Club News
As we recognize education week, Dianne Spencer was very pleased to introduce the guest speaker at Rotary Club of Belleville, Mark Kirkpatrick, President and CEO of Loyalist College.  Mark joined the Loyalist team in 2005 as Director of Information Technology after working in manufacturing, insurance and financial service sectors.  In this role, Mark modernized the College's Information Technology Department and implemented a campus wide IT infrastructure to innovate and bring change across the college.  As Director of Facilities and then Senior Director of Infrastructure, Mark played a key role in planning the redevelopment of the campus inside and out.  In 2020 he joined the senior leadership team as Senior VP Corporate Services and CFO.  During the pandemic, Mark led the work at Loyalist to open the college facilities to accommodate COVID vaccinations for 50,000 individuals, people from our communities.  Mark became the 6th President and CEO of Loyalist College in March 2023.  Since then the changes at Loyalist have continued and they are remarkable, but it's not just about buildings.  It's about people and programs.  Loyalist is 47 years young this year and continues to provide opportunities for people of all ages to learn, grow and discover new pathways to develop their careers.  Mark Kirkpatrick has been an integral part of that over the past two decades and we look forward to hearing about what's going on today and what is next.
Mark Kirkpatrick's power point was entitled Loyalist College Moving Forward and Mark started off by sharing numbers.  Gross Revenue FY 23/24 $172 million.  Capital Investment FY 23/24 $40 million.  Number of employees 1000+.  Economic Impact Study for FY 21/22 on the region is $433.3 million, representing about 5,579 jobs supported or 3.6% of regional GDP.  Student spending in the region added $11.5 million in economic benefit.  Of this, $6.5 million is attributable to international students.  Over 7,000 students are enrolled across all locations and students are from over 40 different countries.  Port Hope campus is 21,500 sq. ft and Belleville campus is 750,000 sq. ft with over 600 residence beds (and more to come).  Loyalist College serves the communities of Lennox & Addington, Hastings, Prince Edward and Northumberland Counties with locations in Tyendinaga, Belleville, Bancroft, Port Hope and Toronto.
Loyalist College believes every student in our community has the right to a first class post-secondary education in a first class facility taught by first class faculty with first class services and without the need to travel to a major city.  Every business deserves access to first class workforce development and applied research opportunities to expand their operations.  This support should come from a post secondary institution within their communities, one that understands their unique needs because the college is here.
Mark spoke about the Community Speaker Series introduced at the College.  For $10 people can hear well-known speakers on a variety of interesting topics and the events are sold out!  Community Integration is partnering with local organizations such as the Belleville Senators, the Santa Claus Parade, cultural events on campus and in the community, military connections, working with local industries to upskill and teach skills to enhance local opportunities to expand, research with local business to help support the needs in the community, introducing an RN program so that students who train here will stay here.  Program such as Elevate Plus are available to people who need help to enter the workforce, teaching them jobs skills that guarantee job prospects.  This year donor-supported bursaries and scholarships were given to 435 students with a value of $601,760, last year 217 students received awards with a value of $347,825.
The campus is evolving with a new outdoor facade and gym, academic teams, a new Spa (Unwind), Maker Space and a new Health and Wellness space, culinary updates, Nourish Restaurant.  All in all, Mark bragged about having a great job and we can see why!  Mark was thanked by Rotarian Cristina Cadavid, a proud Loyalist College grad (pictured here with Mark Kirkpatrick).
On May 4th the City of Belleville Green Task Force and its partners Rotary Loves Trees and Quinte Conservation hosted Community Trees 2024.  At this event, 2,000 tree seedlings were provided free of charge to some 400 Belleville residents eager to plant trees to beautify their properties and help protect and improve the environment.  This annual event has become very popular and well attended each year.  Pictured here are Rotarians Michael Stiff and Carmela Ruberto.
Past President Kelly McKinney was pleased to introduce his older brother Kim to the lunch meeting of the Rotary Club of Belleville.  Who is Kim McKinney you ask?  From a family of seven children, it was sometimes difficult to tell everyone apart, especially Kim and Tim who are identical twins.  But Kelly described Kim as being kind, an adventurer and leader, distinguished and wise.  We got a sense of competitiveness in the family and a great sense of humour.
Kim has attended a lot of meetings and events in the past year that he described as an amazing year, getting involved in many aspects of Rotary.  Rotary is about Service Above Self and bringing a diverse background of people together to work on projects and initiatives that improve life for others.  He has been involved in Rotary tree planting, Camp Merrywood and Porchfest.  Kim was impressed with the budget process for the Club and the professional way the finances were addressed by the committee.  He is sure that the Rotary Club of Belleville is in good hands.  Kim passed around a family book that was done ten years ago, an amazing piece of history to put together.  Kim's mom is 89 and living at Quinte Gardens, well blessed with visits from her 7 children and 21 grandchildren.  She is getting great care there and doing well.  Kim and his wife Nancy have three children, all studying in their chosen fields of environmental studies and industrial design.  The family lived in Oakville, but returned to Belleville in 2020, expedited by COVID and having to adapt to new ways of marketing and doing business. 
