[Editor's note: The following was submitted by staff writers of the Rotary Club of San Carlos.]
The San Carlos Rotary Endowment Fund, created in 1998-1999 under the leadership of local attorney and then- Club President Cameron Miller, was funded with a $10,000 contribution from the Rotary Club. Over these past nearly 15 years, with generous contributions from Rotary members, including several generous gifts left in members’ estates; and with prudent investing under the guidance of the Fund’s Financial Officer Roberto Barone, the Endowment recently eclipsed $800,000.
“Back when it was established with a $10,000 check from the parent Rotary Club, setting a goal of $1 million seemed to be only a dream,” said Cameron Miller. “Today, we are now more than three quarters of the way to reaching that goal; and Rotary will have an even greater impact on the San Carlos community.”
The Rotary Club of San Carlos, a stalwart service organization in the City of Good Living since 1949, has over the years purchased needed items for the police and fire departments, youths, seniors, and other entities to the direct benefit of individuals and community organizations.
For over 65 years, Rotarians have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to those most deserving and those with the most dire needs in the San Carlos community. All of these donated funds were raised through various Rotary fundraisers.
The San Carlos Rotary Club Endowment is a subsidiary of Rotary’s Community Services, Inc., the fundraising arm of the parent club, The Endowment Fund is a 501 c 3 charitable corporation.
“Over these years, despite the cyclical nature of the stock and bond market, we have been able to grow the fund,” said Barone, an independent registered representative, who has invested the Endowment’s funds with Brinker Capital.
With this substantial Endowment Fund, the Rotary Club of San Carlos has even greater giving ability, drawing from the previous years’ income, while allowing the Fund to grow towards the originally set goal of $1 million.
As a result of its healthy growth and net income over the past several years, the Endowment Fund has supplemented Community Services, Inc. the Rotary Club’s fundraising and giving entity, with $25,000 of additional scholarship funds paid out to deserving students. CSI annually contributes approximately $20,000 to student scholars from monies raised through its three primary fundraisers: the Pancake Breakfast and 5K/10K Fun Run, held in conjunction with San Carlos Hometown Days at Burton Park each spring; and a gala event held in late winter.
Nearly a decade ago, the Rotary Club of San Carlos became the driving force in the construction of the Youth Center built in the heart of Burton Park. The massive undertaking could not have been achieved had it not been for the City and Rotary working closely together, along with numerous San Carlos contractors, who generously donated time and materials to make this the signature building in the park located in the center of town.
“We see the Endowment as a community fund that has tremendous potential to serve the community now and a long time into the future,” says original Endowment member and secretary, attorney Mark Schiavenza, who has been a San Carlos Rotarian for two decades. “We encourage non-Rotarians and all San Carlos residents to consider becoming part of the Endowment Fund through cash contributions which will enable the Endowment to further fulfill the growing needs within our community.”
“As a Rotarian since 2000, I realize each day how much we’ve accomplished; and how much more we can do in the community,” said local realtor Steve Eldridge. “Two major examples of the demanding need for assistance to residents are the San Carlos Service Club for Seniors (SCSCS) based at the Adult Community Center; and the Second Harvest Food Bank, both organizations in which the Rotary Club of San Carlos is very actively involved.
“We live in an affluent city measured by any standard, yet there are citizens who will go to sleep tonight without a meal; some without a bed. The Rotary Club of San Carlos can give support to those in need, both locally and throughout the world, and does so continuously,” said Eldridge.
The newest member of the Endowment Board, Philip Shecter, practices law in San Carlos and has been a member of Rotary since 1980. “I am impressed with what the Endowment has accomplished in less than 15 years. There is tremendous potential to provide even greater assistance to the needs of our city. The Endowment Fund puts the Rotary Club into position to make an even greater impact.”
Rotary International (RI) is a world-wide organization with over 1.2 million members in over 34,000 clubs spread out over 180 countries. Founded in 1906, Rotary International will likely be most recognized for its efforts to wipe out polio from the planet. This colossal effort began in the mid-1980s and the latest prediction is that this dreaded, permanently-crippling disease will be eradicated by 2016.
To date, over 2 billion drops of vaccine have been administered. Billions of dollars have gone into the vaccination of children throughout the world—all accomplished in conjunction with the United Nations’ World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Rotary International. The goal is clearly within sight for those awaiting the disease’s demise.
As Endowment Board member and local artist Phyllis DuBois commented: “When mentioning the word polio to young people today, it’s rewarding to hear them say that they have no idea what I’m talking about.
“That tells me our nearly three-decade-long effort is going to be 100% successful—something no one could have imagined back in the 1980s when the effort to eradicate first began. When people in the world’s poorest and remotest countries do not know about polio, we will have succeeded in a truly international effort.”
“The Rotary Club is committed to provide enhanced educational opportunities for youth, as well as for other community residents of San Carlos,” quoted Mark Schiavenza from the Club’s by-laws. “The purpose of the Endowment is to distribute funds for educationally enriched programs and activities directly benefiting the development of San Carlos youth and others,” he continued.
Cameron Miller expressed it well. “I joined Rotary the year the PolioPlus campaign began, and I don’t think anyone, including the leadership at Rotary International, could have imagined the magnitude of this undertaking, the amount of money it would cost, the uncountable volunteer hours by dedicated members and volunteers, and the length of time it would take to accomplish this mission.
“Over these past three decades Rotary Clubs throughout the world have joined forces for both local and international projects while at the same time dauntlessly working to rid the world of polio. Simply put, Rotary will not stop until there are no more new polio cases anywhere in the world,” he said.
Said Terry Wilson, a Club member for a quarter century and past Rotary Club President and Board Member who has served on the Endowment Board since its inception, “It is the giant footprint left on the world by Rotarians…where one foot left a first step, and as many as 1.2 million others willingly followed that makes me so proud of what this world-wide organization can and has accomplished.
“With the Endowment, a new, albeit smaller, footprint is being made in San Carlos. The call now goes out to interested citizens and other non-Rotarians to join in the effort of contributing to the Endowment to meet its lofty goal of $1 million. It will clearly pay dividends for the City’s youth in the future,” said Wilson.
Those wishing to become involved should contact the Rotary Club of San Carlos by visiting its website at sancarlosrotary.org; sancarlosrotary.org; or leave a phone message at 650-594-5150. The Rotary Club of San Carlos meets for lunch every Friday from 12:15-1:30 p.m. at Piacere’s Restaurant, 727 Laurel Street.