Dickmann Challenge Led Rotary Members to Build Endowment

A few years ago, Charles Dickmann made an offer that his fellow Rotarians couldn’t refuse. He pledged to match, dollar for dollar, gifts of $1,000 to create the Anderson Rotary Club Endowment within the Madison County Community Foundation. Members were generous in their response to Dickmann's challenge. 

"That money provided the seed," explains Keith Trent, Anderson Rotary Club past president.  "Since then, we have encouraged our members to help the endowment grow. Over the years, we have been able to make grants of close to $20,000 to area agencies and institutions."

The Anderson Rotary Club Endowment is a donor-advised fund, which means that a committee of Rotary members actively participates in the selection of grant recipients. "The Community Foundation facilitates the process for us," says Trent. "The Foundation staff receives the grant applications and then meets with our committee as we decide how we want to allocate the funds.  Although grant requests aren’t limited to a particular type of program, several youth-related projects have earned past support.  Grants have supported YMCA memberships for kids who couldn’t afford them, and  provided shoes for children staying at Alternatives’ domestic violence shelter.  Most recently, grants were made to support a community kitchen, food distribution, and a non-food pantry of living necessities.

Dickmann explained, "The endowment initiative is in keeping with Rotary International’s motto—"Service Above Self"—and mirrors on a smaller scale what the parent organization accomplishes worldwide. Rotary International was founded for the purpose of promoting understanding and peace through humanitarian service."  Trent added, "We want our club’s endowment to promote understanding, peace and service here in Madison County. As an example, by supporting the work of Alternatives, we are helping create more peaceful homes. This makes Anderson Rotary Club’s efforts consistent with what Rotary International succeeds in doing internationally."

In addition to creating and building the Anderson Rotary Club Endowment within the Community Foundation, club members invite Foundation representatives to participate in several local Rotary events each year. As part of the program portion of a spring meeting, the Foundation announces recipients of the Youth Community Service Award and Distinguished Service Award. These honors are underwritten by funds established at the Foundation by Charles and Hazel Dickmann. The large audience that attends the meetings—Rotary has 150 members—ensures high visibility not only for the awards recipients but also for the Foundation’s role in managing the funds that support the awards. "The Madison County Community Foundation is a real partner in promoting philanthropy," says Dickmann. "Our members have confidence in it, we know it’s solid, we believe in its mission, and we trust its leadership."

To make a contribution that supports the Anderson Rotary Club Endowment, click here.

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