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ABOUT THE STATEN ISLAND ROTARY FOUNDATION
The Rotary Club of Staten Island was organized under the sponsorship of the New York Rotary Club in 1921.
The Staten Island Rotary Foundation was established in 1962 as the charitable giving arm of the Rotary Club of Staten Island at the same time that the Club, itself, became incorporated. It is a charitable organization pursuant to Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
The Foundation promotes the ideals of Rotary through gifts and devices or bequests of money or property that may be made to the Rotary Club of Staten Island or the Foundation for educational, charitable or other philanthropic purposes.
A volunteer Board of Trustees acts as the sole managers of the Foundation. Nine Trustees administer the Foundation. These Trustees, all of whom are Members of the Rotary Club of Staten Island and appointed by the Board of Directors of the Club in accordance with its by-laws, serve without compensation. Further, the Foundation has no staff but uses outside professionals to help with accounting, tax and investment matters.
There are many worthy small not-for-profit organizations in Staten Island that can use assistance in reaching their program goals. Most foundations find these organizations too small to handle, so these are the organizations that the Foundation prefers to serve. Through surveys of Club Members, it has been decided that the Foundation concentrate on helping not-for-profit organizations with Staten Island offices/locations that are providing programs that benefit Staten Islanders and their families, particularly, those that benefit youth, the elderly, or those that are educational in nature. Since its beginning, the Foundation has distributed over $1,900,000 to over 250 organizations. Most grant distributions ranged in amount from approximately $250 to $20,000+ each.
The Foundation, through special fund raising events, has also helped in disasters outside of Staten Island such as the Tsunami in Asia and Hurricane Katrina in 2005-2006. The Staten Island Community, feeling the hardship and need of the disaster victims, wanted to help these victims and the Foundation became the devise that helped make it possible.
The Staten Island Rotary Foundation has developed a formal grant application and evaluation process, which it uses, before disbursing funds. This “Request for Grant” process includes:
- an announcement in the Staten Island Advance that grant proposals will be accepted plus when and how to apply,
- a formal request for proposal is sent to each applicant,
- a formal evaluation of each application and a decision as to how much will be granted (if anything) is made by a committee of Foundation Trustees and Club Members. The Boards of both the Foundation and the Rotary Club of Staten Island further approve the decision and recommendations made by the committee. (This process takes over 200 man-hours by volunteers.),
- during the proposal review process, face-to-face meetings with organizations to obtain additional information are made as considered necessary.
In addition to the grants distributed through the above process, the Foundation also:
- funds three scholarships for Staten Island students attending Wagner College, the College of Staten Island and St. John’s University as well as one scholarship for a Staten Island student in the name of Norbert H. Leeseberg. (The Foundation has accumulated a corpus, the earnings from which are used to fund these four scholarships and any excess is used to fund other organizations as described above.),
- helps in Hardship cases that arise in the local community as well as nationally and internationally,
- gives Awards to students who are members of “Interact,” a Rotary sponsored club for teenagers,
- becomes a pass-through for funds from other foundations or individuals that have been used for scholarships and/or specific assistance to students with special needs,
- is instrumental in passing through moneys raised for Thanksgiving Baskets, Coats for Kids and other similar activities,
- administers special purpose funds such as The Louis R. Miller Memorial Fund and other bequests that are made.
In the past, the Foundation has held various educational seminars directed at not-for-profit organizations with the objective of providing useful information in grant writing and fund-raising. The seminars were presented in conjunction with the Network of Volunteer Agencies (NOVA).
The Staten Island Rotary Foundation gets moneys for all the above distributions in various ways. Monies are raised through:
- a portion of membership dues obtained from Club Members,
- direct contributions from Members of the Rotary Club of Staten Island as well as individuals/organizations,
- fund raising events such as the raffle of a corvette,
- proposals written to request funds from organizations to be used for a specific purpose,
- Bequests and Devises,
- interest, dividends and net gains earned from investments.
The Foundation can be reached as follows:
- Mail – Staten Island Rotary Foundation
P.O. Box 140717
Staten Island, NY 10314-0717