We were entertained by a remote interview Kim set up with Mr. Chat, providing information on the real estate business or what could be interpreted as annoying real estate terms when it comes to listing a piece of property.  Unique could mean difficult to sell.  Cozy could mean small or cramped.  Charming, outdated or in need of serious renovations.  Nestled could mean a secluded location or a location next to a noisy construction site.  All in good fun! 
Past President Sam Brady thanked Kim for an engaging classification talk and for all that he does in the community.  We are indeed fortunate to have the McKinney family among us.
The Paul Harris Fellow recognition was established in 1956 and is named after Rotary's founder, Paul Harris, a Chicago lawyer who started Rotary International with three business associates in 1905.  A Paul Harris Fellow is the highest form of recognition that a Rotary Club can bestow on a Rotarian who has made outstanding contributions to the Club, community and the world.  It acknowledges individuals who make significant contributions to the Rotary Foundation and who share in the spirit of Service Above Self.  The Paul Harris recipient goes above and beyond.  Today, President Peter has the honour and pleasure of recognizing three incredible individuals from within the Rotary Club of Belleville who have done exactly that.  Pictured here with Garth Stephanson and Dave Albert
The Rotary Club of Belleville recognizes two Past Presidents for the anniversary of 50 years of Rotary service.
Past President Bob Burns joined Rotary in January 1973, a very fine year as it is the year that Sunderland AFC (as underdogs) went on to beat Leeds United and take the FA Cup.  This would be the very year that Bob Ord was President of our Club, a 60 year Paul Harris Fellow recognized earlier this year.  Bob Burns was the club's youngest President during the 1978-1979 Rotary Year just 5 years after joining Rotary. Bob said he met a lot of great friends through Rotary and admires the Club for all the work they do.  He made special mention of the Satellite evening meeting group as he was very involved.
Past President Garth Stephanson joined Rotary in January 1974 when Past President Kristin Crowe's father was President.  Some people may know that Garth and Bob were room mates at some point -- wouldn't you love to be a fly on that wall.  Garth followed Bob Burns as Club President the 1979-1980 year.  Garth was invited to join Rotary by Neil Britton who is here today as a thank you from Garth.  When Garth joined, he was surrounded by members older and wiser, but now 50 years later, recognizes and thanks all Rotarians for the work they do.
Dave Albert joined Rotary a few years later in 1987.  Best known over a lot of years, Dave has been and continues in a critical Club role as head cook and magical organizer in the infamous kitchen of Camp Merrywood.  Dave has faced some of the greatest challenges known to any Rotarian and that is teaching and turning the likes of Bernie Ouellet, Wayne Dewe and Doug Peterson into finely tuned cooking machines.  Every year they come up with nutritious and tasty meals for thousands of Belleville Rotarians over the years.  If you haven't tasted this fine food fare, Peter urges you to do so.  Dave said Rotary was always a family to him.  Camp Merrywood has grown over the years with a great group of people digging in and getting the work done every year.  He did point out that he has actually been demoted in the kitchen by Bernie and Wayne who have taken over.  Dave just goes with the flow.
Rotarian Yakov Sobolev introduced CEO Jill Raycroft of the Belleville Chamber of Commerce as the lunch speaker at the Rotary Club of Belleville.  With a combination of 20+ years in the post-secondary education sector and 30+ years volunteering for various causes, Jill brings a dynamic blend of experience and education to serving the community she loves and lives in.  Following a 17 year career at Loyalist College, going back to school for her MBA, raising two children, running for Mayor in 2014 and volunteering with numerous committees and organizations, she finally found her place in the community with the Belleville Chamber of Commerce in 2017.
The Chamber helps business prosper, connect and share.  Through the strength of the Chamber network across the country, organizations grow and prosper with membership being as diverse as the organizations who join.  The Chamber connects members to each other and the community, representing them at all levels of government, municipal, provincial and federal.  The Chamber shares the influence of their voice to impact change for the communities they serve.  The Chamber is celebrating 160 years in 2024, was accredited in 2020.  They are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, 15 in number, and operate by the Board Trade Act, Part II.
The membership is 500+ strong and is well balanced with professional services, building and renovation, shopping and specialty retail, food and drink, social services and not-for-profit, arts, entertainment and recreation, advertising, publishing and promotion, property sales, development and services, healthcare and many more.  The benefits of belonging include doing business with those they know and  trust as well as networking opportunities and information that keeps you up-to-date on Chamber events, member news and programs of interest.
