Wonder where all those AED defibrillators on the island came from? Where Winslow’s welcoming plaza, The Waypoint, got its seed money? Who provides all those people in orange vests helping trick or treaters cross the streets downtown on Halloween? How the Fort Ward Community Hall restoration was funded?
The answer is simple: Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island, the Chamber member currently featured in our window spotlight space on Winslow Way.
Formed in 1947, the club has an impressive history, with an ever-expanding list of projects, activities and partnerships.
Among them are:
- Large Grants to fund the creation or upgrade of a number of island parks and the Kids Up playground
- Purchase of the community portable concert stage for the park district
- Community grants to local non-profit organizations
- Scholarships for Bainbridge students
- Emergency Preparedness – at the neighborhood and whole community level, active support and participation in COVID vaccination clinics on Bainbridge
- Youth Grants – including sponsorship of the new WorkReady internship program in partnership with Bainbridge Youth Services and the Bainbridge Island Chamber
- International humanitarian projects in Uganda, Tanzania,Kenya, Nepal, Guatemala, Yemen, India and Bangladesh, and recently, relief for Ukraine
Most of the long list of projects and partnerships happen quietly behind the scenes – except, of course, for the annual Auction and Rummage Sale. Hailed as the largest event of its kind on earth, the Rotary Auction taps the energy of all the 100+ members as well as around 1,400 volunteers to power the community engine behind all those good works.
The first auction was held on August 22, 1960 and raised $5,663.15 toward the construction of the Bainbridge Island Public Library. Only a few years ago the six-hour sale raised over $600,000.
This year, the record was once again broken with a new highest total of $729,386.66!
Of that amount, every penny goes to grants and projects in the community and around the globe – the club’s own expenses are entirely covered by its membership.
For more, check out the Rotary display in the Chamber’s front window at 395 Winslow Way E, and find out more about all the things they’re involved in.