• Rotary Year: 2017-2018
  • Application Date: 5/30/2017
  • Club Name: Rockingham County
  • Project Name: Soap Box Trailer
  • Project Total Expenditures: $8,500.00
  • Grant Amount Requested: $4,000.00
  • Describe the Project, its location and its objectives: The signature event for the Rotary Club of Rockingham County over the past 10+ years has been hosting a local Soap Box Derby race in Harrisonburg. The Derby is both kid and family friendly and there are several relationships with organizations such as the Boys and Girls Club that gives kids who can’t afford it a chance to race.

    In recent years, club member and Derby director, Matt Findley, has worked to expand Soap Box beyond just a once a year event. In 2017 Rockingham County Schools adopted Soap Box as a STEM project for all of their local schools (four high schools), and the City is considering a similar plan. This means that Soap Box, led by Rotary, will be part of the curriculum.

    To help fund Soap Box, the local club has begun to host ‘Rally Races’ which are effectively travel races. These races host local kids as well as pull from states up and down the East Coast. Based in Harrisonburg, this gives Rotary and the Harrisonburg area greater exposure.

    As this expansion has happened, transportation has become an issue. Club members often transport cars with whatever vehicles and trailers they can get their hands on. This proposal is to help fund a dedicated trailer for the Rotary Club of Rockingham County that will be used primarily for Soap Box, but could also be used for other activities. The trailer would be wrapped with a design that promotes Rotary, the local club and Soap Box together for a nominal additional expense.

    The ownership of the trailer helps to create sustainability for these efforts, the club and Soap Box as a whole. It will be a mobile billboard for Rotary and Soap Box which should also help increase participation in local events.
  • This is the Club’s: Primary Project Application
  • Expected Start Date: 7/3/2017
  • Expected End Date: 5/15/2018
  • Expected Number of Beneficiaries: 160
  • Describe how the project will benefit the community and/or improve the lives of the less fortunate: Soap Box has always been a sport that attracts kids who can’t or don’t participate in traditional sporting activities. Rotary’s involvement has kept costs to a minimum year over year. The local Derby has helps childhood cancer survivors, kids from single parent households, Boys and Girls Club kids, and many others.

    Additionally, Soap Box has given the Harrisonburg community a signature event similar sized communities do not have. It has been endorsed by local government, the school systems and nonprofits alike. The Rally Race helps promote tourism as well.

    The recent addition of STEM initiatives and partnerships with Merck and Rockingham County Schools adds another benefit to kids and families across the spectrum. There is a 50/50 or better split of girl and boy participants meaning that this is one of only a few low cost STEM options for girls in the community. Over 100 kids participate each year, with more at the elementary school level planned.

    Lastly, because the races bring in kids from across the spectrum, it helps to promote community and relationships amongst community members that wouldn’t normally interact. Rotary members facilitate these relationships and serve as a catalyst for all that goes on. 60 plus kids from our community and beyond race independently from the school program.
  • Estimated Total Project Volunteer Hours: 60
  • Describe the Rotarian hands-on activities in the project (i.e. non-financial participation): As mentioned this is the signature service project for the Rotary Club of Rockingham County. It is an ‘all hands on deck’ scenario where everyone is expected to participate. The local race often has 30 plus Rotarians (45 member club) participate and other events often have 10 to 15.

    The Race Director, Matt Findley, is a Rotarian as well. He recruits other Rotarians (3-5) to participate in the direct STEM activities. Kids who participate in that, then get to race in the local race for free. So there is a lot of direct Rotarian interaction with the kids. Volunteer hours do not count planning and one on one mentorship of derby director and parents.

    Lastly, this initiative will require an additional fundraiser which will be led and worked by Rotarians and supported by racers and their families.
  • Describe the publicity plan to inform the general public that this is a Rotary sponsored project: As mentioned the trailer will have a wrap that will include Soap Box, Rotary International and local club logos. A proof is attached that will be updated with correct logos, but as shown it will be impressive.

    Publically, the trailer will be on display at the local middle & high schools during the STEM program. It will be at the Boys and Girls Club locations as well. As the trailer is used locally it will be a traveling billboard. It will also travel to and from Akron, OH for nationals twice a year. The trailer will be on display at the STEM race, Rally Races, and the primary Local Race. Lastly, Rotarians have offered to park the trailer at their places of business during down times of the year. This includes Route 11 & 42 which are two of the primary N/S corridors in Harrisonburg.

    This purchase will require an additional fundraiser (likely an Applebees Pancake Breakfast) that will require promotion on the radio, social media, ticket sales, and other sources to promote Rotary and Soap Box.

    As with all initiatives, attempts will be made to promote this initiative the newspaper, local radio and TV (free airtime, etc). While this will be helpful, placement and use of the trailer will create the most brand awareness. Given Harrisonburg’s restrictive sign rules, this will be a big promotion for Rotary in general.
  • Cooperating Organizations – Please list each cooperating organization, if any: There are no direct cooperating organizations. As mentioned, there are several organizations that Rotary serves through Soap Box, however none will be directly involved with this trailer or its use.
  • Project Expenditure Budget – list detail uses of funds for the project, or use the Budget UploadBudget Sources of Funds Amount
    Requested Community Project Grant Amount $4,000.00
    Club Funds 2,000.00
    Pancake Fundrasier 1,000.00
    Rally Race Proceeds 1,500.00

    Total Project Sources $8,500.00
  • Project Funding Budget – list detail sources of funds for the project, or use the Budget UploadBudget Uses of Funds Amount
    Trailer Purchase $7,500.00
    Taxes/Title/Tags/etc 500.00
    Wrap design and installation 500.00

    Total Project Expenditures $8,500.00
  • Budget Upload:Budget- Soap Box Trailer 2017-2018.xls
  • Primary Contact Name: Matt Findley
  • Primary Contact Rotary Position: Club Board Member
  • Primary Contact Email: jfindley@agfirst.com
  • Primary Contact Phone: 540.569.6925
  • Financial Contact Name: Ed Yoder
  • Financial Contact Rotary Position: Club Treasurer
  • Financial Contact Address: 
    PO Box 952
    Harrisonburg, VA 22803
    United States View on Map
  • Financial Contact Email: eyoder@pbgh.com
  • Financial Contact Phone: 540.421.7372
  • District Grant Project Authorization LetterSoap Box Trailer District Grant Project Authorization Letter 2017-2018 -Signed.pdf
  • Project Supporting Uploads:ROTARY SBD TRAILER PROOF.pdf
  • Grant Number: 1718-10
  • Grant Award: $2,000.00