Club News
Rotarian Melanie Cressman was honoured to introduce Brandi Hodge, Executive Director for the United Way.  Rotary's partnership in supporting United Way goes back 16 years, a partnership that makes sense since both organizations have mandates that make our community stronger in supporting people who may need a little extra help to reach their full potential.
Brandi's goal today was to make everyone aware of the work that the United Way does as an organization along with the impact that donors make on this community that we call home.  Brandi also wanted to bring to Rotary's attention the challenges that not-for-profit sector is facing and why the United Way campaign is more important than ever.  The social landscape has changed dramatically over the last few years.
United Way HPE is a community impact organization that means the community conditions are changed for the better through the work that is done, the partnerships that are formed and the funds that are raised.  United Way partners with hundreds of workplaces and thousands of individual donors each year to raise funds in an annual campaign and allocate those funds to not-for-profit charitable organizations in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties.  The United Way HPE is 100% local.  All of the money raised stays in the community and assists 52 agencies, 74 programs and almost 50,000 people that include over 7,000 seniors and 20,000 young people, children or youth.  27% of funding directly supports services to children and youth.  38% was allocated to agencies and programs that reduce poverty and move people from precariousness into possibility, including housing initiatives, food security programs and emergency funding.  35% goes to help build strong communities primarily serving local seniors, people with disabilities and women and children fleeing domestic violence.  The United Way is a significant part of the social safety net for families in our community who are hanging on, barely.  The United Way campaign is vital to the social infrastructure of our community.
In May 2022, the Ontario Nonprofit Network (ONN) engaged nonprofit Community Researchers to conduct a survey of Ontario nonprofit organizations with a focus on the period between April 2021 and March 2022 with respect to financial health, staffing and volunteers and general operations.  Some alarming results:
  • demand for nonprofit services is higher than ever before and not expected to slow down anytime soon
  • inflation is rapidly increasing costs while revenues decrease
  • nonprofits are experiencing a relentless HR crisis in recruitment and retention, causing programs and services to be scaled back
  • volunteers are not returning and sustainability of nonprofits depends on rebuilding volunteer connections
  • nonprofits are less optimistic about their financial stability
The survey results are alarming and reveal that as more and more Ontarians look to nonprofits for support, organizations are doing everything they can to keep doors open amidst the growing complexity of challenges and shifting economic and social conditions.  More importantly, nonprofits cannot continue to do so indefinitely.  Locally, the United Way HPE has very difficult decisions ahead as more than $500,000 in requests were received than what was available to allocate last year.  The message -- it is so important that we stand united so we can build a community where everyone has access to the services they need, when they need them.  Through the Maurice and Marilyn Rollins Foundation and the Friends and Leaders Challenge, new donations at the leadership level of $1,200 or more will be matched dollar for dollar, new donations at the friend level of $500 or more will be matched at 50%.  United Way is committed and promises to put donated dollars to work in the most effective way possible.  When we stand united we are stronger and our collective voice is amplified and we have the power to change the world around us.  When we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all.
Rotarian Carmela Ruberto thanked Brandi for sharing her compassion of others and to work alongside other organizations such as Hastings County to make a difference.
Each year since 2008, the Rotary Club of Belleville has been nominating and presenting Paul Harris Fellowships to community members.  Each recipient is nominated by a Rotarian for their outstanding contribution to the community and their demonstration of Rotary's motto of Service Above Self.  A Paul Harris Fellowship is one of the highest honours a Club can bestow on a member or on an individual in the community.  This evening's recipients are joining a rather exclusive circle which includes such world figures as Mother Teresa, U.S. President Jimmy Carter, UN Secretary General Javier Perex de Cuellar and so on.  Honoured recipients were Mark Hopper (nominated by Past President Kristin Crowe), Leah Johnson (nominated by Past President Tracy Bray) and Liz Lehtinen (nominated by Cassandra Bonn).  Master of Ceremonies and Past President Tim McKinney presented each with a Paul Harris pin and certificate of recognition.  Pictured L to R are recipient Liz Lehtinen and nominator Cassandra Bonn, recipient Leah Johnson and nominator Tracy Bray, recipient Mark Hopper and nominator Kristin Crowe and MC Tim McKinney.
