be painted and new carpet installed before furniture was moved in.

“We brought over a few things, such as the boardroom table and chairs,” Donna says. The District also purchased a few pieces of furniture, but benefited from the university’s decision to leave furniture in the space, which formerly was occupied by the dean’s office.

“This saved us thousands of dollars,” Donna says.

Office manager Rene Cavanagh, who is also a member of the Rotary Club of Edmonton, feels her new work space is “fabulous.”

She says, “I’m excited about being here. It’s a better working atmosphere. More professional.”

Rene believes there are many positives resulting from the move. Being in the Orange Hub will raise the profile of Rotary. “There seem to be some key non-profit groups here.”

She also will never find herself the only person working in the building, as was the case at times in the previous location. 

“I have been able to meet some of the other tenants in the building,” she says. Many of these people will be in the building every day.

Another advantage of being in the Orange Hub is that office is now accessible to all. An elevator is located just outside the District office.

It’s now easier to travel to the office, too. The building is on or near several city bus routes and eventually the west extension of the Valley LRT line will pass by the building.

There’s lots of parking, both for free on the street and paid in a parkade.