Rotary clubs in B.C. raised $8.5 million for charitable endeavours in their communities and for international humanitarian work in 2012, according to a new report by a Ladner Rotarian.
For the first time a survey was conducted of the 147 Rotary clubs in the province to estimate the total amount of money received in one year for community projects and humanitarian work. Rotary clubs are semi-autonomous, so they do not generally report their fundraising.
"I knew the amount raised by clubs was high but never thought that would reach $8.5 million," said the author of the report, Chris Offer, a past district governor of Rotary International.
"This report demonstrates the often unreported impact of volunteer fundraising in our communities."
Locally, a Rotary club is a small philanthropic organization that contributes to a variety of local and international community humanitarian and educational projects. Provincially, at $8.5 million, Rotary is in the top tier of charities in B.C.
Globally, Rotary raises conceivably $1.5 billion every year in the nearly 33,000 Rotary clubs in 200 countries and geographic areas. This makes Rotary one of the world's largest charities, said Offer.
"I am always impressed by the work done by Rotary clubs in their communities," said Rotary district governor Rebecca MacPherson.
"The dollars raised is only part of the impact they make. Every project is leveraged with numerous hours of volunteer time, sometimes hundreds of hours."
Offer said the study illustrates the impact of charitable fundraising done by groups that are not registered charities and do not issue income tax receipts.
"Charity in recent years has been controlled by the large professional charities," said Offer. "We forget about the numerous volunteer groups that raise funds with raffles, 50-50 draws, dinners and auctions. Groups that do not issue tax receipts are not counted in official statistics."
He said Rotary clubs in B.C. do not use paid fundraisers or have any paid staff, therefore, the administration costs are low, possibly below two or three per cent.
Rotary International is made up of more than 33,000 Rotary clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. The members of these autonomous clubs are called Rotarians, and they form a global network of 1.2 million business and professional leaders, all volunteering their time and talents to serve their communities and the world.
The 147 Rotary clubs in B.C. have a total membership of 6,744.
There are approximately 700 Rotary clubs in Canada with a total membership of 25,000.
In 2013 Rotary in B.C. is celebrating 100 years of service. The first club was formed in Vancouver in April 1913.