By Jay Pennie
The kindness of Rotarians and their families around the world never ceases to amaze me.
At this past Thursday’s meeting of the Rotary Club of Philadelphia, held at the Pyramid Club in Center City Philadelphia, I thought the most significant event to take place that day was the induction of new officers and directors for the upcoming 2019-2020 year. Or perhaps it was hearing from our speaker and former club member, Frank Hoffman, PhD. about his teaching assignment in Thailand and adventures as a new member of the Rotary Club of Bangkok. Both were noteworthy events.
However, when I arrived early to greet members and guests, I saw a man who I did not recognize. I approached him and we exchanged introductions. He said his name is Wayne Hughes and that his father, Eugene Hughes, passed away recently and had been a long-time member of the Rotary Club of Philadelphia. Wayne was attending the meeting that day to present a check to the club’s foundation to honor his father. I enthusiastically thanked him for the kind gesture, though I thought it was impolite to ask the amount of the donation. I invited him to stay for lunch and he accepted.
A few minutes later, as I introduced him to the first member arriving, he indicated that the check was for $20,000! Pleasantly stunned for a few minutes, I asked him if he would say a few words to the members about the donation and his father.
The Rotary Foundation of Philadelphia was founded by and continues to be supported by Rotarians’ and their families. Established many years ago by generous and visionary members, the foundation grants approximately $30,000 each year to organizations in need both locally and internationally to support education, promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water and sanitation, save the lives of mothers and children, and improve local communities.
What separates the Rotary Foundation of Philadelphia from numerous other charitable foundations? Mainly, members use their knowledge of local issues to identify areas of need and together work to improve that community through hands-on service projects that includes feeding the hungry, promoting literacy in schools, cleaning up and beautifying the environment, and honoring veterans. The foundation uses this same knowledge of the community and its connections to help identify needs and provide financial support to organizations through its grant program.
A heart-felt thank you goes out to Mr. Hughes and Rotarians worldwide for their kindness and generosity to help others in need. I am proud to be united with 1.2 million members and 16 million volunteers in 200 countries to create lasting change in our community and in ourselves.
Jay Pennie, a member and President-Elect of the Rotary Club of Philadelphia, is a management consultant dedicated to helping nonprofit arts, education, and cultural organizations achieve their full potential. jpennieconsulting.com
Originally posted on LinkedIn June 25, 2019.