2019 was the transformation year, re-branding, coming up with new ways to do things.  The plan was to reap the rewards in 2020, but then along came a pandemic and dollars were needed to support small business as it became evident how vital the businesses were and how important it was to recognize the people around the businesses.  The Annual President's Dinner became an opportunity to celebrate the members by presenting Cornerstone Awards, Life Achievement awards and presenting a Key To The Cabin, the Rotary Club of Belleville being the first, celebrating 100 years of working together on events such as the Waterfront Festival, Hometown Hockey, Santa Claus Parade, Family FUNfest and Touch-a-Truck.  Jill is looking forward to how the Chamber and Rotary might realign as partners with intention for the "betterment of the community" as it was resolved to do back in 1923.  Many thanks from Jill to Rotary for their audience, for always aspiring to do more and to look at avenues to stay connected in the future.
The 4th Annual Rotary ‘GREAT LAKES WATERSHED CLEANUP’ is fast approaching. On Saturday April 27, 2024, thousands of Rotarians & Non-Rotarians alike, on both sides of the Canadian and U.S. border will roll up their sleeves to collect refuse along the shoreline, and innumerable waterway tributaries to the Great Lakes basin. This is a great example of ‘ROTARY IN ACTION’ and brings considerable community attention to the importance of ‘ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY.’ Join us for our ‘ROTARY DAY OF SERVICE’ – All Welcome – Invite family, friends, and anyone else who would enjoy the event.
Locally, this year's event will be held on Saturday, April 27th from 10 a.m. to noon (rain date is May 4th).  Meet at East Zwick's Island Park on Mary Street (dog park parking lot).  All Rotarians and families are invited to take part in this amazing environmental initiative.  Please contact Samantha Reid, Rotarian at for more information.
Community Grants Chair, Rotarian Brenda Snider started her presentation by introducing the members of the Committee -- Tracey Vandervoort, Harold Brennan, Cassandra Bonn, Judy McKnight, Shannon Neely and Jared Bellemare. The process is fairly straight forward.  Organizations submit a grant application to the Rotary Club of Belleville, Community Grants Committee where it is reviewed and the Committee determines what is the greatest need in the community.  While the process is not complicated, the results are rewarding.  Over the last three years, $63,000 has been dispersed into the community as outlined below.
The Children's Safety Village provides students with a safety training program facilitated by the Belleville Police Service, Fire Prevention Office, Internet safety and St. John Ambulance as well as VIA rail train safety is offered.  The funds provided by Rotary support the transportation of students to and from the Village from the school.  The training is provided no charge.  Three Oaks Stage Two housing received funding to purchase playground equipment and toys.  To assist with rehabilitation of youth in conflict with the justice system, mentorship is provided through the PACT Program.  Rotarian Chris Finkle and his work crew purchased a 3D printer and offset the costs of making face shields for front-line workers to support programs and agencies in the community during those tough COVID days.
A weekly program is provided by Abigails Learning Centre in partnership with Belleville Quinte West Community Health Centre to help educate parents on parenting and other life skills as well as mental health support.  Training is also provided to pregnant or new mothers with child care offered while in class.  Funding was provided to the Strive to Thrive Care packages provided by the Children's Foundation for their virtual mental health program.  The Good Baby Box program is supported through Community Development Council Quinte and provides families access to formula and diapers at affordable costs.
Volunteer Information Quinte received funding to support the Community and Youth Program facilitator to provide presentations to Grade 10 students regarding volunteer opportunities, benefits and supports and career planning.  This builds youth self esteem and self worth, builds future leaders and offers youth the opportunity to develop skills and to network with others.  Popular Camp Molly assists with firefighting training for young females as an introduction to consider a career as a firefighter.  Big Brothers/Sisters facilitates a school mentoring program for children where they receive one on one matches with a volunteer and meet on school property, spending time reading, playing games, sharing stories where there is opportunity for the students to build self-esteem, self-worth and healthy relationships.  
We have heard (today also) about the Humane Society Rescue Readers program.  Check out the other story on the Literacy Committee.
Hospice Quinte received funding to support the 2nd Annual Caregivers Expo, bringing together all service providers for an event where families can attend and learn about programs and services offered for their loved ones, providing support for the caregivers as well as individuals and family members.  Music to our ears?  The Quinte Symphony received funding to assist with the 2023 Spring Concert.
And there you have it, all the hard work of the Community Grants Committee.
Rotary Club of Belleville
Rotary Clowns for Kids
Upcoming Events
Belleville Rotary Satellite Club
Rotary Loves Kids Golf 
Quinte Rotary Music Festival