• Rotary Year: 2020-2021
  • Application Date: 7/31/2020
  • Club Name (Primary): Martinsville UpTown
  • Club Name 2: Martinsville
  • Club Name 3: Henry County
  • Project Name: Playground for Family Reunification at Department of Social Services
  • Project Total Cost: $27,700.00
  • Grant Amount Requested: $6,000.00
  • Describe the Project, its location and its objectives: The three Rotary Clubs in Martinsville and Henry County are submitting this proposal to partner with the Department of Social Services (DSS) in Martinsville Henry County with their intention to build a playground on their site. This outdoor play environment will facilitate a welcoming and safe space for biological parents to visit with their children who are in foster care. The agency provides an estimated 350 supervised visitations each year, and our Rotary Clubs feel this project has the capacity to make a strong positive impact in our community. Logistically, DSS has already secured a vendor, Cunningham Recreation, and a specific design has been selected in consultation by an impacted family (see below).

    The inspiration from this project comes from the ground up. In 2019, a local family adopted a child who was in the custody of Henry-Martinsville Social Services. To honor their child, the family created a fundraiser with the hope they could provide funding for a playground at the agency. They had experienced visitation inside the agency and believed children and families could be better served with a playground located outside the building. This fundraising initiative has now scaled up to an implementable project.

    There are a number of donors for this project, and our Rotary clubs are seeking to join in this effort by donating money for this playground. We also have opportunities for service related to visitations, wellness calls, scheduling, and outdoor landscaping. Great care has been taken to collaborate with Social Services on volunteer opportunities that are conducive during this time of Covid. The clubs understand that there are background checks to be done prior to volunteering with youth and with sensitive data. All precautions and rules will be followed and re-enforced.
  • Expected Start Date: 9/1/2020
  • Expected End Date: 4/30/2021
  • Expected Number of Beneficiaries: 1000
  • Describe how the project will benefit the community and/or improve the lives of the less fortunate: The agency is responsible for providing supervised, court ordered visitation to biological parents and their children who have been removed for their care. It is the responsibility of the agency to reunite families safely when possible. To provide the best possible service, the family should be given as much normalcy to visit as possible. Currently, visitation occurs within the agency where two rooms are dedicated with furniture and toys. The playground would allow for a relaxed, family-like environment for visits. The primary goal is safe reunification for the children and their family. To provide the best possible environment that is both safe and functional, the agency needs a family-like space to encourage parents to engage with their children. It is difficult to achieve this goal within the walls of the agency which is a government building. In some instances, the agency represents trauma for the families.
  • Expected Total Project Volunteer Hours: 70
  • Describe the Rotarian hands-on activities in the project (i.e. non-financial participation): Due to Covid, we collaborated with the Director to have multiple options for volunteers that are outdoors or from their own home. They include:
    • Wellness calls and calls to schedule meetings among foster families
    • Landscaping around the Playground
    • Supervising visits among Foster children and families
    • Holiday program for Foster children
  • Describe the publicity plan to inform the general public that this is a Rotary sponsored project: The publicity plan for the program involves a marketing and promotional strategy to include: a press release out to local media outlets on groundbreaking as well as completion of the playground project; PSA to the Virginia Tech NPR affiliate; a digital marketing campaign to share the project progress from groundbreaking to completion and using specific hashtags related to the project, all participating Rotary Clubs, and the partnering organization; posts on the participating Rotary Clubs’ Facebook pages documenting the project; direct contact with the Martinsville Bulletin to solicit an article on the project; and use of the Rotary Wheel image as well as reference to the participating Rotary Clubs in any signage and/or press created by the partnering organization in situ at the playground, and in any print and digital marketing.
  • Cooperating Organizations – Please list each cooperating organization, if any: Henry County and Martinsville Department of Social Services
  • Letter(s) of Participation: Rotary_Club_Support_Letter_HMDSS.pdf
  • Project Expenditure Budget – list detail uses of funds for the project, or use the Budget Upload.The estimated budget is $27,700. This includes the quote from Cunningham Recreation for the play equipment, rubber mulch, and surfacing for the placement area.
  • Project Funding Budget – list detail sources of funds for the project, or use the Budget UploadOther sources of funding that the agency is pursuing:
    • Rotary District Grant – $12,000 (when matched by District)
    • Harvest Foundation Youth Board - $5000
    • Family fundraiser - $1255 (completed and confirmed)
    • Women in Philanthropy Grant: $10,000
    • CARES Act funding through Henry County: __for balance of funding needed to get to $27,000__
  • Budget Upload: Cunningham_Recreation_Quote.pdf
  • Primary Contact Name: Beverly Pitzer
  • Primary Contact Rotary Position: President of Martinsville UpTown Rotary Club
  • Primary Contact Email: beverly.pitzer@cbtcares.com
  • Primary Contact Phone: 917-208-1968
  • Financial Contact Name: Diane Dixon
  • Financial Contact Rotary Position: Treasurer, Martinsville UpTown Rotary Club
  • Financial Contact Address: 
    PO Box 3301
    Martinsville, VA 24115
    United States View on Map
  • Financial Contact Email: debitsandcredits1@comcast.net
  • Financial Contact Phone: 304-575-3661
  • Project Authorization Form: 2020_21_Coll_Grant_Project_Authorization_DSS_Playground.pdf