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December 13, 2019
Longwood Rotary: Breaking Ground In More Ways Than One
Kennett is know for its volunteerism and generous community support. But there are so many worthy causes, it can be hard to know where to start. And nonprofits often struggle in silos without access to a larger pool of resources.
Longwood Rotary recognized these challenges and decided to study the big picture so they could connect people and resources. “We’ve always helped groups that bumped into us—but we weren’t aware of all the needs in the community as a whole,” says President Bob Curran. Last year, they embarked on a year-long community needs assessment resulting in a focus 0n the following areas: Education, housing, and transportation. Rotarians came alongside local nonprofits, attended meetings, and listened to needs.
“We’ve always helped groups that bumped into us—but we weren’t aware of all the needs in the community as a whole,” says President Bob Curran.
“We’re a service organization, and we want to move into being a solutions organization,” Bob says. He asks organizations, “Tell me what your stop sign is.” In education, for example, many children enter kindergarten with an achievement gap that, studies show, is nearly impossible to close. The Maternal & Child Health Consortium of Chester County knew that equipping parents to be their child’s first teachers would help eliminate this gap, but only a handful of parents were attending their classes. When Longwood Rotary found out these parents had no transportation and no babysitters, they mobilized members and resources to hire buses and provide dinner and childcare onsite, enabling 87 parents and 94 kids to attend. Rotarians then matched funds with the district to provide these services for the whole year.
They are working on similar initiatives in housing and transportation. “All of these projects will have much greater impact if we work together,” says Longwood Rotary Director for Development Jackie Crego, “so we are inviting other local Rotary groups and organizations to join us in this One Service Initiative. The needs are great, and our message to everyone in our community is: Now is your time to be involved.”
“This is not your father’s rotary,” Jackie says with a smile. “We’re a dynamic, collaborative group of men and women of all ages, from different backgrounds. We can help you learn about the needs in our community and get connected with an area of service that will optimize your skills, time, and impact. And you don’t have to be a member to join us.”
“We’re the one-stop-shop to direct people to areas of service that interest them,” says Bob. “We encourage Fig readers to go to longwoodrotary.com to learn more about how you can get involved and help make a difference in our community.”