By Kelly Sater
Many of you wandered through or maybe just glanced at the beautiful cars on display last month in Wayzata during James J. Hill Days. But what may not have been clear from looking at the shiny paint and clean interiors is that these cars serve a higher purpose in our community.
The Wayzata Rotary began organizing the car show in 2008. At that time, the exhibition was located in the small old Muni parking lot. This past year marked the eighth year for the car show, which has grown to host more than 116 eclectic vehicles. Our local automotive businesses and even personal enthusiasts sponsor the show to raise money for the community.
Specifically, Wayzata Rotary proudly supports projects and community organizations by funding grants twice a year, in May and in November. Typically, awards from $100 to $2,000 are made to selected applicants and are each sponsored by a club member.
The community service grants fund a variety of purposes and causes, but prefer to fund nonprofit or charitable organizations with specific needs, rather than general operations. Strong preference is also given to locally initiated and managed groups serving our area.
Recent recipients of community service grants include:
- Treehouse – serving 2,000 “at-risk” teens in the metro area by providing mental health and chemical dependency services, along with financial, educational and occupational aid. Wayzata Rotary’s grant provided vans that will transport the youth to their jobs, programing, schools and sports practices.
- Ridgedale YMCA: Camp Christmas Tree – a week-long summer day camp to help kids develop character and friendships. Wayzata Rotary sponsored 10 children who otherwise would not have been able to afford to attend the camp.
- Park Nicollet Foundation: Growing Through Grief – provides free in-school grief support to elementary, middle and high school students who are experiencing loss. Wayzata Rotary’s grant provided books and supplies for a grief group in addition to sponsoring two team members in their grief and crisis response training.
- Lead By Example Minneapolis – focuses on mentoring inner-city young men to become leaders in dismantling a culture of gun violence in their neighborhoods.
- Wayzata Crime Prevention Coalition – a volunteer organization assisting Wayzata Police in many crime prevention initiatives.
- Next year, in addition to the car show on Sept. 10, Wayzata Rotary is continuing to increase their fund raising efforts by planning a pancake breakfast and raffle. The Rotary’s commitment to service truly “fuels” support for those creating positive change in this community.
Rotary is also an international membership organization made up of people who share a passion for and commitment to enhancing communities and improving lives across the globe.
To learn more: wayzatarotary.org or attend a weekly meeting 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays, at the Wayzata Country Club. Guests are always welcome.
Kelly Sater is a member of the Wayzata Rotary Club.