The Stanwood Camano Rotary Foundation provides important services to their own community in northwestern Washington, as well as to underprivileged communities in Latin America. They reached their goal of 500 votes and doubled their donation to reach $10,000.
The Stanwood branch of WaFd Insurance Group is heavily involved in the day-to-day operations of the Stanwood Camano Rotary Foundation. Collectively, the Rotary Foundation has contributed to numerous local events to give back to their community, fundraising for food drives, their regional Oktoberfest and the Stanwood Local Parade. They also built and continue to maintain Freedom Park, a playground in Camano, Washington.
Setting children up for success
Children’s education and general wellbeing is extremely important to the Rotary Foundation. They offer a program called Imagination Library, which sends local children a book each month until they turn five. Another program called Coats for Kids provides warm coats to children in need. Additionally, the foundation helped their local YMCA set up a swimming education program for third graders, and they’ve offered a dozen college scholarships to high schoolers.
“We want to help offer children a proper education in an area where such a thing is scarcer than it should be.”
—Hans Eskelsen, president of Stanwood Camano Rotary Foundation
Internationally speaking, the foundation has a working relationship with officials in the Copán region of Honduras. Rotary Foundation members have visited personally to help set up schools. “We want to help offer children a proper education in an area where such a thing is scarcer than it should be,” said Hans Eskelsen, northwest regional manager at WaFD Insurance Group and president of the Rotary Foundation.
Giving back to the community
Though many of their endeavors are focused on helping children in need, the Rotary Foundation also contributes other services to local businesses and individuals looking for a helping hand. In particular, they’re well-known for their quarterly office shred-it events, where shredding services are offered for free to those who can’t afford them on their own.
Added challenges amidst the new normal
In 2020, as the world began its battle against COVID-19, the Stanwood Camano Rotary Foundation had to start thinking outside the box. Many of their fundraising methods became much more difficult to maintain without in-person connections. Numerous members began putting down larger amounts of their own money to make up for the losses.
“It’s been very difficult, but we’ve worked hard to maintain the programs, and I’d say they’re more influential today than ever.”
—Nancy Voelckers, treasurer of Stanwood Camano Rotary Foundation
Though this worldwide upheaval created new challenges for the Rotary Foundation to overcome in order to maintain the programs they’ve historically supported, it also allowed them to pivot in interesting directions. Their recent shred events have shifted to a drive-through format to accommodate social distancing measures. “It’s been very difficult, but we’ve worked hard to maintain the programs, and I’d say they’re more influential today than ever,” said Nancy Voelckers, the foundation’s treasurer.
In the future, the Rotary Foundation plans to continually grow its efforts, both locally and worldwide. Foundation President Hans Eskelsen intends to expand their Latin American contributions by personally visiting a small town in Guatemala to help implement a public water system.
The 2021 Make More Happen Award includes a donation of $5,000 from Liberty Mutual and Safeco on behalf of WaFd Insurance Group, which will provide significant assistance to children across the world. If the donation is doubled, not only will that money provide free books for a year to 700 children and jackets to another 500 local children, it will also help maintain the school in Honduras, offering a full year’s education to over 30 children.
Be sure to vote for these Make More Happen award winners to win an additional $5,000 for the Stanwood Camano Rotary Foundation by cheering them on with a comment below and sharing their story to social media using the buttons to the left! Learn more about WaFd Insurance Group and the Stanwood Camano Rotary Foundation.