Cassandra Bonn was honoured to nominate and present the Paul Harris Community Award to Liz Lehtinen, a person in our community who lives up to this prestigious award.  Liz's compassion for helping people, in particular youth in need, is truly inspiring.  Since moving to Quinte in 2006 with her family, Liz quickly made it her mission to give back to the community, first as a supply teacher and Parent Council, helping with many fundraising activities to raise $100,000 to build a new playground at Sir John A. MacDonald school.  From there, Liz, through her own serious health issues, connected with the Belleville General Hospital Foundation.  She learned that equipment such as an MRI machine was paid for by donors without government assistance so Liz made it her personal mission to raise funds to help fund an MRI machine at BGH.  She was chosen as the BGH Foundation Christmas Angel in 2015 and served on their Gala Committee for six years.  Liz serves on the Strong Kids Committee and was campaign chair in 2021.  Currently the Board Chair of the Children's Foundation, Liz has been instrumental in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for kids and youth in need in our community.  Her leadership, empathy and passion are infectious.  Liz has been recognized with a YMCA Peace Award along with her husband Eric in 2019, an Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser by the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2020 and in 2021, Liz was honoured as a Community Mental Health Champion with the Connie Carson Community Champion Award through the Enrichment Centre.
Tracy Bray was very pleased to bring recognition to Leah Johnson, Belleville General Hospital Auxiliary President and auxiliary member since 2006 after she retired as a graphic designer for over 30 years.  Leah has volunteered in maternity, day surgery, corridor cafe, information desk, volunteer office, tuck shop and aroma cafe, bulletin editor, convener of the aroma cafe and convener of awards and recognition.  Now serving her third term as President of the BGH Auxiliary, Leah has served on many committees in areas of governance, finance, special events, by-laws and QHC advisory committee.   Leah has worked diligently on raising money through auxiliary fundraising events for BGH to purchase much needed hospital equipment.  Since 1938, the Auxiliary has raised over $4,261,779!!!!  Leah is a life member of the BGH Auxiliary and has received the outstanding service award and Ontario Volunteer Service Award for 15 years of service.  And Leah's contributions don't stop there.  She was on the Belleville Figure Skating Club executive for many years and is a life member of that organization.  An avid baseball player, Leah played many years in the mixed and women's slow pitch leagues in Belleville and also tried her hand at 5 pin bowling, also a love of hers.  Currently, Leah is a Director of the Belleville Nurse Practitioner-Led Clinic and a member of their finance committee.  No doubt about it, Leah loves people and loves to lend a helping hand to everyone.
When Kristin Crowe thinks of Mark Hopper, she thinks of service above self and the ideals of Rotary and deemed it a privilege to nominate Mark for a Community Paul Harris Award.  In June of 2022, Mark retired from a career as General Manager of the Belleville Cemetery, a position he held for the past 17 years, although his career in this field spanned 37 years.  This is where Mark's kindness and compassion is evident and many heart-warming stories are shared by a number of individuals who Mark has assisted over the years, during difficult times when grieving the loss of a loved one.  Mark is also incredibly talented as a photographer and has quietly made a name for himself nationally with nature photography.  His photos have appeared in National Geographic, Canadian Geographic, Maclean's, Toronto Life magazine, Toronto Sun, Toronto Star, Weather Network, Explore Canada Tourism and many more.  Mark has received accolades from the likes of Canadian naturalist and painter, Robert Bateman, an inspirational artist to Hopper.  His real motivation is putting smiles on the faces of others.  As a long-time supporter of the Christmas Sharing Program, Mark designed a beautiful Christmas Calendar and generously donated the proceeds, donating more than $15,000 over many years.  During the challenging times of COVID, Mark donated thousands of posters to long term care facilities.  In 2022 he received the Beth Musclow Memorial from Centennial Secondary School awarded to the parent who is most giving of their time.  Mark has held positions as President of the Provincial Funeral and Cemetery Association and served two years on the QHC Finance Committee.  More recently, Mark has spent time sitting with, listening to and photographing some of the homeless in our community in order to get the "real" story out and support these individuals.  Words to describe Mark include honest, fair, for the benefit of all concerned and a good friend.  He has a heart to serve this community and the community has been enriched as a result of it (quoted by Eric Thompson, member of the Rotary Club of Belleville and fellow funeral director).
Tracy Bray introduced her dad Doug Bray to share a few stories of what he remembers from the 1940's and some history book recommendations.  Doug admitted he looks like a veteran, but isn't one except as a Hastings and Prince Edward County School Board veteran where he taught for thirty years.  He was involved with the Army reserve his last year of high school and strongly feels this program should be a priority today.  Many analysts of WWII might say it was a blessing when Germany attacked London, England.  Hitler focused on bombing airports and factories to slow down the airforce.  Churchill retaliated by bombing Germany and this relieved the stress on the airports and factories and the British were able to build up their forces and defeat the German airforce.
Doug related a personal experience when he was a young fellow living in Halifax on July 18, 1945.  The war was pretty much over, but a fire broke out in Bedford, Nova Scotia and spread to a dock where ammunition was temporarily being stored, creating a reaction of fires and explosions that continued for more than 24 hours. Something that Doug will never forget.  The explosions continued well into the night.  Him and his family were safely huddled up in the commons, but even at a young age, he remembers what happened very vividly that day and night.
