Deadline March 3 for Rotary community service grant

Deadline is March 3 to submit applications for community service grants to be awarded by Rotary Club of Oak Harbor.

“The community grants are intended to promote the quality of life in the greater Oak Harbor area by supporting nonprofit organizations in the community that have special projects or needs, which are not funded by general funding sources,” said Kurt Schonberg said, executive director of human resources for Oak Harbor Public Schools and a member of the Rotary Club, which meets at noon Fridays.

While Schonberg serves as chair of the selection committee, he said the program is the brainchild of Rotarian George Saul, who recently returned from a year-long hiatus, but has not yet resumed his role on the selection committee.

Schonberg said he and the other members of the selection committee, Aaron Syring and Jill Johnson, ensure that any application for funds from Rotary meet certain criteria.

“People often come to the club and do a presentation or do a call-out for money,” Schonberg said. “There was a feeling within the club that said we needed to rationalize the giving.”

Criteria applicants must meet in order for consideration is threefold, including: The awarded funds must make a significant impact on the applicant’s project (and thus the community); applicants must be a North-Whidbey organization, and; all must they be nonprofits.

Schonberg said that, this year, Hydros for Heroes donated $1,000 tagged as “other,” which ostensibly means that such an award could be granted to an organization without a nonprofit classification.

As far as the “significant impact” criterion goes, Schonberg said it was to make the maximum impact with the club’s donation.

“An example of something that might be a struggle for us is, let’s say you have an organization that needs $150,000 for a new ambulance or a new vehicle … if our sum-total of giving is $3,000 or $4,000, we’re not going to put much of a dent in your thermometer.”

Organizations with programs benefiting from the grant program include the Impaired Driving Impact Panel of Island County, SPIN Cafe, the Boys & Girls Club, Opportunity Council and Habitat for Humanity.

• Grant submissions must be emailed to by March 3. Call 360-279-5012 for information or visit

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