Members of the Rotary Club of Buffalo were happily surprised during their June 27 meeting to witness a $50,000 donation to the club’s Service Fund announced by NOCO Energy Chairman Reginald Newman. Newman, whose father founded NOCO in Tonawanda in 1933, said his donation was being made in honor of his 50th anniversary with the Rotary Club of Buffalo.
The donation came during the last meeting of the club’s fiscal year, when President Michael Grimaldi, a partner at Lumsden & McCormick LLP, looked back at the year’s accomplishments and ceremoniously turned over leadership to incoming President James Tyrpak, founder of Tyrpak Financial Associates.
In a pre-arranged rouse, Service Fund Co-chair Tony Diina, President of Metrodata Services and Insight Associates, announced that this year’s campaign had exceeded its goal, but there were a few club members who had not yet pledged support. Diina emphasized the importance of the funds, which are allocated annually to local community organizations through the Buffalo Rotary Foundation. He then gave “stragglers” a last-minute opportunity to donate.
“I haven’t heard from people like Reg Newman,” Diina teased. "What kind of fine might be appropriate for someone who hasn't supported the Service Fund yet?"
Newman stood up in answer to Diina's tease and said, “$50,000 would be appropriate.”
Club members gave Newman a standing ovation for his donation, which put the Service Fund’s grand total at more than $87,000 this year. Over the last 20 years alone, club members’ generous donations through the Buffalo Rotary Foundation have provided more than $1 million in charitable grants for much needed operational support, personnel, equipment and educational materials to address such critical issues as poverty, health, hunger, illiteracy and the environment in Buffalo and Western New York. Newman was President of the club in 1970-1971, when the foundation was started.
The club also announced its second year of sponsorship and participation in the 2013 Game Changers program, which begins June 28 at the Belle Center and the Delavan-Grider Community Center in Buffalo and the Packard Community Center in Niagara Falls for children aged 10-18.
“The program was so successful in its first year, because of the involvement of Rotary and other partners," said Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown, "that we’ve expanded to three sites this year—one on the East Side of Buffalo, one on the West Side of Buffalo and one in Niagara Falls.”
Game Changers is a partnership of the City of Buffalo, the regional office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Medaille College. For eight consecutive Fridays, the program meets to “change the game” of life for children. Participants are provided a safe environment where they can learn basketball skills, learn life skills from community leaders and build new positive relationships. Game Changers is just one of many projects the club is involved in as part of its "service above self" motto.
The mission of Rotary Club of Buffalo is to provide fellowship and networking opportunities for business, professional and community leaders, to provide service to the community, to promote high ethical standards and to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace. Its meetings are open to the public and held every Thursday at 12:15 p.m. at Templeton Landing restaurant (2 Templeton Terrace, Buffalo, NY 14202). In 2010, Rotary Club of Buffalo officially marked 100 years of service to Buffalo, with 150 current active members serving the local and international communities. In addition to distributing many one-time grants, Rotary Club of Buffalo has contributed to such significant projects as the founding of the Boy’s and Girl’s Club (1926); establishing Sunshine Day at Cradle Beach (1945); Rotary Lane next to Mirror Lake (now Hoyt Lake) in Delaware Park; Rotary Rink in Fountain Plaza; Rotary Park next to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fontana Boathouse (for which Buffalo Rotary was a large contributor) and installing the 100-foot-high Rotary Flagpole with 30’ x 60’ flag at the Buffalo & Erie County Naval & Military Park in downtown Buffalo. Rotary Club of Buffalo is part of Rotary International, a worldwide organization founded in 1905 in Chicago. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 33,000 clubs in 200 countries and geographical areas. Rotary Club of Buffalo was the 28th club in the world. For more information about Rotary Club of Buffalo, visit www.buffalorotary.org.