Doug recommended a couple of books for Christmas.  The Blind Mechanic is about a man who lost his sight, but wanted to be a mechanic and pursued his dream, even with his limitations and became licensed in Nova Scotia and shared his skill with many.  A Good Spy Can Live A Long Life is about a young man in Holland when Germany invaded and he shares how he lived through it.  Immigrated to Canada and settled right here in Quinte.  The young boy was A.A. Spitters a story of perseverance, hard work and love and the father of John Spitters of CJBQ.
Peter Malone thanked Doug for bringing some humour to his story telling and reminding us that education is the corner stone of who we are.
Over 14,000 Meals Provided to Those in Need Locally
Belleville— October 29, 2022 — The Rotary Club of Belleville and a large group volunteers from the community came together yesterday to put together Kids Against Hunger meals. “We had a great group of people who volunteered to put these meals together for people in need.  Rotary Club members, elementary and high school students, lawyers, law clerks. friends and families all contributed their time to put together over 14,400 meals.” said Jennifer Savini, Chair of the Club’s Kids Against Hunger Committee.
Many families locally will benefit from this effort as the meals will be delivered to Gleaners Food Bank, United Way, Salvation Army and Grace Inn.  Some meals will also be shipped to Haiti to help with the humanitarian crisis there.  Kid’s Against Hunger Canada, a registered Canadian humanitarian charity, is committed to engage Canadians, especially youth, in helping to feed those who are hungry, malnourished and starving in Canada and around the world.
Funds from the Belleville Rotary Club and a generous donation from McDougall Insurance were used to purchase the ingredients, and volunteers came together at Loyalist College’s Shark Tank Pub to package and box up the food.
Len Kennedy introduced District Foundation Chair Bob Wallace, as today's guest speaker.  The Rotary Foundation is the backbone of how we run Rotary and its projects.  A little history lesson -- at the 1917 convention, outgoing Rotary President Arch Klumph proposed setting up an endowment "for the purpose of doing good in the world".  That one idea and an initial contribution of $26.50 set in motion a powerful force that has transformed millions of lives around the globe.  The Rotary Foundation transforms gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world.  Since it was founded in 1917, the Foundation has spent more than $4 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects.  The Rotary Foundation helps Rotary members to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace by improving health, providing quality education, improving the environment and alleviating poverty.  For as little as 60 cents, a child can be protected from polio.  Fifty dollars can provide clean water to help fight waterborne illness.  Five hundred dollars can launch an antibullying campaign and create a safe environment for children.
The Rotary Club of Belleville is well on its way in meeting its own annual fund goals over the next five years by contributing $12,500 to the Annual Fund for the Rotary Year 2022/2023.  Contributions to the Rotary Foundation go towards the Annual Fund, the Endowment Fund and PolioPlus Fund.  The Annual Fund funds global or district grants which simply means we decide how the money is to be spent within the seven (7) areas of focus which include basic education and literacy, community economic development, disease prevention and treatment, maternal and child health, peacebuilding and conflict prevention, water, sanitation and hygiene.  Ninety-one percent of donations are directly spent on programs.  The Rotary Foundation has achieved a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator, the highest rating possible.  Donations to the Annual Fund are shared 50/50 with the District Fund and the World Fund.  The District (ours is 7070) directs the use of the funds through district grants and global grants.  The World Fund supports worldwide projects and provides matching funds for global grants and is used where the Trustees see the greatest needs. 
Individual and club recognition is given to express Rotary International's gratitude to Annual Fund donors.  When a Rotarian gives $100 or more in a year, they are recognized as a sustaining member.  Giving $1,000 or more in a lifetime gives recognition as a Paul Harris Fellow.  When $1,000 or more is given annually, a Rotarian becomes a Paul Harris Society member.  Every Rotarian Every Year (EREY) is encouraged so that every Rotarian gives $100 per year in addition to their membership dues.  DOING GOOD IN THE WORLD!
Since 1988, Rotary and its partners have immunized nearly 3 billion children against polio.  In 2020-21 program awards, including PolioPlus Partners grants, totalled $152.9 million.  Global grant activities include humanitarian projects, scholarships and vocational training teams.  In 2020-21 the Foundation approved 2,066 global grants and program awards totalled $130 million.  District grants support small-scale, short-term projects related to the Foundation's mission.  In 2020-21 the Foundation approved 467 district grants and program awards totalled $31.1 million.  Rotary's disaster response grants support relief and recovery efforts in areas that have been affected by natural disasters.  In 2021-21 the Foundation approved 55 disaster response grants and program awards totalled $3.1 million.  Total contributions were $440.9 million in 2020-21.
