A few years ago, a picture went “viral” on Facebook showing a pair of sneakers.  Some clearly saw the sneakers as being pink and white while others swore that the colors were teal and gray.  Despite it being somewhat trivial, the issue was hotly debated around the globe as people could not understand how other people could not see it as they see it.   This example popped into my mind as over the last week as the topic of “impact” arose in several different Rotary conversations as it relates to the impact our club’s charitable giving has on individuals, our community, and the world.
It came up during a meeting I had with our club’s Foundation board.  Several of the Foundation board members made strong arguments as to why they think we need to increase our impact by making higher donation amounts to fewer charities in our annual Giving Budget.  A few days later at our club’s board meeting, several of our board members viewed impact as reaching as many charities as we could with our Giving Budget even if it weren’t large amounts of money per charity in an effort to increase our reach.
I must admit I see merit in both sides of the argument and for this I am glad that this is not my decision alone to make.  For example, I do take pride in the fact that our club raised enough money to buy a mobile food truck for SHIP last year (and our club’s name is on the side of the truck!).  Yet, one of the reasons I enjoy Rotary so much is that we aren’t tied to any specific charity or cause and have an opportunity to work and learn about a great variety of them.  So, are things fine the way they are, or do we need to reevaluate our approach with respect to the Giving Budget?
The club Board will begin working on which charities to include in this year’s Giving Budget in September and the final vote will take place during the November Board meeting.  If you are not on the Board, your participation is not only welcome but strongly encouraged.   For reference, you can find last year’s Giving Budget on our website under About Us and then scroll down to Private Documents (note, only club members who are logged in can view this document).

Last year under President Tony Parziale’s leadership we did make a strong effort to take a hard look at which charities to include and not just merely carry over the same list from the year before.   We focus on charities whose missions are aligned with Rotary’s Six Areas of Focus:
  • Peace and conflict prevention/resolution.
  • Disease prevention and treatment.
  • Water and sanitation.
  • Maternal and child health.
  • Basic education and literacy.
  • Economic and community development.
But It’s hard.  There are many worthy charities including some local ones that have taken the time and effort to speak to our club at one of our meetings.  There are many worthy charities that individual Rotarians have a connection with and strongly believe in.  And this year even more than ever, the need is so great.  In short, it’s hard to say no.
Because as a Rotary club of just under 40 people, the Rotary Club of Montgomery/Rocky Hill can’t solve all the world’s problems.  But we can make an impact. 
Rotarically Yours,
Zoltan Nagy
Rotary Club of Montgomery/Rocky Hill (NJ)