Courtesy of  Ray Leisy, Club Historian
Our topic this week involves the two largest fund raising projects in the history of Wooster Rotary. They are the Wooster Rotary Auction and the Parade of Flags. Both programs existed together for a short time period.

As the Wooster Gallery Auction entered the 2000s, it continued to sell antiques and collectibles year after year in the average amount of $200,000 with “profits” around $40,000 per year. At the same time the Wooster Rotary Club began to grant more and larger college scholarships, so it was important to continue the same income stream to fund scholarships and other Wooster Rotary projects. But, as the event approached its 40th year, Tom Cole, general manager, commented that the prices for antiques and collectibles were beginning to decease. Also, younger generations of buyers did not seem to find the same fascination with antiques and collectibles as their parents had.

The Board of Directors of Wooster Rotary took note of the fact and began searching for an alternative fund raising project or projects. One idea that appealed to the Board was a Parade of Flags project that a member noticed another Rotary Club had instituted with great success. Wooster Rotary also began their partnership with Wooster Arts-Jazz program about the same time.  But the focus was on a larger fund raising project, so in 2009, under the leadership of Paul Williams and Susan Marlar, the Wooster Parade of Flags was launched. The first year in 2009 over 800 flags were raised.

At the same time, the Rotary Auction continued at its normal pace, although evidently slowing. The decision was to set the 40th Rotary Auction as the last auction. So on April 4th and 5th, 2015, the Wooster Rotary Auction held its last auction. Dave Gallapoo and Chuck Dougherty, both of whom had been involved from the beginning, estimated that over $1 million dollars had been raised for the support of the Wooster community, including $50,000 towards a new pavilion at Oak Hill Park.

Do not forget to turn in your Wooster Rotary questionnaire sent out last week.  Also, do not forget to join us at Rotary on the 27th of October for the drawing and to hear the answers about Wooster Rotary’s 100 years of service.