Driving Social Change at the Rotary Club of Beloit

 

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By Marina I. Jokic  (link to original article)

The Beloit Rotary Club in Beloit, Wisconsin has been an integral part of the local community since its founding in 1919. Until the 1980's, the club largely supported local charities through financial donations such as its support for eradicating polio, for example.

Later on, they took on more hands-on projects and increased their involvement with a myriad causes. Current President William Beckley is proud to serve the Beloit Rotary Club, which has sixty-five members today.

 

The club's members meet each Tuesday to discuss the ambitious current and future projects. For instance, recently they have arranged to provide funding for the drilling of a well that ensures clean drinking water for an entire village in Haiti.

The scope, cost, and member involvement vary, but the club strives to choose their work so as to make the highest possible impact. "We are looking to get involved with a local community project and will be seeking input from our citizens to assess the most pressing needs and priorities," says Beckley.

Beckley is a retired educator and has been with Beloit Rotary for the last twelve years. A veteran of the club, he is dedicated to creating a strategic plan that will help raise the club's visibility, increase its membership significantly, and set clear financial goals and priorities. In the vast landscape of social work, one has to frequently make the difficult choice of passing on certain projects in favor of others. Beckley emphasizes that setting priorities is a critical part of his job, and quite challenging.

Everyone is welcome to apply for membership and attend a rotary meeting to learn about their work. In fact, attracting new members is a primary goal for the club, Beckley says. Growing their membership allows the club to increase their intellectual capital, volunteer force, and financial capabilities.

Another major achievement by the club is its work with Kids Against Hunger. More specifically, Kids Against Hunger has been the signature project of Beloit Rotary Club since 2008, raising and donating over $10,000 to this world-wide project to eradicate hunger throughout the world.

In 2010, an event took place to push the project forward?Impact Africa was held at Beloit Memorial High School and volunteers packaged 285,000 meals destined for Cameroon, Africa.

The club has been a tremendous force in supporting important social work, both financially and logistically. Not only are they involved in local community projects, but they have also reinforced the global work that Rotary International.