Local Rotary Club Invests in Future Workforce

Rotary ClubWhen a longtime member of the Rotary Club of Schaumburg/Hoffman Estates announced she wanted to donate $100,000 to the organization, the club saw an opportunity to create a positive and lasting change in the community.

Rotarians embraced the philosophy that rather than give people a fish, it’s better to teach them to fish.

That approach resulted in the Rotary Club of Schaumburg/Hoffman Estates Fishing Well Scholarship to support adult students at Harper College who are overcoming challenges.

“We want to support adults who want a better life through education, and we found the right partner in Harper,” said Eileen Higginbotham, the club’s Director of Community Service. “This is a scholarship that can help strengthen the community from the inside out.”

Impressed with the partnership and substantial interest among scholarship applicants, the club decided to match the individual donor’s gift, bringing the Rotary Club’s combined donation to the Harper College Educational Foundation to $200,000.

Rotarians recently presented Harper President Dr. Ken Ender with a check (a "2" was added to reflect the club's announcement it was doubling the amount) at their weekly luncheon. He applauded members for taking action that will make a significant difference.

“Individuals with big ideas and lots of tenacity – and ways in which they can connect with others – can do just about anything they want to do,” he said.

The Fishing Well Scholarship, which initially will provide $25,000 in annual funding, is about more than providing financial assistance. Recipients, who will be at least 24 years old, also will be paired with mentors from the club.

The Rotary Club also established a $5,000 transfer scholarship for Harper students who plan to transfer to a four-year college or university, as well as an emergency fund for students facing a short-term financial crisis.

The scholarships are available beginning this fall semester to adult students who live or work in Schaumburg Township.

Rotary hopes to grow the Fishing Well Scholarship exponentially over the next few years. Higginbotham said the plan is to use much of the matching funds as challenge grants, meaning Rotary would match future gifts in hopes of stimulating giving from other donors.

“When you bring resources and motivated people together, it’s a conduit for good things to happen,” Higginbotham said.

Last year, the Harper College Educational Foundation distributed nearly $785,000 in scholarships, grants and awards. To learn more, visit harpercollege.edu/foundation.

Media contact:Kim Pohl, Media Relations Manager, 847.925.6159