Vice President's Report - 2004/05
Community Service Committees
Reports from the Vice Presidents have commonly been viewed by the membership as being necessary but boring! It would have been nice if today we could have provided a show with "bells & whistles" and "flashing lights" that would alleviate the monotony of facts. However, that would have been possible only if we had to hand the raw materials for such a presentation and the capacity to put it together without wasting money. The alternative is to rely on materiality to provide you with an interesting insight on the Community Service operation of your Club in this Centenary Year of Rotary.
Knowing The Score:
General Sir John Monash, a Past President of this Club, was reported to have said during the War in France, "Australians are a sporting people, and they like to know the score!". His observation was "spot on", and it is appropriate that members have an opportunity to hear of the Club's "score" associated with the allocation of funds to charitable activities and the results obtained or in progress.
The Club has access to several categories of funds to support its projects. These are:
Funds generated as income from Foundations and Trusts administered by the Club;
Funds obtained from philanthropic bodies and individuals; and
Funds donated by members of the Club or generated by the Club via special activities.
It is appropriate that we recognise the excellent work of the Investment Committee and other persons who have been successful in ensuring that the "cash continues to flow" to enable our charitable work.
It is a primary responsibility of the Committees in the Community Service Division to raise funds for the projects that they initiate. They do so in a coordinated manner with the support of the Board.
Operations - 2004/05:
For convenient consideration, I have split Operations into three sub-groups:
Areas of Special Activity; and
All committees have contributed very well to the normal operation of the Club.
The Community Welfare Committee and Committees in the New Generations Directorate have, as usual, performed with distinction with work in areas that are fundamental to the operation of Rotary. Of particular note, the Student Exchange activity and the Town and Country School Exchange have again been impressively administered. It would be remiss of me if I failed to mention our "inbound" exchange student, Nadine Schuler, who is highly regarded by everyone who has had the privilege of meeting her. We must be particularly grateful for the work of our members who provide direct support in the Student Exchange operation
The Welfare of the Elderly and Vocational Service Committees again produced excellent candidates for recognition with Club and District awards.
Particularly worthy of note this year has been the establishment of an Arts Committee. This Committee has interests ranging over the entire artistic field. However, its priority activities have been:
Support of Australian performing artists in relation to their professional development, particularly operatic singers; and encouragement of interest in the arts within the membership of the Club.
On both fronts the Committee, ably led by Arnold Mayfield, has been very successful. It has demonstrated an excellent capacity to raise funds for the causes it supports while providing the Club with several opportunities during the year to learn about and enjoy art experiences via selected exposures.
Areas of Special Activity:
During this year the Club has been extremely successful in developing significant long-term projects and supporting new initiatives.
All of the Directorates in the Community Service Division have contributed positively and enthusiastically to Projects and a great deal of initiative has been demonstrated in fund raising.
The Board has approved the donation of $90,000 from income received from funds held in the RCM Community Foundation Extension Fund and the Stolfa Charitable Trust. These funds will be allocated between the ROCAN Ovarian Cancer Trust, the Rotary Liver Cell Bank, the Healthy Hearts Project, the Donydji Homelands Project, a Mobile "Soup Kitchen" Project, and support for Sydney Road School (a school of "last resort" for difficult and severely disadvantaged children).
The ROCAN Trust will receive $15,000 that will be put together with the same amount from the Rotary Club of Williamstown to obtain a matching grant from the Australian Rotary Health Research Fund: the goal, to secure a total of $60,000 for ROCAN.
$25,000 has been donated to the Club's Healthy Hearts Project and the same amount to the Donydji Homelands Project. These donations demonstrate the Club's willingness to put its own money into projects that we mainly support with funds raised from philanthropic bodies, corporate bodies, and generous individuals.
