Rochester Rotary Gives Tens of Thousands to Local Charities and Scholarships Winners

Spring is an exciting time of year for the Rochester Rotary Club. From golf outings to wine tastings to meeting “fines” imposed by a sharp-witted “Sheriff” at a weekly club Comedy Roast, the club works hard to raise money for a variety of charities. Each year, during April and May, they get to announce the recipients of substantial donations and award numerous scholarships to local high school students.

The two biggest fundraisers of the year are the Charity Golf Outing in the Fall and the Wine & Beer Tasting in the Spring. In the fall of 2017, the Golf Outing raised over $12,000 and just a few weeks ago, the Wine & Beer Tasting raised over $30,000 between ticket sales and the silent auction.

Three women pose for a photo

Kathy Losinski, Executive Director, Rochester Area Neighborhood House; Christine Hage, Rotary Member; and Rhonda Panczyk, Rochester Rotary Charities Board President

On a smaller scale, during the club’s weekly lunch meetings, one of several “Sheriffs,” including actual Rochester Police Chief Steve Schettenhelm and Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan K. Barnett, takes the podium and entertains the group with some good-natured ribbing and humorous observations. You might be fined for having watched the Kentucky Derby, or for not watching it, or sometimes for both. Weekly fines are capped at $3 and it all goes toward charity, and there sure is a lot to give away.

In late April, the Rochester Rotary Club awarded six different students with a variety of scholarships. Worth a total of $8,000, they will help each student to continue pursuing their educational dreams. Recipients included:

  • Sarah Trumza (Rochester) Rotary Award Scholarship
  • Bilal Ibraham (Rochester): Community Service Scholarship
  • Adia Brooks (Stoney Creek): Community Service Scholarship
  • Dema Boutany (Rochester): Sally Case Courage Scholarship
  • Zahra Ahmed (Rochester): Paul Harris Scholarship
  • Amelia Buckmaster (Rochester Adams): Paul Harris Scholarship
Two women pose for a photo

Tami Salisbury, Executive Director, Paint Creek Center for the Arts; and Rhonda Panczyk, Rochester Rotary Charities Board President

Rotary supports the community outside the classroom as well. During one of their May meetings, Rotary presented $1,000 dollars to the Paint Creek Center for the Arts to support their ongoing advocacy and investment in the arts. They also presented Habitat for Humanity of Oakland County with a check for almost $6,000 to help them continue building strong and self-reliant homeowners in the local community. To top it all off, the club presented a donation of $10,000 to the Rochester Neighborhood House, which helps our Rochester neighbors get back on their feet during times of hardship.

“It’s a genuine honor to be a part of these donations,” said Charities Board Chairwoman Rhonda Panczyk. “We have fun raising the money by golfing and sipping wine, but the real joy is in seeing the excitement on the faces of our outstanding young scholarship winners and knowing how much good these funds will do in the hands of outstanding local non-profit organizations. Being a part of this is exactly why I’m a Rotarian.”

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