The Rotary Club of Bettendorf celebrated what leaders called their most important meeting of the year on Wednesday, Feb. 16, by handing out nearly $40,000 in checks to further the missions of 21 area organizations.
“This is the Bettendorf Rotary’s big game day,” the club’s President Larry Thein told a banquet room crowded with Rotarians and grant recipients at the Waterfront Convention Center in downtown Bettendorf.
“This is what we work really hard for,” he said of the nearly $40,000 in checks the club distributed to help area organizations serving others in need throughout the Quad Cities region.
“Thanks to the many who support our fundraising efforts, our club is making a tremendous difference in people’s lives.”
Funds to make the grants possible are raised throughout the year at Bettendorf Rotary’s fundraising events, including “Lobster Rock ‘n Roll.” As a result of those efforts, the club said in a news release, “Local not-for-profit organizations will be able to further their missions thanks to the generous support of sponsors, donors, and attendees of the club’s annual fundraising activities.”
The grant awards are chosen by the Rotary Club of Bettendorf’s Charities Committee. Thirty-eight nonprofit applicants submitted nearly $85,965.41 worth of projects to the committee. The panel voted to fund 21 of those projects for a total of $36,924.
While Charities Committee Jeff Hassle celebrated the awards that were given, he also lamented the $50,000 in unmet needs. He urged rotary members to work to close that nearly 45% funding gap in the future.
Grateful agencies receiving the grants thanked rotary members for their efforts and the community for supporting the club’s annual campaign. “This is the reason why the Quad Cities is the best place to live,” one grateful recipient said.
Agencies that received checks Wednesday, the funding amount, and the projects those dollars will be dedicated to are:
- Argrow’s House of Healing and Hope, $1,924 for five beds to create a living space to give survivors of violence a place to safely heal and regain their lives without having to worry about housing.
- Boys and Girls Clubs of the Mississippi Valley, $2,500 for Summer Brain Gain, an evidence-based program that offers academic and social-emotional skill development to prevent summer learning loss.
- Children’s Therapy Center, $1,500 to fund 30 units of therapy for children with disabilities whose families are unable to afford the cost.
- Dress For Success Quad Cities, $278 for a 2021 Acer Chromebook for volunteer career coaches and clients to replace antiquated laptop computers purchased in 2011.
- GiGi’s Playhouse Quad Cities, $1,500 to help add a fully functional kitchen to be used for programs that are focused on life skills; cooking, shopping, cleaning, communications.
- Handicapped Development Center, $1,332 for new and updated learning materials needed for classroom instruction conducted each day with over 100 individuals with disabilities.
- Havlife, $1,500 to prevent lost potential in youth by providing scholarships in the areas of music, art and sports.
- Humility Homes and Services, Inc., $2,500 to help prevent homlessness and quickly rehouse families experiencing homelessness, some of them due to the unprecedented housing instability created by COVID-19.
- Lead(h)er, $1,000 to match two Bettendorf mentees with personally recruited mentors through Lead(h)er’s Strike a Match mentoring program.
- LivWell Cares (Compassionate Advocacy & Resources for Every Senior), $1,500 to help provide free placement, information and referral services for low-income seniors seeking independent apartments, residential assisted, long-term nursing care, skilled nursing care, ancillary services or information.
- Midwest Animal Assisted Therapy & Education Organization, $2,000 to help the agency provide animal assisted activities to heal Quad Cities veterans touched by mental or physical disabilities.
- Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center, $2,000 for the Metropolitan Youth Program (MYP) and Rock Island Boxing Club, volunteer-led programs providing recreational, cultural and athletic opportunities for Quad Cities youth.
- NAMI GMV (National Alliance of Mental Illness, Great Mississippi Valley Chapter), $2,500, to help expand its Family Support Group for parents of at-risk youth. NAMI will work through established contacts, to work with the Bettendorf and Pleasant Valley schools and Scott Community College, for mental health family referrals.
- One Eighty, $2,040 to partner with schools to help low-income children learn social skills, improve academic performance, and develop healthy habits with free sports programs including basketball.
- Our Lady of the River Church, $1,000 for Quad Cities Night to Shine centered on God’s love for people age 14 and older with special needs.
- Pregnancy Resources, $2,500, for the Safe from the Start Car Seat Program to help families who cannot afford a car seat.
- Project 15:12 Love One Another, $1,500 to offer financial assistance with basic life necessities such as food, transportation or shelter for individuals or families who have had an unexpected health crisis.
- Quad City Arts, $1,000 to its 2021-2022 Visiting Artist Series to bring in accomplished artists to present demonstrations, master classes, and concerts for kindergarten through 12th graders and the public.
- Safer Foundation, $2,500 the Youth Empowerment Program which helps justice-impacted youth learn valuable life skills, obtain a high school equivalency diploma and prepare for the workplace while reducing recidivism.
- STEAM on Wheels, $1,850 for scholarships for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math), a year-round program offering all types of STEAM hands-on activities and experiences.
- Unity House of Davenport, $2,500 to help underwrite the cost of providing transitional housing for Quad Cities men recovering from addiction.
The Bettendorf Rotary Club was chartered on May 22, 1957. With about 100 members, the club lives the Rotary motto – “Service Above Self” – by funding and participating in projects locally, nationally and internationally. To learn more about Bettendorf Rotary, visit www.bettendorfrotary.com.