In the past few years, my Rotary Club of Guaxupé has hosted five Matching Grant projects with The Rotary Foundation. Two of these projects aimed at the purchase of vehicles for beneficiary organizations that support needy segments of the community. These vehicles have fulfilled the project objectives, and have been put to very good use.
They have also accomplished something else as important — they have elevated our club’s visibility in the community and helped us attract new members.
Our first project purchased a car for a school for children and adolescents at social risk, so officials could provide transportation for students who came to the school in need of medical and/or psychological attention. The school is managed by the non-profit organization Associação de Apôio à Criança e ao Adolescente (Association for the Support of Children and Adolescents) of Guaxupé. Our international partner on this project was the Rotary Club of Highland Park/Highwood, Illinois, USA.
Our second project purchased a small ambulance for an agency called “Bom Pastor” (Good Shepherd) which provides dignified support for homeless individuals and drug addicts in rehab. The ambulance helps transport patients to and from area clinics. For this project we continued our partnership with the Rotary Club of Highland Park/Highwood, but also joined with two other clubs of the same district, the Rotary clubs of Northbrook and Deerfield, Illinois, USA.
With each vehicle, we made sure to “silk” them with the Rotary and Rotary Foundation logos, so they would be readily seen as they circulated throughout the community. This visibility brought in several new members last year, and has lead to some potential new members this year.
We are currently working with the same partners on another Matching Grant project to purchase a mini-bus for the local chapter of the Associação de Pais e Amigos dos Excepcionais (Association of Parents and Friends of the Severely Handicapped). We will again decal the vehicle if the project is approved.
Projects such as these generate results that are palpable and visible in the local community. I encourage all Rotarians to make your service projects visible through similar means, and by doing so, enhance the image of Rotary through service.