Brandon’s first and original rotary club, which is simply called The Rotary Club of Brandon, was recently able to witness the fruit of its past year’s labor, giving away $70,000 to seven organizations that the club felt was deserving of help.
Longtime member and outgoing club president of the 2007-08 year, which runs from July 1 through June 30, Alan Feldman of Feldman’s Photography was proud of what the club was able to accomplish this year and counted his blessings of being a part of the worldwide organization which is now boasting 1.2 million members in over 200 countries.
“I am very pleased that we were able to do so much this year,” Feldman said, adding that the $70,000 was the highest amount the club has ever been able to raise in one year since the start of the Brandon club.
Feldman explained that the money was given to seven different local charities, one of which was the CPEA (Child Protection Education of America, Inc.), that focuses on finding missing children.
After receiving $9,100, CPEA executive director Hilary Sessions, whose daughter has been missing for 20 years, was visibly grateful for the support and said that the money will be used to supply bloodhounds to law enforcement agencies locally and around the country.
“I do not want another family to go through what I had gone through,” Sessions said.
Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Center executive director Darci D’Onofrio of was also very pleased with receiving $5,600 especially since the facility has been struggling with recent budget cuts.
“This money comes in handy since there is a possibility of more budget cuts by the Hillsborough County Arts Council,” D’Onofrio said.
Feldman said that all monies raised are the results of three major fundraising events throughout the year which include Wild Game Night, a Casino Night at Center Place and the annual golf fundraising tournament which takes place in May of each year.
Besides money given to charitable organizations, the club also supports local students through its scholarship fund consisting of two $2,000 academic scholarships. One of the recipients of the money this year was Brandon High School’s Edward Ciesla who will be attending USF this fall.
Feldman, who has turned the club presidency over to Jeffrey D. Reynolds of Morgan Stanley, also emphasized that each of the 77 members of the Rotary Club has 10 votes to determine the spread of the clubs giving and donations between the organizations that have received the nominations to be chosen for donations.
“This is the reason why each charity receives a different amount of money,” Feldman said and added, “Last year, we had five charities, and this year, we were able to bump it up to seven. I am looking forward to another great year.”
For more information or questions about the Brandon Rotary Club please visit www.brandonrotary.org, or call Feldman at Feldman’s Photography at 685-4343.