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Rotary Club of Great Falls Launches Foundation

Foundation will allow for tax deductible donations.

The Great Falls Rotary Club, pictured here at its inaugural meeting, has started a 501(c)3 foundation.

The Great Falls Rotary Club, pictured here at its inaugural meeting, has started a 501(c)3 foundation. Photo Contributed

— In their first two years, the Rotary Club of Great Falls has experienced almost unprecedented growth, quickly becoming one of the fastest growing clubs in Rotary International. Now they have taken the next step to reach deeper into the community, founding a 501(c)3, the Rotary Club of Great Falls, Virginia Foundation.

"Our community is truly fortunate to have so many adults and youth interested in helping others. The newly-created foundation enables us to now offer tax incentives to donors who are attracted to Rotary’s mission of Service Above Self," said Jeff Thinnes, past president of the Great Falls Rotary and chair of the foundation. "Increasing our fundraising capacity will enable us to engage in even more service projects. That is very exciting."

The club itself is a 501(c)4, which is a nonprofit with social welfare as their primary goal. However, donations to a 501(c)4 are not tax deductible. The new foundation’s 501(c)3 status allows for donors to take tax deductions.

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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia presents a gift to the Great Falls Rotary Club.

"The foundation is an extension of the club, it’s a mechanism a lot of Rotary Clubs have used to increase support for our service projects," said Chris Schindler, a trustee and secretary of the foundation. "Our goal is to make this a long-term part of the club’s legacy, where hopefully we can build capital and use it to support a variety of causes."

With the foundation in its earliest stages, they haven’t developed concrete ideas, but members say education initiatives will be one of its top priorities.

"The main goal will be to give opportunities to those who can’t afford it," Schindler said. "When it comes to education, that could mean things like scholarships and funding trips abroad, we’re open to all ideas."

Since its founding in 2011, the club has supported many causes, both locally and around the world. In Fairfax County, they have helped build drainage piping at the Embry Rucker Community Shelter in Reston, supported the Hispanics Against Child Abuse and Neglect program in Bailey’s Crossroads, sponsored an early readers program at Great Falls Elementary School and adopted a segment of Georgetown Pike.

They have also sponsored high school and middle school level Interact Clubs, which is the youth branch of Rotary.

They have also supported an orphanage in Ukraine and provided food and clothing to a community in Honduras.

More information is available at www.rotarygreatfalls.org.