Rotary Auction volunteers deliver high investment return | Guest Column | June 24

For 51 years the Bainbridge Island community has rallied together to host one of the largest “swap meets” in the country with the Bainbridge Island Rotary Auction.

By exchanging tens of thousands of items on one day a year, we raise significant amounts of money to support island charities and meritorious projects locally and globally.

We invite you to join us as a volunteer by simply stopping by Woodward Middle School between June 25-29.

Volunteering is a great way for you to give back to your community, meet new people, and have fun.

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that you cannot sincerely try to help another without helping yourself.”

Each year Bainbridge Island Rotary Club relies on more than 1,000 volunteers to aid us in our efforts by bringing passion and expertise to fix, build, stage, negotiate and price by countless hours of precious time donating.

Volunteer generosity and dedication has and will continue to make a profound impact.

The variety of volunteering opportunities is mind boggling – mending bikes, washing golf clubs, staging fine furniture, pricing jewelry, stacking clothing, unloading vehicles and the list goes on and on.

The auction is a Bainbridge Island institution because community members have embraced the idea of selfless contribution through time, talent and treasure.

It began in 1960 by raising $5,663 and it has grown exponentially as volunteers return year after year and make improvements.

In fact, there are a dozen or more volunteers who have returned for more than 15 years.

They are our institutional memory helping to shape and guide us year by year.

Today, with the investment of thousands of volunteer hours, this awe inspiring recycling event nets approximately $250,000 annually and has raised since its inception more than $5 million.

The Bainbridge Island Rotary Club, which is focused on providing service to others above self, returns 100 percent of the proceeds to its vital mission work.

Fifteen percent of the funds coming from the auction are used to advance goodwill globally and 85 percent to improve the quality of life in our community.

For information on the projects funded during this past year with Auction proceeds visit:

Join us between June 25-29 from 7 a.m.-8:30 p.m. to help unload cars, sort, distribute to departments, price and ultimately sell, sell, sell.

The auction preview will be held from 3-7 p.m. on July 1, and the rummage sale begins the next day at 8 a.m.

The inspiration and satisfaction you will feel in knowing you have made a difference one “gently used” item at a time is priceless.

Chair of Volunteers Marina Cofer-Wildsmith, former CEO of the American Lung Association of the Northwest, has spent 20 years working in nonprofit management and business development.

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