Leaders Making a “Bigger, Better, Bolder” Difference
 
From the RCM Board of Directors:
 
For the last several years, Rotary leadership--internationally and here at our home club--have talked about the importance of engaging in "bigger, better, bolder" projects.  But what is a bigger better bolder project?
 
In September, Rotarians volunteered at the Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum.
At its core, it is a project where Rotary's involvement is making a difference and produces significant and sustainable outcomes. In some cases this is easy to understand. Examples include: The Milwaukee Rotary Amphitheater. The Milwaukee Rotary Centennial Arboretum.  Live @ the Lakefront. The Brown Street Academy Schoolyard. Johnsons Park. Guatemala water filter project. The War Memorial Center's Operation Renew.
 
These projects have several common attributes:
  • RCM played a leadership role in moving the projects forward
  • In addition to a substantial financial donation, Rotarian volunteers contributed time and talent
  • RCM engaged with key community partners 
  • RCM involvement  has lasted over multiple, or many years
  • The projects have significant and sustainable outcomes
  • Rotary is recognized for our contributions
President John Bernaden says, “The philanthropic strategy we described here is in line with the best practices of the large international corporations and foundations like my company, Rockwell Automation.”
 
RCM will also continue to commit to projects that are not of the scale of the projects above, but are projects in which RCM demonstrates Leaders Making a Difference.  
 
Here are some recent examples:
 
River Revitalization Foundation (Environment and Ecology Committee).  RCM has a unique 20 year relationship with RRF. We were a founding member of RRF and continue to have strong representation on the RRF Board.  This is the kind of “bigger, better bolder” relationship that RCM values and want to nurture.  For the past decade we have contributed up to $5,000 annually for projects along the Milwaukee River including the construction of the East Bank the West Bank Trails. Much of RRF's work takes place in the in the Milwaukee River Greenway—a span of land that includes the Arboretum.  This is a home base for RCM and continued support of these projects builds on past gifts.
 
O.W. Holmes and Brown Street Academy (Partners in Education).  Several years ago, the Partners in Education Committee chose to focus its efforts on two grade schools. (Previous efforts were scattered over 6 to 10 schools.)  Rotarians volunteer in the schools and we provide financial support for student activities 
above and beyond the usual curriculum. Our presence is consistent and valued by the schools.
Engineers without Borders (World Community Service). For nearly 10 years, RCM has supported the three local chapters of EwB.  Three years ago, we committed a $1,000 to each of the three chapters for three years.  Over this time we have seen our relationship with EwB grow to the point that we are doing major projects together in Guatemala. While the annual dollar donations are not large, the continuity of the relationship has become quite beneficial to RCM and the communities we serve together in Guatemala.
 
2014 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival (Military Service Support). In the fall of the 2014, the RCM Community Trust donated $1,000 in support of this national event held in Milwaukee this year. While this was a one-time contribution, the Military Service Support committee members also volunteered to assist in marketing and promotion.  The combination of financial support and valuable volunteer support make this an important contribution.
 
There are many ways to make a difference. What we want to avoid is “giving a $1,000 here and there.” The Board of Directors has challenged committee chairs and the club as a whole to “walk the talk” of Leaders Making a Difference