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How to create a Project Helping Hand program for your Rotary club

 

The structure of a Project Helping Hand program is simple. It has been specifically designed by the Monterey Peninsula Sunrise Rotary Club (MPSRC) as an effective method of providing grants directly to where they are most needed and most likely to do the greatest good. We have found that the type of teachers who take the time to apply for PHH grants are precisely those who make the biggest difference in their schools, as they often possess the enthusiasm and creative drive so essential in an effective teacher. I'm sure that you'll be inspired by the educators your program helps and the potential your grants provide.

 

First you’ll need at least one enthusiastic club member willing to take a leadership role as project chair. Chances are that if you're reading this guide, you're that person. 

 

To get the project going, you’ll need to seek the support of your club's board. Rules of procedure should be established and submitted for your board’s approval. Please feel free to reference our PHH guidlines, as a template when creating your PHH program.

 

Next an annual budget needs to be established. There are many different avenues available to fund the PHH program. They include club funds, district support through District Grants, community grants and personal donations. When applying to outside funding sources, you may consider stipulating that the program entails minimal operating overhead. All money included in your PHH budget should be distributed directly and entirely through the grant program to participating schools. 

 

Essential to deciding on the size of the budget, is determining how large of a program you and your club wish to create. In order to be effective, the project’s scope should not exceed the capacity of your PHH committee. Ideally you should have at least one committee member assigned to each school you’ll include in the program. Assuming you have five members willing to serve on the PHH committee, five schools is a good start for the program. An initial budget of $3,000 for these five schools should be sufficient for your first fiscal year. Assigning committee members to a particular school encourages long term friendships and contact with the community that club members may not have otherwise established. It will also make the maintenance of the program that much smoother if your committee has personal and direct access to the school. Committee members should be responsible for ensuring that all applicable receipts are provided and be available to answer questions from the school’s teachers and parents. As soon as you have a PHH committee established, ask each participant to contact the principal of their targeted school to discuss the program. Consider providing the program’s Mission Statement and PHH Guidlines.

 

Now you’re ready to start receiving grant requests. If you've done a good job explaining the program to your targeted schools, it won't be long before the requests arrive. Once your committee receives grants, decide which to fund based on the objectives of your program. The projecthelpinghandrotary.org website had word documents which you are welcome to use as templates when communicating with your schools. It’s good to note that for distribution and accounting purposes, many schools require that checks are made out to the school’s PTA. 

 

At least twice a year, consider making a short presentation to your club regarding the grants you have provided. When possible, you may wish to share with your club any thank you letters or photos you may receive from grant recipients. Chances are that your fellow club members will appreciate learning how the club's funds benefited the community. As in any Rotary endeavor, the more club involvement you are able to encourage, the more success your PHH program is likely to achieve.

 

When applicable, consider turning grant requests into service project opportunities. For example, if a school asks for funds to repaint a classroom, suggest that in addition to providing the money for the supplies, that your club volunteer their time as painters for the project. This service opportunity will expand the number of club members involved with your Project Helping Hand program as well as, raise the profile of your club in the community.

 

It’s a good idea to maintain a work file for each project. This work file should include all correspondence between the school and your committee. For accounting purposes, be sure to include a scanned copy of your grant check and any applicable receipts. Accurate and complete record keeping inspires community trust in the program and facilitates a historical knowledge of the program for future committee members. For your reference, a sample work file is included on this website. 

 

As you distribute grants, consider keeping a list of grants, as it will be helpful both for your accounting as well as, to advertise the type of grants your PHH committee provides. In order for me to maintain an accounting of the total grants the National PHH program has funded, at the end of the fiscal year please email this list of grants to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . This list appears on the projecthelpinghandrotary.org website, so check it out to see what other clubs are doing with their PHH programs.

 

Project Helping Hand is intended to be a bottom-up approach to charitable giving. It usually takes more than money to fix a problem. However, adding a little bit of money to the right place is all that a dedicated teacher needs to make education both interesting and effective. As our name suggests, the program is not intended to do all the work, rather we extend a hand to assist our teachers in the heavy lifting they do every day for our children. With your help, this simple program can make a real difference in the lives of countless children. Should you require any help in setting up your PHH program, please feel free to contact me directly, as I’m always happy to lend a hand.


Greg Migdale

Project Helping Hand Creative Director
Monterey Peninsula Sunrise Rotary Club

 

 

Sample Budget

sample-budget

 

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Sample Application Process

sample-app-process

Sample Contract 

sample-approval-letter

Sample Check Letter

sample-check-letter

Sample Work File

sample-work-file