Launch of the Rotarian Pro Bono Initiative in Capitol Hill

Rotarians could have a larger postive impact on their community if they used their professional skills to the benefit of local nonprofits.  I have mentioned the idea of the Pro Bono Rotarian on this blog in recent months. My club is launching a new pro bono pilot initiative on July 12 at the Hill Center in Washington, DC.

For readers of this blog living in the greater Washington, DC, area, I hope that you will be able to join us for the launch event. Our keynote speaker will be Eric Goldstein, the Founder and CEO of One World Education. Please spread the word about this event!

For those not living in the Washington, DC area who may be interested in the initiative, please don’t hesitate to post a comment on this blog or contact me if you would like to learn more about this initiative and how you could launch similar initiatives in your club.

The info on our launch event is provided here as well as below.

Launch of the Capitol Hill Pro Bono Initiative

Tuesday July 12, 2016 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Hill Center

Old Naval Hospital, 921 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003

To help us plan, please register at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8DDPLQK.

What? Help local nonprofits to achieve higher impact. As a lawyer, marketer, social media expert, evaluation specialist, or other professional, volunteer your skills to help nonprofits improve/expand their services.

Why? Because you can often make a larger impact in the community when you volunteer your skills to help nonprofits excel and grow.

How? Join an initiative from the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill in 2016-17 to provide pro bono advice to local nonprofits in Capitol Hill and beyond.

Who? This initiative is for Rotarians and others to engage in service work. Non-Rotarians are welcome to join teams advising participating nonprofits.

Keynote Speaker: Eric Goldstein, Founder of One World Education

One World Education is an innovative DC-based nonprofit running the largest writing program in DC public schools, reaching close to 6,000 students in 2015-16. A team from the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill and American University recently conducted an independent evaluation of One World Education, suggesting positive impacts and strong appreciation by teachers and students. Eric Goldstein will explain how the program works, why writing skills are essential for students to succeed in college and careers, and how nonprofits can benefit from professional pro bono advice.

Eric Goldstein is the founder of One World Education. Previously he was an educator in public, charter, and independent schools. He earned a US Department of the Interior Partners in Education Award while teaching in DC. Eric holds a Master’s in Education from the University of Vermont and a Master’s of International Policy from George Washington University. His career in education started after a solo 5,000-mile bicycle trip across the US in 1999.

 

 

2 thoughts on “Launch of the Rotarian Pro Bono Initiative in Capitol Hill

  1. Dear Quentin: As a Rotarian for what will be 38 years I have always had at least one Pro Bono project in my office. I stated my business in July of 1978 and became a Member of the Lansing (IL) Rotary Club in November of the same year. I’m really surprised that you feel it necessary to all of a sudden encourage Rotarians to use their professional skills to the benefit of local nonprofits. What do you think Rotary has always been about? Service above self is our directive. Now, I don’t want you to think that Rotary is the reason I do this because it goes back much further than 1978 for me. I grew up in a Baptist Church with a congregation of 60. I learned to donate my time long before I grew to adulthood. After marrying my wife of now 46 years, I went to the local church where we lived and wanted to volunteer as a teen director. The minister, who just happened to be my youth director when I was a teen, turned me down. It seems that my church doesn’t let people who are “unequally yoked” work with their youth My wife is of the Roman Catholic Faith. I didn’t give up and go hide under a bushel, I joined the Jaycees and continued volunteering. As a Jaycee I was asked to serve on the Board of Directors of a Sheltered Care Workshop for the Mentally Handicapped. A position I have held for 40 years. As a professional I have always donated my services to this organization, that is until the federal government stuck their noses in and said it was a Conflict of Interest on my part and that we had to hire an outside professional to do the work I was donating. That was due to the fact that we were using Fed Money (HUD), why that mattered I have no idea. So, if you really want to change things so that more professionals will donate and/or volunteer their services and while you’re sitting in the heart of where all these rules and laws are formed and enacted into law, maybe you and your club could change a few things. First, I would suggest you try to get the IRS to allow professionals to write off the time they spend helping nonprofits and secondly, figure out how a professional has a Conflict of Interest when he is donating his time. I didn’t write this to pat myself on the back. I wrote it to tell you that almost every member of my club works Pro Bono and/or Volunteers for an assortment of Nonprofits. I believe that at least in my District it is the rule and not the exception. So, I’m not sure why you think what you are pushing is necessary. Sincerely, Ed Lugowski Treasurer The Rotary Club of Lansing.

    • Thanks Ed. I applaud you on your volunteer contributions. Many Rotarians volunteer their skills well beyond their involvement in Rotary, as you do, and this is wonderful. What I have in mind with our pro bono initiative for my club is a bit different – we are trying to put together small teams of Rotarians and non-Rotarians to work together in a sustained way with local nonprofits to advise them professionally on some of the major challenges they face. Think of this as pro bono consulting. Few clubs to my knowledge do that but I believe this is a complementary way to do community service than what many clubs currently do, which is more traditional volunteering. For example, we could have a small team working on an impact evaluation for a nonprofit, or another team advising nonprofits on the best path for growth. So I want to encourage team-based strategic use of our skills to serve the community through well-defined pro bono engagement that last a few months for each nonprofit. That’s the idea, and if some clubs already do this, it is great!

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