Robin Cushing took the mike to give us an overview of her role as Director of Community Service.  I might add that she also holds the title of Director of New Generations, and as her presentation showed, the roles overlap.  Her portfolio breaks down into four categories and she discussed our activities in each.


These projects vary from year to year.  Recent projects include:

r Manning the Salvation Army Kettles at Costco, led by Lloyd Houghton.

r Building a new lawn mower storage shed for Threshold Housing Society’s holly House.  Robin led the charge on this one.

r Bill Brown and Robin organized members to provide Santa, elves and pancake servers at the Vic-West Santa breakfast for over 100 children.

r We provided supplies and volunteers to paint the interior of the Harbourside Boys & Girls Club.  Michele Wilson was the leader.

r We continue to man the daily breakfast program at Central Middle School.  We have now taken on one day a week at Quadra Elementary.  Wayne Ford is the chair of this ongoing activity, and Robin seemed to pay particular attention to him.  (?)

Robin recognized all the members who had worked on these projects and appealed to the membership to step up when asked.  The chairs cannot do this alone – many hands lighten the load.

Leadership Activities

This year we are participating for the first time in Rotary’s Adventure in Citizenship Program.  We are funding a high school student between 16-18 years old to Ottawa where he/she will learn up close about our democratic institutions.  Students explore Canadian identity, shared values and the implications of the freedoms we enjoy as Canadians.  They are billeted by the Ottawa Rotary Club. Wayne Shillington interjected to tell us that his first Rotary experience was on this program in 1967.

Most of us have heard of RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.)  Harbourside sponsors 3-4 secondary school students (although it is open to young adults up to age 30) to participate in this four day, leadership camp at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington.  Attendees hear from professional speakers, debate issues in workshops, and form lasting friendships.  The object is to have them develop as leaders, grow as individuals, but most of all, have fun. 

Along with the Victoria and Oak Bay Rotary Clubs, we sponsor the University of Victoria Rotaract Club, essentially a junior Rotary Club, whose scope, it is hoped, will be expanded beyond UVic.  We will be sending two or three Rotaractors to PETS in March.  Robin appealed for someone to take on the chair role with Rotaract as Pheng Heng has caught the “baby plague.”  (Robin’s words.)  Damian Sowa almost volunteered and Robin will be making sure he gets all the way there.

Interact is much like Rotaract except it is in high schools.  Several schools in the Greater Victoria area have them and Harbourside is trying to set one up at Vic High.

Robin is looking for a volunteer to oversee all these activities.


We provide three different scholarships.  Patrick Morris looks after the high school scholarships.  The Club awards these each year to applicants graduating in any of the Sooke (SD 62), Saanich (SD 63) or Victoria (SD 61) school districts who are going on to post-secondary education.  Applications close May 31 and we award five scholarships of $1,000 each.  (Scribe’s note – hearing the résumés of these kids each year makes me realize what a slacker I was in my youth.)

The Michael Potter scholarships were started with seed money from Michael Potter in 1996, combined with money from Harbourside and from the school districts.  The original fund of $240,000 was turned over to Camosun College to administer, with the intention that a Grade 12 student who has overcome significant hurdles or hardship in getting to university would receive a four-year scholarship out of the income from the fund.  Apparently the disbursements were not properly tracked by Camosun and there have been no scholarships awarded for about three years.  George Prince and Susan Kurushima are trying to set things right with Camosun’s assistance.

Lastly, we provide an annual $2,000 scholarship to the Camosun College Culinary program in appreciation them permitting us to use the kitchen for Cakes fundraiser. Ann Moskow is the boss here.


Harbourside Rotary Club has its own Foundation, a charity registered with Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).  With the endowment of $1 million from Michael Potter in 2000, this now provides a large part of our community donations.  Funding requests are received through the club’s web site and a committee (members of neither board) vets the requests and forwards those that seem to fit the bill to the Club and Foundation boards.  While it is a separate entity, there is strong link between the Foundation and the Club.  A popular way to support the Harbourside Foundation is for members to donate an amount (at least) equal to their age on their birthdays.  It provides grants for projects that address a community need in areas such as poverty, education, health and well-being.  CRA requires that certain minimum amounts be spent each year, but only to registered charities.  This year’s quota of about $55,000 includes an unspent amount from 2012-13.  Maureen Duncan is the Foundation board chair.

Club donations follow the same track as those for the Foundation, but are not limited by CRA requirements.  New this year is a fixed timetable for applications and decisions – applications for grants over $500 will be accepted in the window of January 1 to March 1, with decisions by May 1.  The budget for club donations of $19,000 is likely a little light because of the success of our fundraising.  The budget is arrived at by taking the 70% of fundraising dedicated to local community activities and deducting items like support for the leadership activities and scholarships.

Robin concluded by stating that we encourage applications from all non-profit organizations.  Our preferred focus is on youth, at-risk persons and families.

President Mary thanked Robin for her very thorough and well prepared presentation.  And as noted later, even Ken Milbrath felt compelled to spend a happy buck to express his thanks to Robin.

Scribe’s note – There is considerable confusion around the Michael Potter scholarships, and it might be worthwhile for someone who knows the history to write it up and present it as a Harbourside 5.