Mission Accomplished - In Record Time!

Our District Raised $1.01 Million in Gifts and Bequests in Only Six Months

By Satya Mitra
District Governors Pat and Skip Doyle remember a quote, "Be careful what you wish for because you might get it.” They came up with the vision to start an unprecedented journey for our district to raise $1 million so we can celebrate a Million Dollar Dinner commemorating 2017 as the centennial year of The Rotary Foundation.
It was an exciting mission, and our district’s Foundation Committee, chaired by Sanjay Deshpande, announced Pat and Skip’s wish at its very first meeting of this Rotary year, last September 14. The committee created a Million Dollar Dinner Journey Subcommittee, and Sanjay, with the support of Pat and Skip, appointed me as its chair.
 While I loved the challenge, it is historically known that to raise this amount of money and receive major commitments usually takes two to three years. Traditionally, a project, to raise $1 million - comprised of direct giving and bequests – requires training by a Rotary Zone expert. The adviser and expert on Million Dollar Dinners in our Zone 32 was Past District Governor Mac Leask, who lives in Fairfield, Connecticut.
Training is meant for 10 table captains, who are given the responsibility to do their best and together raise $1 million. We had seven table captains. Mac was very graceful, coming all the way from Fairfield last November 17 to give us the training and all needed information, to help us accomplish the mission to raise at least $1 million. We are thankful to Mac for sharing his knowledge and ideas with us.
So, the Million Dollar Dinner Committee and its seven table captains started the journey. Our table captains are (alphabetical, by last name):
  • Victor Bhakta, Leominster Rotary
  • Val Callahan, Worcester Rotary
  • Robert Guernsey, Tyngsborough-Dunstable Rotary
  • Steve Levitsky, Concord Rotary
  • Arnie Miller, Brookline Rotary
  • Tom Polito, Neponset Valley Rotary
  • John Sbrogna, Montachusett Area Rotary
This drive was launched to create an opportunity for our members and friends to give or pledge to the Endowment Fund a cumulative total of $1 million in the form of one or more of the following:
  1. An outright contribution - major gift - of at least $10,000 in cash or appreciated stock
  2. A bequest of at least $10,000 established through one’s will
  3. The designation of the Foundation as a beneficiary for at least $10,000 in a life-insurance policy, including a term policy or a retirement account such as a 401(k), 403(b) or IRA
  4. A commitment to donate only $277.78 per month for 36 months - totaling $10,000
We were determined to use effectively our training and knowledge to raise the goal amount this Rotary year – although, we were told that had yet to be accomplished by any district anywhere. But we also believed in ourselves, and moved forward.
We wanted our district’s Million Dollar Dinner celebration to take place during this Rotary year. Many of our friends and fellow Rotarians believed in Rotary’s mission, “Do Good in the World,” and started to either donate direct gifts or pledge a bequest. The passion, the faith, and the hard work paid off. I am so excited to inform all of you that as of last Friday, our district had raised gifts and pledges totaling $1,010,000! It certainly is unbelievable that in only six months – from last September 14 through this March 17 - we accomplished our goal.
One of our table captains, Arnie Miller, brought in a commitment of $80,000 on March 17 - St. Patrick's Day - hitting not only the million-dollar target, but also exceeding it! A million thanks to Arnie and the rest of the table captains!
Pat and Skip Doyle have congratulated our team for its successful drive to raise gifts and pledges exceeding $1 million. “On behalf of Rotary International, the Rotary Foundation and the entire Rotary family, we extend sincere thanks to all of you who have made a large gift, or pledged a bequest or have contributed in any other way to this successful drive,” they state. “Now, it is time for all of us join together in the Million Dollar Dinner event celebrating the 100th year of the Rotary Foundation.”
Past District Governor Carol Toomey has volunteered to chair and coordinate our Million Dollar Dinner event. She is planning to have a Rotary Foundation birthday-party celebration that will be remembered for a long time. The gala Centennial Year celebration will be held on Thursday, May 25 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Mechanics Hall in Worcester. Additional details will follow soon.
Rotary International Director and Vice President-Elect Hendreen Dean Rohrs will be the chief guest and keynote speaker. It is time to get excited - everyone should join this historic birthday bash, and celebrate. The celebration is for everyone! So, every Rotarian in our district is welcomed to join the celebration.
Sanjay Deshpande (shown, left) has congratulated our Million Dollar Journey team, adding, “Although we have reached the million-dollar target, we are not stopping here. We will continue to bring in more donations and bequest pledges, to add more to the endowment funds of the Rotary Foundation, and continue this journey. Please be generous and support our mission. While 2016-’17 - being the 100th year of the Rotary Foundation and the very first year our district has launched a Million Dollar journey - is the best year to contribute, the District Foundation Committee will strive to raise pledges of another $1 million during 2017-‘18.
“Let’s all contribute to the best of our ability and, thus, Do More Good in the World,” Sanjay continues. “When these pledges do get realized, each $1 million in the Endowment Fund will generate at least $20,000 in district-designated funds for our District and Global Grants program.”
Congratulations to the Million Dollar Journey team for successfully meeting this Million Dollar challenge, and getting the job done!  We are truly blessed!
Assistant Governor Satya Mitra, chair of the Million Dollar Dinner Journey Committee, may be reached at satya@thegurutax.com
If you have any questions about the District Foundation Committee, contact District Foundation Committee Chair Sanjay Deshpande at sanjdesh51@aol.com.
For the Foundation Notes archive, click here
Learn more about District 7910 Foundation Grants: