As a service organization, the Traverse City Rotary Club commits itself to improving the world on a local and global level. The Rotary’s motto, “Service Above Self,” reflects the contributions that the Club and its members continue to make throughout our community.

The Traverse City Rotary Club has impacted our community in many ways. A wide range of service projects, including the One Way Coat Day, Tag Day and Munson Manor Dinners assure that the needs of many groups are met.

Christmas Baskets

The Christmas Basket program helps needy families celebrate Christmas with gifts of food, clothing and toys. In early December, at two regular meetings, members contribute money which is allocated to the families by need. Family assignments are given to new members, who each contact their assigned family, determine specific needs, then shop, wrap items and make a personal family-to-family visits to deliver the baskets.

NMC Barbeque

The NMC Barbecue is a favorite annual tradition for many Rotarians. This “sign-up and show-up” event assigns members to coordinate with the NMC and Oleson’s Store staffs, grill buffalo burgers, and set up and tear down equipment and tables. The NMC BBQ is always the Sunday on the weekend before Memorial Day. Twelve to 15 Rotarians work on each of four two-hour shifts beginning at 9 a.m. Sign-up will begin a few weeks prior to the event at the weekly meetings.

One Way Coat Day

One Way Coat Day is an opportunity for Rotarians and their friends to give their gently used and new winter outerwear to those in need in our community. Members meet in September and plan the date for the annual collection. Coats, gloves, and other winter wear are collected over the course of three to four Tuesdays at the weekly club meeting. To date, nearly 4,000 coats have been donated and distributed to Father Fred, Salvation Army, Goodwill, TCAPS and the Women’s Resource Center.

Munson Manor Dinners

Munson Manor is a hospitality facility at Munson Medical Center that is based on the popular Ronald McDonald House concept. Once a month, members of the committee and their spouses/friends select a menu and do the shopping for a “home cooked” meal to serve 20-30 out of town guests staying at Munson Manor while their loved one is hospitalized. The Rotarians prepare and serve the meal and mingle with the guests. This is a rewarding and heart warming experience for all involved. Most committee members handle one meal per year, though some ask to participate more often. Time commitment is approximately three hours on the date of service, plus the pre-meal planning and shopping.

Handicap Committee

This committee provides “grants” to handicapped individuals through tax exempt organizations. Grants are approved for the purchase of equipment or services that they would benefit from receiving, but cannot afford themselves. Applicants submit a grant appeal, which is reviewed and may be investigated by the members; a decision is then made on the grant amount. Funds for dispersal are collected annually during an event called Tag Day. Committee members are required to work on Tag Day and recruit additional Rotarians to collect money at a specific location in the community.

World Community Service

The World Community Service Committee works in sustainable partnership with the poorest of the poor throughout the world to help them reach personal independence by addressing health, food, personal and educational needs. Through support from our club, Rotary Charities, and matching grants from Rotary International, this committee has raised nearly $1 million over the past 10 years for projects benefiting our global community. Past projects include a playground and sports field for a school in South Africa, Safe Passage in Guatemala City and BioSand filters in the Dominican Republic. Meetings are held bi-monthly for approximately 90 minutes to review projects to support, financial resources, and outcomes of past projects.

Tag Day

Through the Tag Day event, Rotary contributes approximately $25,000 each year to the Committee for the Handicapped for grant awards to children and adults with special needs. Every Rotarian is asked to serve at the Tag Day event, held over two days each June, by selling tags to raise money for the Committee for the Handicapped.

Salvation Army Bell Ringing

The Salvation Army kettles are a true sign of the holidays. And to Rotarians, bell ringing is a very important service project. Club members participate on an annual basis in December by helping to fill the kettles for the Salvation Army.

Rotary Gourmet Game Dinner

It is safe to say that our local treasure, the Boardman River, would not be the same without the Rotary Gourmet Game Dinner.

Started in 2005, the Gourmet Game Dinner has raised over $130,000 to protect, restore and enhance the Boardman River. This funding has been critical to the long term improvement of the river. Funds raised have helped with everything from stocking fish, erosion control and building new canoe launching sites to raised pathway installation, new signage and fish habitat installation.

This project is done in conjunction with and under the guidance of the Grand Traverse Conservation District’s Boardman River Project. The Gourmet Game Dinner helped fund a study to identify the Boardman’s problem areas, allowing the Conservation District to prioritize and coordinate their projects. The Conservation District is currently working on a historical documentation project of the Brown Bridge Dam project, with funds from the annual dinner assisting with the funding of the project.

“The incredible dedication of all the Rotarians involved in the Gourmet Game Dinner over the years is truly inspiring. Proceeds from this event are critical in support of the Conservation District’s long standing efforts to restore and protect the Boardman River. The game dinner support allowed for a complete update of the Boardman River Erosion Inventory. Since then, successive game dinners have helped not only improve the Boardman ecologically, but also from a user standpoint through the installation of educational exhibits, directional signage, and safer access. Most recently, the 2013 game Dinner allowed for the development and implementation of a plan for a healthier, more diverse riparian zone along 2.5 miles of the newly formed river at Brown Bridge. As Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes once said ‘A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure.’ The extraordinary efforts of Rotary’s Gourmet Game Dinner Committee to help restore and protect this community treasure are greatly appreciated.” — Steve Largent, Boardman River Program Coordinator, Grand Traverse Conservation District.

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Rotary Golf Outing

Held each August at the Traverse City Golf & Country Club, this fun afternoon of fellowship promotes camaraderie with a goal. Those with the best scores qualify to play on the Rotary Team in the Cherrity Cup against the Kiwanians. The losing team makes a $500 donation to the charity of the winning’s team choosing.

In 2013, the Rotary Club won the Cherrity Cup and a donation was made to the Traverse City Sunrise Rotary Club’s Backpacks for Kids project.