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Rotary Happenings: Rotary Club’s ranks swell with islanders returning

By Staff | Jan 27, 2016

Certainly it’s the time of the year on Sanibel, when Sanibel-Captiva Rotary sees club attendance swell.

The holidays are over and island Rotarians and snowbirds settle in for season. Sanibel-Captiva Rotary is fortunate to have one of the most active service clubs on the Island.

There’s a lot to accomplish during season and one of the most important activities for the club is the planning for and producing of the annual Sanibel-Captiva Arts and Crafts Fair held this year, Feb. 13-14.

Think Valentine’s Day and President’s Day Weekend. Proceeds from all of our Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Arts and Crafts fairs allow the Rotary Club to financially support many important service projects and activities locally, nationally, and globally that align with Rotary International’s believes.

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary gets a number of requests for funding. All requests for funding must be sponsored by a club Rotarian and reviewed and voted on by the Rotary Club of Sanibel-Captiva Trust Board.

Each request is assessed on value and appropriateness aligned with Rotary. Organizations and non-profits requesting funds are often asked to come and speak to the club about their request for funding.

Therefore, it was quite appropriate this past week to have representatives from the United Way and the Sanibel Community Association invited to the podium to give us an overview of their organization’s request for funding.

First to the podium was well-known community leader, Tony Lapi, CEO of Sanibel-Captiva Resorts and this year’s United Way Development Chair. Tony has been connected with United Way for over twenty years and has served on their board for most of that time.

The local United Way network of 85 local agencies helps hundreds of thousands of people right here in the community.F.I.S.H (Friends in Service Here) Sanibel-Captiva , is a United Way partnering agency. If you look at what F.I.S.H does in our community you get the essence of what type of programming the United Way supports.

Ninety percent of all monies collected by the United Way are used to support programs in the community. An allocation Committee evaluates all organizations the United Way supports and is very diligent about how donors’ money is used.

The Lee County United Way has received a 4-star rating by Charity Navigator. Supporting the United Way is a life-long commitment for many individuals but this organization also receives strong support from many businesses and service organizations throughout the nation.

Next to the podium Teresa Riska-Hall, Executive Director of the Sanibel Community House. The Rotary Club of Sanibel-Captiva Trust Board has recently received a request for funding connected to the Sanibel Community Association-Sanibel Community House Capital Campaign.

This request was encouraged by many Sanibel-Captiva Rotary members. The Community House is currently engaged in a $3.5 million capital campaign for renovations and restoration of the historic Sanibel Community House.

The Community House has been in need of repairs and renovations for a number of years now and building code updates are absolutely necessary.

Construction plans had been put on hold while the Sanibel Community Association Board investigated and explored the City of Sanibel’s Cultural Center proposal.

The proposal would have had the Community House constructing a new building across Periwinkle Way in their current parking area. After much deliberation and discussion with their members, community members, other entities included in the Cultural Center plan, and the City; a decision had to be made to stay and rebuild or build a new Community House across the street.

The decision made was to stay in the present location and keep this historic part of Sanibel’s history right where the community placed it in 1927 and where the memories of our Island have been held over the years.

With that decision made, it was time to discuss the actually condition and functionality of the present building and planning to address what should be done.

Because of column space this topic will continue in next week’s Rotary Happenings column.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotary meets at 7:00 a.m., Friday mornings at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, Sanibel.

Visitors are always welcomed.