Rotary Clubs Listened: Telling the Story is the First Step

Guest blog by Jo Whitehouse

The final check!

The final check!

Last year, I teamed up with Frances Boscacci, a wonderful person who has an open heart and believes that we all share this little boat called Planet Earth. She is from Nicaragua and passionate about helping others help themselves. Her smile would melt an igloo at 30 feet. She is also head of the International Program for the Rotary Club of Burlingame, where my husband is a long-time member.

The thermometer was filled up over 6 months to show fundraising progress.

The thermometer was filled up over 6 months to show fundraising progress.

Together we proposed raising $30,000 for much needed medical equipment at the ASRI Clinic. And 6 months later, we sent the check for $30,000 to Health In Harmony and said a HUGE THANK YOU to the Rotary Clubs of Burlingame, South San Francisco, San Mateo, Foster City, and Bozeman, Montana!

Here is what happened: we met with the Board and got their buy-in (as well as double the amount of money usually allocated for international programs); we presented to the Rotary Club of Burlingame and received some enthusiastic donations; we met with representatives from other Rotary Clubs on the Peninsula who were responsible for support from other Clubs; we presented to several other Clubs who joined forces with Burlingame. It did take time – but it was so much fun – especially as Frances kept the momentum going until we crossed that finish line.

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Jo (right) and Frances (left) ...or is that a chimp?!

Here is the surprise: I am a terrible fundraiser (I hate asking people for money) – but I am a very good story teller. I told them about the Friendship Tour to Sukadana in April 2014 – about the Clinic where Indonesian physicians and nurses work to provide high-quality medical and dental care that is affordable, about the conservation work where people learn about the importance of the rain forest and understand that it is a treasure, about the sustainable agriculture program where farmers learn to brew their own fertilizers and pesticides to increase their productivity, about a program for widows where the gift of a goat provides income and allows them to survive, and about an incredible program for kids taught by a pied piper who inspires these children to learn. The story resonated with Rotarians who joined forces to make the campaign a great success.

Here is the challenge: continue to tell this Health In Harmony story about an amazing project in Borneo that saves rain forests, provides health care, teaches kids and adults, and reduces poverty. WOW!

About Jo Whitehouse

Jo serves as the Chair of the Health In Harmony Board of Directors and was a trip participant on the 2014 Friendship Tour. She is based in San Francisco, CA.

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