$15,000 has been donated to the Rotary Liver Cell Bank at the Royal Children's Hospital. This modest donation to a world leader in a new field of cell technology has done more than merely provide financial support for the work, it has also stimulated the "thinking" of the research body regarding avenues for obtaining and leveraging funds that they have not previously employed. The Bank was established some years ago on the initiative of the Rotary Clubs of Brunswick and Footscray and it is now supported by a number of Clubs.
A small amount of $5,000 has been made available for provision of a van for use as a mobile "soup kitchen" in the corridor between St Kilda and Frankston. This charitable activity is quite unconventional and the consummation of the project, in conjunction with four other Rotary Clubs, has required innovative thinking. The Community Welfare Committee identified this project.
$5,000 has been made available for donation to the Sydney Road School to assist in the equipment of much needed training workshops. The School was identified as a "needy" entity by the Welfare of the Young Committee.
The Club is continuing to undertake outstanding work in East Timor (Timor-Leste). The most exciting activity has been the funding of a Micro Credit Lending Bank at Baucau operated by our Opportunity International partnership. The obtaining of a US$63,000 matching grant from The Rotary Foundation was an outstanding coupe, effected as a result of the great efforts of Bob Glindemann. This matching grant, when combined with an agreed District Designated Grant of US $58,000 and our Club's financial contribution of US$4,000, will go a long way towards fully funding this project.
We are continuing to support the membership cost of a local person in the Rotary Club of Dili. Local membership is vital to the longer-term success of this new and struggling Club and is very helpful to Australian Rotary projects being executed in East Timor. In fact, this form of support is proving to be very cost effective.
Our partnership with the Rotary Club of Doncaster in the East Timor Roofing and Training Cooperative continues. Unfortunately, delays in clearing of raw materials through customs in Dili are threatening the short-term viability of the steel rolling operation. The role of the Rotary Australia World Community Service Liaison Officer in Dili is proving to be vital to the resolution of this problem.
Our training partnership with the Dili Institute of Technology continues utilising the funds from the Shell Foundation. While progress has been painfully slow, achievements are being recorded. The Shell Foundation has been kept well informed on the program and continues to support the Club's efforts.
A new aspect of our work in East Timor is organisation of training for East Timorese in primary industries. Three people have been sponsored recently on Royce Abbey Agricultural Scholarships for training in Australia and they have now returned to take up responsible positions in East Timor. A fourth scholarship has recently been awarded to an East Timorese graduate interested in buffalo husbandry.
There is no doubt that the Club's involvement in East Timor is making a real difference to the lives of many people and the impact will be durable.
The East Timor Committee deserves the Club's thanks for its efforts.
This project continues to progress well under the direct supervision of our contractor CIOMAL. So far, the current project is virtually fully funded and has been a signal success. Funding has been achieved with contributions from Sister Clubs and The Rotary Foundation. Regular reports are being received from CIOMAL revealing that:
Many previously undiagnosed cases of leprosy have now been diagnosed;
Three new "Operational Districts" have been opened following the completion of de-mining activities;
Networks of village-level volunteers have been recruited;
A central case holding database has been proposed; and
Funding has been distributed to Operational District Supervisors.
The difficulties created by not having strong support from a local Cambodian Rotary Club have been problematic but are now being overcome with cooperation from Rotary in Thailand. Once again our Club's international networking capability has proven to be very important. Strong support is also being received from District 9800 in this regard.
As an ancillary activity, it is proposed to conduct a trial POSYANDU program in conjunction with the Cambodian Ministry of Education. This trial will be based on successful outcomes achieved in six provinces of Indonesia with POSYANDU projects sponsored by our Club. The central purpose will be to improve primary health care in Cambodia and accelerate the early diagnosis of leprosy in the provinces where the program is introduced.
The enthusiasm of the Club's Committee responsible for the work in Cambodia has been outstanding. In particular, Keith Brierley and George Tippett have been absolute stalwarts in pursuing this project.
