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Rotary donation to make a difference for nonprofits
Rotary Club of Gainesville President Rick Boyd, right, passes the gavel to incoming President Rob Fowler Monday afternoon during the club’s end-of-year meeting at the First Baptist Church Banquet Hall.

The Rotary Club of Gainesville donated more than $20,000 to local nonprofit groups at its meeting Monday — a move that made Jan Ros get a little teary eyed.

Ros works with Eagle Ranch, one of the organizations receiving a donation. She said just stepping back and thinking about the work the ranch does for the community makes her realize how important the organization is.

"I really do get emotional about it because of the work that we do with children and their families," said Ros, director of advancement for Eagle Ranch. "It’s important to the children, and it affects generations."

Eagle Ranch, a children’s home in Chestnut Mountain, received $2,500 from the Rotary Club’s Hart Joiner Endowment Fund, which is geared at supporting programs for children and youth.

The ranch is in its 25th year, and 80 percent of every donation goes directly to supporting kids.

"It just means that we can keep helping the kids that God’s sending our way," Ros said. "The economy’s tough, and we couldn’t exist without gifts like this."

The endowment fund also gave $2,500 to Challenged Child and Friends, which supports children with disabilities and is also celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Other organizations receiving donations include Gainesville State College’s Summer Scholars Institute, Center Point, Teen Pregnancy Prevention, Girl Scouts of Historic Georgia, Boy Scouts of Northeast Georgia, Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club’s GOAL Fund and the Gainesville-Hall County Alliance for Literacy.

"Our emphasis is on youth and youth development," said Rick Boyd, who completed his term as the Rotary Club’s president at Monday’s meeting. "We felt like everything we did should be trying to help the youth of our community."

For Gainesville State College’s Summer Scholars Institute, the donation means support for education.

The program teaches academic skills to "at-risk" middle school students and focuses on helping them finish their educations.

"Not only have most of them completed high school after going through this program, but many of them have gone on to secondary education," Gainesville State President Martha Nesbitt said.

Jeanne Hozak, secretary for the Alliance for Literacy, said she isn’t sure exactly how her organization will use its $3,000 donation.

But she knows it will do good work.

"With these economic times, every additional donation is such a major assistance," Hozak said. "The alliance plays such an important part in our community by assisting individuals who are trying to better themselves."

The alliance provides services for GED preparation and learning English as a second language in addition to teaching the basics of reading.

"We’ve touched the lives of so many individuals," Hozak said, "but in effect, their lives then go out and touch our community."