The First Tee Columbia program uses golf to teach young people life lessons and leadership skills, according to executive director Sally Beacham (shown with Capital Rotary member Chris Ray). Beacham, guest speaker at Rotary’s Sept. 27 meeting, said First Tee’s instruction helps youngsters 5-17 become good golfers and even better people by imparting core values such as respect, integrity, honesty, confidence, confidence and sportsmanship. An affiliate of the World Golf Foundation, Columbia’s First Tee is part of the elementary physical education program in five Richland District One schools and plans to add Richland District Two schools in the future. Beacham said First Tee participation has grown from 105 students to 335 over the last several years. She joined the non-profit after playing collegiately at St. Andrews Presbyterian College, where she was captain of the women’s golf team and a member of the all-conference team in 2008.
Callie McLean (left) and Emma Goldrick, student leaders of the University of South Carolina’s Rotaract Club, are welcomed by president Blake DuBose to a recent Capital Rotary meeting. McLean, a junior public health major, is from Charleston. She is Rotaract vice president and has participated in a host of activities including Relay for Life, the Carolina Judicial Council and AED, a pre-health honors society that undertook a medical mission trip to Nicaragua last spring. Goldrick, a junior majoring in marketing and management, is from Hilton Head Island. She is Rotaract secretary, participated in Relay for Life, is current president of CHAARG (Changing Health Actions and Attitudes to Recreate Girls) and is a peer consultant at USC’s Student Success Center. Rotaract clubs are open to adults ages 18-30 interested in community service, in developing leadership and professional skills, and who enjoy networking and social activities.
Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company backs community improvement outreach efforts in education, arts and culture, and health and wellness. The Columbia-based firm and its employees had a positive local impact topping $2.4 million in 2016, including over $700,000 in employee giving and more than 11,000 hours of volunteer time for charitable organizations. That’s according to president and CEO Tim Arnold – flanked by Capital Rotary members Matthew Pollard (left) and Frank Rutkowski (right) – the club’s Sept. 20 guest speaker. Arnold said Colonial Life is especially proactive in school programs such as Junior Achievement, literacy and mentoring, and educator leadership training. These demonstrate the company is a corporate good neighbor committed to student achievement and preparation of a future workforce. Arnold earned a bachelor’s degree in management and a master’s in business administration degree in finance from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. He joined Colonial Life in July 2011.
Capital Rotary president Blake DuBose recognizes at-large director and service chair Neda Beal for continuing Rotary Foundation donations that support world understanding and peace programs. Beal is now a Paul Harris Fellow plus-three giver (signifying an initial $1,000 donation with three additional gifts at the same amount). The club previously honored Beal as 2016 Rotarian of the Year for guiding local community service, literacy and volunteer projects.
Eight of the state’s central region counties are enjoying the fruits of economic development efforts seeking new business and employment – to the tune of investments totaling over $12 billion and creation of more than 68,000 jobs. That’s what Capital Rotary Club members heard from Sept. 13 guest speaker Mike Briggs, shown talking with Rotarian Andy Markl (back to camera). Since 1997, Briggs has been president and CEO of the Central SC Alliance, a regional public-private partnership dedicated to stimulating economies in Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland counties as well as the City of Columbia. The alliance has been especially successful in boosting global investment. Briggs said more than 22,000 workers in the area are employed by foreign affiliates, and there are businesses from over two dozen countries represented region wide. He said the most important keys to continuing economic expansion are (1) a workforce dedicated to becoming more highly skilled and (2) an abundance of suitable buildings and site locations to quickly accommodate business needs.
Matthew Pollard (center), a member of Capital Rotary’s programs committee, welcomes South Carolina Education Lottery chief operating officer Tony Cooper (left) and assistant controller Brian Ford to the club’s Sept. 6 meeting. Cooper told Rotarians the lottery is not gambling but rather “public gaming for the public good” because proceeds fund higher education scholarships, K-12 school programs, and community resources including libraries and ETV. Since the lottery started selling tickets in January 2002 it has resulted in education appropriations of more than $4.6 billion to counties all across the state. Cooper has overseen day-to-day lottery operations since start-up. Previously he was executive director of the District of Columbia Lottery & Charitable Games Board and was president of the Powerball Game Group.
Capital Rotarian Abby Naas has been named Female Executive of the Year for the South Atlantic League. Naas joined the staff of the Columbia Fireflies minor league baseball team in January 2015 as marketing and public relations vice president. She became a Capital club member later that same year. Naas now will be the South Atlantic League’s nominee for the Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year Award, an industry-wide honor presented annually by Rawlings and minor league baseball. Prior to joining the Fireflies, Nass was twice named Midwest League Female Executive of the Year while working for the Fort Wayne TinCaps in Indiana. (Photo courtesy of Columbia Fireflies)
Capital Rotary president Blake DuBose presents a $1,000 check supporting child feeding to Denise Holland, CEO of Harvest Hope Food Bank. The funds will go for (1) a BackPack Program providing child-friendly, nutritious, easy-to-open food to last the weekend for needy children and (2) the Kids Café Program serving an average of 300 children over 3,100 nutritious, warm meals monthly at 13 after-school sites including churches, community centers and Boys & Girls Clubs. DuBose said Harvest Hope has worked since 1981 to alleviate childhood hunger, a concern embraced by Rotary International worldwide.