Inside Rotary's Grant Process That Touches Many in Madison

Local organization awarded $35,000 in grants and sponsorships in 2011.

The recently announced that it will be accepting grant applications for the from qualifying non-profit organizations.

There are few groups or organizations in and around the Rose City that haven't benefited from Rotary's support, from the to Little League to the , and many more. 

The local club awarded thousands of dollars in grants to aid charitable causes in 2011. Patch caught up with Deborah Farrar Starker, president of the Madison Arts & Culture Alliance, to talk in detail about the grants process, and its benefit to Madison and the surrounding community.

Patch: What criteria does Rotary employ for awarding grants and sponsorships? What does the organization look for in an application?
Starker: In 2011, the Madison Rotary club re-organized its Charitable Distribution Committee and developed a very specific framework for our grants and sponsorship programs. Based in part on Rotary’s mission “to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through its fellowship of business, professional and community leaders,” we focused on providing financial support to local, national and international organizations that serve the public through humanitarian efforts, education, arts-related activities, and health resources service to seniors and children. 
We do this through grants, which are given only to qualified, non-profit, tax-exempt organizations that meet our stated guidelines for charitable distributions. These requests can be made to support a specific project or initiative or can be made for general operating support. And, we also provide sponsorships [that] may be given to community organizations planning an event or other groups (e.g., school and sports groups).   

Patch: Which applications would be considered outside the purview of Rotary’s mission?

Starker: We do not fund capital projects, organizations that only benefit a few or labor, religious, political, lobbying, or fraternal groups — except when these groups provide specifically identified services that fall within the “Giving Philosophy.”

Patch: How many years has Rotary been awarding grants and sponsorships?

Starker: For more than 80 years.

Patch: How many organizations usually apply for grants and sponsorships? 

Starker: Usually between 40 and 45.

Patch: How does the application move through committee?
Starker: The committee carefully reviews each application, assuring that it adheres to the stated criteria, meets a specific need, and will benefit from a modest grant.  
Patch: How much did Rotary award in grants and sponsorships in 2011?

Starker: In 2011 we funded 40 organizations with a total amount of $35,000 in grants.
Patch: What is the purpose/goal of the Rotary grant and sponsorships program?

Starker: Rotary International is one of the largest philanthropic organizations in the world with members in over 200 countries and geographical areas. The Rotary motto, “Service Above Self,” conveys the humanitarian spirit of the organization’s more than 1.2 million members.

The Madison Rotary club is just one of the 32,000 local clubs which raises funds through various events to support activities in the local community that have a proven track record of providing services that benefit the people of our community through humanitarian, artistic and health-related activities.


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