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Rotarians paying it forward

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GREENFIELD — Greenfield’s two Rotary Clubs have raised a pot of cash they want distribute to local humanitarian and charitable organizations’ operating accounts this summer.

Rotary Club of Greenfield and Rotary Club of Greenfield Sunrise brought in just under $26,000 in net proceeds from their second annual Steak’n, Bake’n raffle and dinner in October, and now the clubs are encouraging Hancock County for-profit and non-profit groups to submit applications for grants that will range from $1,000 to $4,000 per organization for their operational expenses, said event co-chair Dave Anders.

In their first outing, the clubs raised some $18,000 for local service organizations. With a matching grant from Hancock County Community Foundation, the effort helped 14 groups in Hancock County with their operating expenses for the year.

Applications are now available at the club’s website and must be submitted by March 15, Anders said.

The club anticipates making the grant awards by May 1.

The help with day-to-day operating expenses cannot be overestimated in importance, said Denise Arland, executive director of Families United for Support and Encouragement.

“For us, one of the most challenging things is raising money for parent-to-parent support,” said Arland, whose organization supports families of children with special needs. “Answering their emails, answering their phone calls, being here to conduct one-on-one meetings; people love to support our programs, but sometimes they don’t realize how important the day-to-day operation is.”

In addition to programming, grant guidelines stipulate that the awards cannot be used for capital projects, employee travel or employee education or seminars.

Additionally, organizations that have received Rotary grants in the three preceding years will be ineligible for this year’s Steak’n, Bake’n awards cycle, Anders said.

“The reason we do that is so no one organization relies totally on Rotary to operate, and to spread the funds around,” he said.

One such organization that will not be able to request a grant this year is Hancock County Senior Services, which has received Rotary grants in each of the previous three years.

“That’s good,” said executive director Linda Hart. “This way, everyone gets to participate; everyone has a worthy cause, and I admire (Rotary) for that.”

Hart agreed bolstering operational budgets is critical for local agencies and service groups, especially this winter with the added expense of increased utilities and snow plowing.

“Programming is extremely important, but you can’t help anybody if you can’t keep the doors open,” Hart said.

All money raised at the raffle remains in Hancock County, and Anders encouraged local organizations to apply.

“So far, we’ve only had three applications, so we would love to get the word out,” he said.

To download an application or for more information, go to the Rotary Club’s website at www.rotaryclubgreenfield.org or contact Anders by phone at (317) 462-6506 or Rotary committee co-chair Mike Low at (317) 467-2228.

Interested organizations must submit their completed applications by mail to Rotary Club of Greenfield, Attention: Dave Anders, P.O. Box 1, Greenfield, IN 46140 or by email at dave@andersagency.com.

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