Drought and Bush Fires:

What have Rotary been doing?

The drought has been going for years and the bushfires for months, so what’s Rotary been doing to “make a difference?”
Here’s just some of the stories on how Rotary and Rotarians have been helping out their communities in the face of these personal and community disasters. 
As we’ve mentioned many times, Rotary has the lowest cost funding model. We have by far the lowest admin costs than our nearest Charitable Organisation. 
In other words more of your dollar donation goes directly to the community if you donate through Rotary. 
Also Rotary supports through Projects and encouragement many of the community service organisations…here are just some of the stories behind the funding and projects……
Did you know that Rotary has been supporting the RFS for decades?
But you may not have been aware that Rotary also has been recognising the efforts of individuals through the Rotary Emergency Service Community Awards. Specifically the NSW Rotary Emergency Service Community Award
I enclose extracts from the 2018 finalist article below, where Rotary encourages and supports these volunteers through their actions, volunteering and funding.  
“Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant today announced 24 NSW and 8 ACT finalists for the 2018 Rotary Clubs and Districts of NSW and ACT Emergency Services Community Awards.
Mr Grant said the expanded awards, which include the ACT for the first time, are a fantastic opportunity to shine a light upon the enormous contribution of emergency services workers such as nominee Alan Johnson from Batlow who has been a volunteer for over 52 years.
“These awards celebrate the outstanding commitment, sacrifice and spirit of service. As a community it is important that we take the time to acknowledge and thank volunteers and personnel who give so much of themselves and ask so little in return,” Mr Grant said.
 “This year’s finalists have more than 600 years of combined service and I thank them all for their exemplary community service.”
Finalists come from the following emergency services agencies:
·       Fire & Rescue NSW
·       ACT Fire & Rescue
·       NSW Ambulance
·       ACT Ambulance
·       NSW Rural Fire Service
·       ACT Rural Fire Service
·       NSW State Emergency Service
·       ACT State Emergency Service
·       Marine Rescue NSW
·       NSW Volunteer Rescue Association.
Commissioners from the NSW SES, NSW RFS, Marine Rescue NSW and the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association will each nominate an outstanding individual for consideration of the scholarship. A Rotary NSW panel will determine the most deserving candidate.

Did you know that Rotary clubs have been involved at grass roots level? 

Here’s a typical story from Rotary Club of Taree….
The Rotary Club of Taree has shattered its bushfire relief fundraising goal of $30,000, reaching more than double that amount within a week.
"We're really deeply touched," said Maurie Stack, director of the club on the NSW mid-north coast.
He said that donations had been coming in from around the state in big and small amounts.
"On Saturday, I picked up an email from a local businessman who wanted to donate $20,000 but remain anonymous. He particularly wanted it to go to people who were uninsured, and there's plenty of those," Mr Stack said.
"On the other end, we've had lots of people give us $100 or $50. My eight-year-old grandson called me the other night saying he'd won $25 on the Melbourne Cup and he wanted to give it to people who'd lost their homes."
The group is working with the other six Rotary Clubs in the mid-north coast council area, as well as the local Lions club.
"Our starting point is to get the names of all the people who've lost homes," Mr Stack said.
A team of volunteers is working to compile that list and the affected residents will then be invited to make a claim.
"Some might choose not to because they're insured, and that's OK; but even those who are insured have suffered considerable losses," he said.
A grant from Australian businessman Dick Smith of $15,000 kicked in as soon as that fundraising amount was reached. While Mr Stack said they were delighted with the amount raised so far, he stressed the need was enormous.
Anyone wanting to support the Rotary Club's appeal can donate here.
The Rural Fire Service (RFS) is welcoming donations through their fund, while may local brigades are conducting fundraising through doorknocks, letterbox drops or at community functions.
The RFS also warned of phony donation requests, saying as a general policy, it does not seek donations over the phone.
(From SMH)


Did you know that Rotary has set up a Queensland Bushfire appeal?

Rotary Bushfire Appeal and Assistance
From: District Governor, Darryl Iseppi
Over the last couple of weeks we have seen the start of one of the potentially worst Bushfire Seasons ever in our Rotary District and surrounding areas.
Some of our members have been affected though fortunately at this stage minimal damage and no loss of life. Our communities have not been as lucky.
I know many of our Rotarians, their families and our clubs are supporting frontline emergency staff and also the support personal and evacuation centres.
My call to those clubs and the Assistant Governors for those groups has been heart-warming knowing they are dealing with it at a local level and are keeping in touch with our Rotarian Families.
I have called upon a number of clubs to be available to provide relief effort to those clubs first affected. The response has been wonderful, and I thank everybody. I ask that we all be aware of the need.
The clubs and Assistant Governors in these areas have been asked to come through District if help is needed and I have promised on your behalf that we will be there. I know we will all do what we can for our Rotary Family.
In addition to this the RAWCS (Rotary Australia World Community Service) President, Treasurer and Project manager have set up a Relief Fund for the Bushfire Victims and Communities. This gives total Tax Deductibility effect to any donation to the Fund. It also eliminates any administration fees being charged. I thank the RAWCS executive for offering to do this.
By going to the RAWCS website www.rawcs.org.au anyone can donate to
Queensland Bushfire Relief Project (RARF*) with number 19-2019-20
  • The appeal will be titled “Queensland Bushfire Appeal”
  • It will relate only to the affected Rotary Districts of Queensland
  • It will be a project in RARF
  • The project is live on the RAWCS website and is able to accept donations.
  • RAWCS is organizing a quick donate button on the RAWCS home page.
*RARF = Rotary Australia Relief Fund)
The project will be managed as a RABS (Rotary Australia Benevolent Society) project for distribution and coordinated by the Queensland Bushfires Distribution Committee chaired by myself with Neil Black as Deputy. It includes representatives for all Districts connected to Queensland that have or will be affected by the Bushfires. Distribution will be to individuals, families and communities affected by the Bushfires.

Australian Rotary Districts Drought Appeal

The highly successful Rotary Australia World Community Service Limited [RAWCS], Channel 9 and National Farmers’ Federation drought appeal closed on 30th September 2018 raising in excess of $10 million. These funds have been distributed direct to farmers and their families.
In October 2018, RAWCS initiated a drought appeal to continue this work and established the Australian Rotary Districts Drought Appeal.
The appeal covers nine Rotary District drought relief projects in the whole area impacted by this severe drought, west of the Great Dividing Range, from far North Queensland to Victoria and South Australia.
The appeal enables donations contributed after 30th September 2018 to continue to be distributed to these active RAWCS drought relief projects. Local Rotarians and Rotary Clubs understand which farming families are doing it tough, and this appeal ensures that this much needed support is received quickly.

Care outreach and Alex Rotary

Locally, Alex Rotary has been a big supporter of drought assistance through the Care Outreach program, and this year we reached out to Bill and Melissa and their organisation to get ideas from team leaders on how Rotary could help their communities through the Rotary grants program. 
We’re hoping to hear back from the team leaders in late January and start working on processing those grant applications to help the long-suffering Queensland Communities. 
Finally, a big thank you to all our supporters in 2019, and we look forward to 2020 in the knowledge that there are great people in our community who continue to help others in whatever way they can, either in a Rotary Club or personally.