About Our Club
 
imageThe Poulsbo-North Kitsap Rotary Club became 40 years old in 2016. Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island and the Rotary Club of Silverdale, the Poulsbo-North Kitsap Rotary Club was chartered by Rotary International on November 11, 1976 with 25 original members. The Charter Night celebration was held at the Poplars Restaurant in Silverdale, where our club became one of 57 clubs in what was then Rotary District 502. Our first fundraiser was an Easter Pancake Breakfast. Our first projects consisted of picnic tables for public parks in Poulsbo, Kingston, and at Buck Lake in Hansville, and bookshelves for the Martha and Mary Nursing Home in Poulsbo. 

Club weekly breakfast meetings at the Sons of Norway in Poulsbo draw our members together and inform them about issues and events in our community through weekly programs, usually with guest speakers from the community. Club meetings promote membership and camaraderie. Sustaining our membership is one of the club’s most important functions.
 
40 years of Poulsbo Rotary
 
In the early years our club focus was growth and social activities. As the years passed, there have been many changes–the biggest being the inclusion of women in what was a bastion of male camaraderie. Over the years our club's focus evolved from a social club into a pro-youth, international service oriented club that now serves as a model for service clubs in Poulsbo and throughout our Rotary District. Our club now has more than 125 members who support wonderful social events including our annual club picnic, periodic fellowship events at local restaurants, an annual Christmas Dinner, and periodic Fireside gatherings for new and old members alike. We shifted from flipping pancakes at Easter and selling Orange Julius during Viking Fest to our annual Dinner Auction, which over the years has been the our club's most significant fundraiser. In 2015, the club sponsored a new type of event, a community bicycle race and fun ride called Viking Tour. The first event was a big success, and we plan on continuing to grow this event in the future. Our club’s participation in the Kitsap Great Give was also a new and significant fundraising effort that we plan to continue in future years.

Our club serves the community in many ways. Each year a major portion of our funds raised is awarded to numerous other organizations within our community–for example, awards to North Kitsap schools and various other organizations for projects supporting education, to the Poulsbo Historical Society to improve and expand its presence in our community, to the City of Poulsbo Parks and Recreation programs and annual children’s Easter Egg Hunt, and to a multitude of other specific requests from local charitable organizations. Each year our club has also undertaken hands-on type projects, including the remodeling of Eli’s House (a domestic violence transition duplex in Poulsbo owned now by the Kitsap YWCA) and various park projects, including work at both Oyster Plant Park and Poulsbo's Fish Park. In 1995 our club sponsored and continues to support the NKHS INTERACT Club, a community service club similar to Rotary but with high school student members. During the past 40 years we have awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in college scholarships to local high school students. We supported the Poulsbo Marine Science Center with over $30,000 during their move to downtown Poulsbo. The Club's single largest fundraising project has been in support of the Olympic College Remote Campus in Poulsbo, where we pledged (over multiple years) and funded $100,000. Community service remains at the heart of what we do as a club.

Two recent community service projects deserve special mention because they demonstrate how our club is finding effective ways to partner with other organizations to improve the community. The club determined that homeless youth was a problem in North Kitsap and established a partnership with a Bremerton based non-profit, The Coffee Oasis, to establish a local Coffee Oasis center in Poulsbo to serve the community with a fine coffee shop and to attract and serve homeless youth with counseling and opportunity. Our club worked with the City of Poulsbo to completely refurbish and furnish a public site where Coffee Oasis could be established. Second, but no less important, the club has embarked on a significant expansion of our County's domestic violence prevention transition facilities. The Morrow Manor project, a $2.1 million fundraising effort in partnership with the YWCA of Kitsap County and the City of Poulsbo, will fund the construction of 8 new family dwellings to offer safe, supportive, longer-term affordable housing for survivors of domestic violence in Kitsap County. More than half of the required funds have already been pledged.

Another club focus is vocational service. Our club's initial vocational effort was the Rotary House Project, which enabled the North Kitsap High School carpentry class to participate in building about 20 houses in the greater Poulsbo area over many years. This program gained recognition within Rotary at the community, district and national levels for its self-sustaining capability and the benefits gained by the students and school district. Changes in school district priorities resulted in our cancelling this program in 2005. One vocational focus for our club in recent years has been to ensure that deserving local students, both those graduating high school and those coming to a new career later in life, receive scholarship funds to pursue vocational objectives at the local community college or through other organizations providing education that doesn't necessarily lead to the traditional college degree. The club has worked with educators and other organization to promote and teach project management as part of the new national focus on STEM education. Club members also participate in student mentoring programs and in student career days.

Our club sponsors international projects, both with other charitable organizations and in partnership with Rotary International and other Rotary Clubs throughout the world. A keystone of the club's dedication to International service is our annual sponsorship of inbound and outbound exchange students. Each year we host and send high school aged students to learn about a part of the world different than the one from which they came. The future benefits of this program, funded and managed by Rotarians all over the world, are inestimable. Also, working with the Rotary International Foundation and with other Rotary Clubs throughout the world, our club has sponsored numerous multiyear development and improvement projects where our club's funds are multiplied by contributions of other Rotarians world wide to enable a partner club in another country to complete a project in one of Rotary's areas of focus, promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education, or growing local economies. 

The Poulsbo-North Kitsap Rotary Foundation is a separate fundraising and charitable giving 501(c)3 organization administered and governed by members of our club. It is also a separate Washington non profit corporation. All charitable donations to our club are held and administered by the Foundation. Funds remaining at the conclusion of the House Project were used to establish within the Foundation an endowment to be used educational purposes within our community, including university and vocational scholarships. The Foundation ensures that all charitable donations to our club are kept separate from other club funds and activities, and that all Foundation funds are administered in accordance with federal and state regulations for charitable organizations.

Our club has also been a strong supporter of the Rotary International Foundation (different from the Poulsbo-North Kitsap Rotary Foundation). In addition to contributing many thousands of dollars to Rotary's world wide efforts to eradicate polio, the RI Polio Plus program, our club has produced many Paul Harris Fellows and Paul Harris Sustaining Members–members recognized for their significant and continuing contributions to the Rotary International Foundation. The Rotary Foundation offers grants that support a wide variety of projects, scholarships, and training that Rotarians are doing around the world. All donations from individual club members to the RI Foundation are separate from other fund raising monies generated by the club and the community.