PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — The Presque Isle Rotary Club continued its seven-decade tradition of supporting local non-profit organizations recently by disbursing funds raised during the 71st annual Rotary Auction to their auction partners.
Last November, nearly 500 items valued at more than $50,000, donated from businesses and organizations across Aroostook County and beyond, went up for auction live and online. The new online component aimed to help the auction adapt to the 21st century, organizers said.
“Now more than seven decades strong, the Presque Isle Rotary Auction stands as a true testament to the Aroostook County community that supports it, and the community that in turn benefits each year from its proceeds. Since its inception, it has been the signature event of our Rotary Club,” said 2018-2019 Presque Isle Rotary Club President Jason Parent.
“More importantly, the millions of dollars that have been raised through, and in conjunction with, the auction have resulted in so many community programs and projects that might not have otherwise happened and arguably have been made better as a result of Rotary’s partnership. This is certainly true of the 2018 joint community project with the Presque Isle Kiwanis Club — the Children’s Advocacy Center — and the numerous community organizations that received funding support for key projects across our area,” Parent said.
The idea of a community project started in 2017 with the Riverside Community Park, which celebrated its grand opening late last fall. The Presque Isle Rotary and Kiwanis clubs united again for the 2018 auction to raise funds for the Children’s Advocacy Center, which is operated by the Aroostook Mental Health Center and provides services and support to children who are victims of sexual assault.
November’s auction raised more than $25,000 to purchase furnishings for the facility and other items for the children they serve.
“The past two years, Kiwanis and Rotary have come together to leverage our efforts to fundraise for community projects. As the old adage goes, ‘Together we can move mountains.’ Well, we are certainly doing that with the joint efforts of the members of both our organizations,” said auction co-chair Clint Deschene.
“I feel our collaboration has brought energy and a shared vision for the future of our community. I am looking forward to seeing our relationship grow to make an even more lasting impact with future projects,” he added.
Auction funds also went to the club’s proceed partners, all community non-profit organizations. The Presque Isle ATV Club received $2,000; $3,000 went to Hope & Justice Project; and Presque Isle High School Athletic Boosters, Friends of Aroostook and Grace Interfaith Food Table (GIFT) Food Pantry each received $1,500.
Auction co-chair Sarah Ennis commented, “Local community support has been the heart of our club for 71 years now. When we partner with these proceed partners, we multiply the impact made by each group on their own. The Presque Isle Rotary Club firmly believes in service above self. To our club it is more than just our motto, it is a service that we are giving that truly is coming from our hearts.”
Organizers have already begun planning for the 72nd auction and will release additional details on that effort later.
The Presque Isle Rotary Club has about 100 members.
To learn more about Rotary, visit www.PresqueIsleRotary.org or contact any Rotary member.