The Healthy Hearts project is now getting under way. The Club has undertaken to fund this project on a "best endeavours" basis over three years. $350,000 will be required to complete the project with the first year budget being $149, 400. This fund raising activity will require substantial effort on the part of the Club; so far we have about $70,000 in the fund, so please do anything that you can to help raise the target sum. Ian Ross and Bob Glindemann will be working with their characteristic vigour to secure sponsors and they will welcome any support offered.
All of the activities so far mentioned are substantial, significant, and important; however, in my opinion, in the Donydji Homelands Project we have a "landmark" activity that may prove to be one of the Club's most significant projects of all times. This Project is sub-titled, "Caring for Our Community - Initiatives for and by the Youth in Yolangu Homelands".
The Club originally became involved in this Project when it agreed to assist the Rotary Club of East Keilor to secure funds to build a Community Education Centre in the Donydji Homeland. The Centre was built in 2003 with the Club raising $30,000 and donations in kind to the value of $25,000 were also secured. It now provides formal primary education for forty-three children.
Attention then became focused on the educational needs of older youth, many of who were leaving the community and drifting into larger towns. There they quickly become victims of alcohol and substance abuse and encounter the associated social and behavioural problems. The Club, through its Welfare of the Young Committee, agreed to enter into a partnership with the Community Leaders and Latrobe University to create a model of Community Development. The goals are to provide young people with training to equip them with the skills required, reaching towards their full potential in the adult world. To achieve the goals, it is necessary to provide training facilities and a funded training program, about $650,000 is required for these purposes and the Committee has already sourced more than half of that amount. Credit for this is due to the Committee and John Mitchell in particular.
The greatest encouragement has been the recent recognition by the Northern Territory and Commonwealth Governments of the appropriateness and success of the program. It is being viewed as a Model Program suitable for use in other remote indigenous communities.
It is important to recognise that the "central plank" in this program is the Doydji Community itself. The involvement of Rotary and other parties in the work takes the form of support and assistance; it is not a welfare activity. Rotary has acted as a catalyst to enable the dreams of the Elders of this proud Australian community to be realised.
Messages To Be Remembered:
We can and should learn some lessons from the way that the Club has been involved in Community Projects this Year:
Clearly, the Club is still identifying and executing important projects, large and small, over a wide field of activities. Our ability as a fundraiser is obviously still well regarded in the philanthropic community. We must preserve this.
Our Club, with its commitment to several long-term projects, is already observing the new RI thrust of improved continuity from year to year.
The Club has been remarkably successful in obtaining Matching Grants from The Rotary Foundation and District Simplified Grants; this very much depends on maintenance of our credibility with the managers of these sources of funding. Contributions to The Rotary Foundation are central to that credibility and it is disappointing to note that only 14.8% of our members have so far committed to the Every Rotarian , Every Year Program by becoming Centurions. I urge all our members to give serious consideration to that action, it is not a burdensome financial commitment and it is not onerous.
Our Club must continuously strive for excellence in the way it administers its affairs as a member of the Rotary Family. Our credibility is very important to our success in leveraging the Club's contributions to projects.
Our projects are not well known in the public forum and we should do more to publicise our successful ventures by employing all available media tools.
There is great value in cooperation on projects with other Rotary Clubs, expert bodies, and communities.
We must not be overly risk averse in selecting projects for the Club to pursue. Certainly caution is appropriate, but we must always remember that some of the most needy areas of potential activity do have aspects of risk that have to be accepted and controlled as far as possible.
It has been an eventful and productive Year. Our Club can be justifiably proud of its efforts. As the Vice President - Community Service, I am particularly well satisfied by the work that has been done and the difference that it will make in relation to the lives of many people. Our Committees have only obtained this success as a result of effective teamwork; they are the driving forces of the Club's operations.
It is not possible in the time available to mention every member who has contributed to the Community Service work of the Club. They do so in so many ways, some more public and other very private. Suffice it to say that I am very proud to have had the honour of serving with them during this year and I thank everyone for their efforts.
22nd June 2005