I think we can all agree that this is not a normal Rotary year.  We can’t simply “do what we did last year but a little better”.  As a result of the restrictions caused by the pandemic, we struggle to remain cohesive and we struggle to remain relevant.  Zoom meetings helped keep us together but they aren’t a substitute for live meetings and attracting new members.  We have started up live meetings under the pavilion at Van Horne Park with a Zoom option and we are also starting up booking speakers for our meetings with the limitation that we can’t do PowerPoint presentations and the like.  We still don’t have any word from Cherry Valley Country Club as to when we will be able to get back there for weekly meetings.  Van Horne Park works fine for now but probably won’t be viable much past early Fall.  So there’s that.
As for relevance, the Grab & Go Project kept our club very relevant through the worst part of the pandemic.  But now going forward we must maintain our relevance to the community and to the world at large.   The Club board voted at its last board meeting to set this year’s Giving Budget equal to that of last year and requested our club’s Foundation board to fund this amount out of the money in our investment funds.  The idea being that a sizable chunk of this money has been saved up for a rainy day and it’s raining. 

The problem is that the forecast calls for more rain.  It’s by no means evident that we will be back to “business as usual” for next year (e.g. if there isn’t a Run With Rotary in 2021).  And unlike the federal government, our Rotary club cannot just print money (if it can, Tony never showed me where the printing press is kept).  The money we raise during this Rotary year (ending in 6/30/21) goes to fund the Giving Budget for the next Rotary year.  We simply cannot sit back and do nothing and expect to draw all the Giving Budget monies from the Foundation investment accounts again for next year.

So we need to act (remember the Rotary tag line “People of Action”).  First, the Flags For Heroes project under the leadership of Josh “Nostradamus” Turner is up and running.  But we need your help in promoting it and selling flag sponsorships.  We are asking all our Club Rotarians to make a strong effort at selling these sponsorships.  Josh and the committee are working on providing you materials to help reach out to your contacts.

Now for the part where you will need your thinking caps…

Since there will be no Montgomery FunFest, no Funnel Cakes sales at the 4-H Fair and, possibly, no Run With Rotary next spring, we need to create a new fundraiser - something we can pull off in this COVID-19 environment that will bring in a significant amount of money that coupled with the money raised from Flags For Heroes will allow us to have a Giving Budget next year as large as this year without having to significantly tap into the principal in our foundation investment accounts the way we are this year.

At this Thursday’s meeting in Van Horne Park, in lieu of a speaker, we will be devoting the meeting to brainstorming ideas for a new fundraiser.  The goal is not to have anything fully flushed out but maybe generate a few ideas that can be discussed further over the next few weeks. So please put your thinking caps on and come out to Van Horne Park this Thursday morning.  And wear your masks - bonus points to Rotarians who coordinate their masks with their thinking caps.
Rotarically Yours,
Zoltan Nagy
Rotary Club of Montgomery/Rocky Hill (NJ)