Report on the Pandemic Relief for Detroit Global Grant Virtual Event – 12/15/2020 featuring Jennifer Jones, President-Nominee, RI

On Tuesday, December 15 from 10:00-11:00 a Zoom meeting was held to Celebrate a $15,000 grant to Gleaners Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan from the Pandemic Relief for Detroit Project which was matched by the Kroger Foundation ($15,000). This $30,000 donation will provide 90,000 meals to provide food assistance to the hardest hit areas around Detroit and neighboring communities.

The Pandemic Relief For Detroit Global Grant was initiated by Makarand Phadke of  the Pune Metro Club of Pune, India and Ashish Sarkar, Past President of RCAA. Makarand Phadke of India read about the severe impact of COVID on Detroit and reached out to Ashish as RCAA and Pune Metro have done global grants together in the past. Makarand gathered clubs to participate from India and Ashish gathered Clubs from Districts 6380 and 6400 to contribute.  Contributors included 7 Rotary Clubs from 6380 and 6400, 6 clubs from India and Districts 9211( Tanzania and Uganda), District 3190 ( Bangalore, India and our own 6380 which contributed $10,000 in seed money under the leadership of Sparky Leonard. The Grant was administered by Ann Arbor North Rotary Club with Manish Mehta leading the team.  PALAV, The Pioneer Medical Research Foundation contributed seed funding of $5000. The Global Grant was approved by RI and was the first time India and other countries provided funds through a global grant to the US. In the past funds have only flowed from the US to other developing countries.

The total grant was $72,000 and with the Kroger Match it is $87,000.  60% of the allocation was for PPE which was distributed to hospitals, nursing homes, Veteran’s Shelters, Homeless Shelters; Say Detroit, Brilliant Detroit  both serve disadvantaged children) and other community organizations. 40% of the allocation was for Human Services primarily food distribution for Detroit and surrounding areas. Recipients included Cass Community Social services, Detroit Meals on Wheels, Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels, Food Gatherers, Hope Warming Center and the Public School Food Drive in Novi and Pontiac. Project deliveries are scheduled to be completed by Dec. 23.

Featured Speakers at the Virtual Event were:

Manish Mehta, Director of Community Service Projects – Rotary Club of Ann Arbor North

Makarand Phadke, President Rotary Club of Pune Metro, India

Myra Ford, President – Rotary Club of Detroit with Manish Mehta

Jennifer Jones, President Nominee (2022-23)-Rotary International

Cecile Aitchison Vice President of Development – Gleaners Community Food Bank

Governor Karen Gabrys(D6380)

Governor Noel Jackson (D6400)

Priya Iyer Narayan. Palav Events Chair

Ashish Sarkar, Project Organizer, Former President-Rotary Club of Ann Arbor

Jennifer Jones and many other Rotarians from around the world joined this meeting.

Many of the speakers commented on how collaboration could bring Rotarians from around the world together to assist those in need. Jennifer Jones remarked on how this demonstrated the power of Rotary to do good in the world as the first ever Reverse Global Grant. John Hewko was personally involved in expediting the grant process and coined the phrase, Reverse Global Grant.

Lauren Heinonen, Arthur Williams, Lori Walters, Collyer Smith, Mary Avrakotos, Steve Schram, Norma Sarkar and Ashish Sarkar were in attendance from RCAA. In addition Ashish, Jason Whipple and Steve Schram contributed greatly to the grant administration process.

RCAA can be proud of their contributions of RCAA volunteers as well as $3000 from the Pandemic Response Fund to this most significant achievement.


On a related note,

Another presentation for this project will occur on December 17 at 12:00 on Zoom at the Ann Arbor North Rotary Club Meeting. A donation of $2500 to Food Gatherers and $2500 to Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels will be presented. These donations include the $3000 donation made by RCAA to the project.

The Zoom link to the meeting is available from Lori Walters.

I am pleased to share this wonderful story of giving by Rotarians and wish you all Happy Holidays


Submitted by Norma Sarkar