District Chair Bob Wallace encouraged the members to donate any amount to the Foundaton because by giving, you can make life-changing projects possible and support Rotary's work year-round.  Donations can be made on-line through the Rotary Club of Belleville's website "donate" option or by cheque to the Foundation Chair or through the EREY option on the membership dues notices.  Rotarian Terry Thomas thanked the District Foundation Chair for sharing all the good reasons why we should support the Rotary Foundation, an innovative organization focused on making a difference.
Peter Coy was born on the Isle of White, Hampshire England, in a small bungalow attached to the White Cliffs Bay Hotel where his father was the manager.  Peter and his siblings had the run of the property in their early years and when Peter was old enough, he became an Air Cadet and received his glider pilot's license when he was 15.  He also attended several RAF camps with front-line fighter jet squadrons in Germany during the cold war and flew aerobatics in 2-seater fighter jets.  Unfortunately, Peter's eyesight prevented him from entering the RAF full-time when he turned 16.  At that point he joined the British Civil Service, first as a clerical officer and then as a member of the computer department in operations.  The pay proved to be inadequate and Peter pursued or more accurately was recruited by a major insurance company which required or encouraged him to take courses in statistics, communications, economics and other useful business skills.  Peter wanted to see more than Britain and answered a small classified ad in the newspaper looking for computer programmers to emigrate to Canada and eight months later he was a landed immigrant.  After 20 years working for insurance companies, at age 30, Peter started his own business and got married.
Software Concepts was formed along with the development of a fundamental CRM system, employing a staff of 20 people.  Peter was responsible for custom requirements planning, systems design, sales, customer relations, marketing and HR.  His partner worked on research and development and customer requirements development and led the customer support team.  As in many partnerships, agreement on the next growth steps could not be reached so the company was sold.  Peter formed a new software company, Prodigm Inc. and once more became the designer and developer, handling customer relations.  Since 2011, Prodigm has been a Zoho Partner, a very major cloud-based CRM system, providing a complete business management system.  Zoho is growing exponentially and now has over 80 million users worldwide and employ 10,000 people.  Over 150 Zoho-based projects have been implemented since 2011, supporting systems for customer relations, accounting, inventory, online sales, mass email, project and document management, word processing, automated forms, workflow automation, quality control and the list goes on.  Peter is a systems architect and passionate about great system design, helping smaller companies become more profitable, productive and innovative while eliminating delays and lost profitability.  Peter also enjoys mentoring and developing many young IT professionals.
Peter has been President of Toronto Operetta Theatre, Toastmaster, a tenor in Grace Church choir in Toronto, soccer coach, been involved supporting political campaigns  and is involved locally with the tennis club and Chamber of Commerce, Rugby Club and of course, the Rotary Club of Belleville.  He is passionate about play writing and directing, narrating documentaries, cycling, reducing CO2 emissions and improving road safety, etc.  Peter loves music and got into acting and described this community as a rich place for artistic explosion, much more than Toronto.  Peter started his talk saying that it might be dull.  Obviously not!  He and his wife Brooke love it here.  Peter was thanked by Karen Baker, described as a man of many talents.
Heather Hall, Chair of Clowns for Kids wanted to explain what this program was about, one that she has been involved in at the Brantford Rotary Club for many years as a fundraising event.  It's all about the kids.  In partnership with the Santa Clause Parade in November, all "clowns" gather and pick out their costume, get their face painted, listen to Christmas music.  When they are all dressed up and ready to go, they are bused to the parade route where they will hand out candy canes to the children on the parade route.  The children dressed up as clowns are in the parade, having so much fun and creating memories and feeling pretty special themselves.  The money raised supports children in the community.  The cost to sponsor a clown is $300.  Pledges are raised, a child can be picked out to participate or a Rotarian can sponsor a child who has already been selected.  The clowns can be children as well as adults for those brave enough to be full of a fun for an afternoon.  Business owners can support their own clowns or be a corporate sponsor.  A Facebook page will be set up to promote this event.  Heather also promised a Rotary Club challenge, stay tuned for this friendly competition.  Please reach out to Heather for more information or if you want to get involved in this committee, a very time management commitment.
Quite simply, clowns help kids and kids love clowns!  With your help, Rotary Clowns will enjoy a fun-filled experience walking the parade route dressed in a costume they can keep, with a red nose and their face painted.  Your pledges will help a child have an incredible experience and memories to last a lifetime.  All funds raised will help children in our community through Rotary's programs including Food for Learning warm breakfasts, the Children's Foundation school bursaries, high school bursaries, Mayors of the Week, the Quinte Regional Music Festival, Camp Merrywood.  Donation receipts will be issued for donations exceeding $25.  Pledge forms are available through the Clowns for Kids Committee, Heather Hall as Chair.
Rotary Club of Belleville
Rotary Clowns for Kids
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