Posted by Bette Miller, District Grants Chair
For some Rotary clubs, the funding assistance provided by District Simplified Grants and District Matching Grants has meant that projects were enabled that could not have happened without the assistance of the funding from our Rotary Foundation. 25% of the money that clubs contributed to the Annual Fund in 2017-18 was made available to the District for qualified clubs to use to help them undertake small local or international projects of a humanitarian nature.
In spite of Covid-19, we had a busy year with most local projects helping to support activities that were made more important and timely because of the restrictions and hardships by the pandemic.
Let’s look at how clubs have used these funds here in D7040 communities.
The Rotary Club of Arnprior undertook the very timely and much needed installation of two Bicycle Repair Stations to be installed by the Town in the Arnprior in an area to enhance the Millennium Trails project we gave the town in 2000. One of this year’s project objectives was to be able to ensure that it could be quickly implemented and beneficial with minimal risk even if the COVID -19 restrictions continue.  This project falls under Community Development area of focus and will support and help encourage residents to take advantage of our local outdoor amenities and get physical exercise.  The project also raises awareness of Arnprior as a place to stop and visit for Cyclists. 
In Orleans, the Rotary Club of D7040 Passport provided assistance to improve accessibility to the computer work areas at a facility that specializes in providing assistance with inclusion for people with disabilities. The computer lab allows participants to safely access the greater world through accessible computers. It will also allow some non-verbal participants to learn new ways of communication through emerging computer programming.
The Rotary Club of Petawawa saw the need to help support emergency counselling at a mental health walk-in clinic.  The Robbie Dean Center is an emergency counselling service designed to provide a walk-in clinic, short-term counselling, loss and grief support, community training and presentations as they work to research, educate, assist, connect and provide hope.
The Lanark County Foodbank received assistance from the Rotary Club of Carleton Place-Mississippi Mills with the purchase of a commercial freezer to replace one that was worn-out and malfunctioning. The Food Bank indirectly benefits all citizens of Lanark County by offering support to those people who for any reason cannot afford suitable food on their own. The demand has been particularly great this year due to layoffs associated with Covid-19.
Dictionary4Life, led by the Rotary Club of West Ottawa, continues to provide a gift of literacy, Dictionary4Life book, to grade 3 youth in our District. Steadily rising since 2011, the number of D7040 clubs involved has grown from 2 clubs to 18 in 2020.  Fifteen of the clubs are in District 7040, two in New Brunswick and one in British Columbia.  The number of schools was 3 and 1 homework club in 2011 and in 2020 there were 35-40 recipient schools.  Beginning in 2011, 256 books were ordered and the order in December 2019 was 2400 for Fall 2020 presentations. A total of 11,146 books have been brought into our District.  That translates to 11,146 students or teachers who have been handed a Dictionary4life!  Thanks to the DSG support received over the years the cost of the book for all participating clubs has been kept around $6CAD ($4.70USD).  A truly inexpensive literacy and basic education focused project.
This year the Rotary Club of Potsdam led the Dodge Pond upgrade project. On May 22, Rotarians from the Rotary Clubs of Canton NY, Massena NY and Potsdam NY with support from the Rotary Club of Ogdensburg, NY, held a work day. They built the first phase of a three- to four-phase project to build sections of a new trail and a bridge between the lodge and pavilion at The Arc Jefferson - St. Lawrence Lodge at Dodge Pond for individuals with developmental disabilities. The Rotarians constructed a 150-foot-long gravel walkway, which will benefit 250 children and other individuals with disabilities that use the camp each year.