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Annual auction funds Southeast Rotary Clubs charitable donations

by: David F. Ashton “Rotary is a fun way to help the community – and the world” – say President of the Southeast Portland Rotary Foundation, Eric Norberg (left), Southeast Portland Rotary Club President Patricia Nichols (center), and Beaverton Metro Rotary President Neal Brown (right). In the background are some of the 80-plus wreaths auctioned as part of the festive fundraiser.

For years, Southeast Portland Rotary has held a benefit auction to help support their charities supported by their non-profit foundation. But, for the first time, members of the Beaverton Metro Rotary Club joined in - both securing items for the auction and participating in the December 3 event at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church School Gymnasium.

'Eric Norberg, President of the Southeast Portland Rotary Foundation is a long-time friend,' said Neal Brown, President of the Beaverton Metro Rotary Club. 'We volunteered to join him and his club in this auction - we wanted to raise some funds, and have fun.'

The purpose of this annual auction is to raise money for the charitable works of both Rotary Clubs, explained Norberg, immediate Past President of Southeast Portland Rotary. 'Our dispersing agent for Southeast Portland Rotary is a 501(c)3 foundation, which makes contributions tax-deductible.'

Each club will realize the proceeds from the items that they are procured, Norberg pointed out. This year, the auction netted over $20,000 from the effort. 'In our case, the proceeds fund a series of donations, including to youth programs, a high school for homeless kids, and several others, plus our own 'Families in Crisis' program, with which we collaborate with local Portland Public Schools.'

The evening starts each year with a silent auction of donated merchandise, followed by a silent auction of over 80 fresh local wreaths, hand-decorated individually by club members and volunteers, climaxing with an oral auction of major items donated by area businesses and Rotarians. The auctioneer again this year, brought back by popular demand, was Brad Caldwell. Caldwell is a Troutdale resident, but now tours the country calling major auctions for Stokes Auction Group in Washington State.

Want to learn more about Rotary? You're invited to any meeting of the Southeast Portland Rotary Club, which meets on Mondays, at noon, at the Eastmoreland Golf Course Grill. For more information, go online to their website: www.southeastportlandrotary.com .