HomeCommunity NewsRotary Distributes Mini-Grants to Local Educators

Rotary Distributes Mini-Grants to Local Educators

Photo by Mitch Lehman / TRIBUNE
The mini-grant presented to John Kohn will benefit Southwestern Academy’s animation and robotics programs.
San Marino High School’s Robbin McCulloch explains her plan to use the mini-grant for the Titan Recording Studio.

It is an idea that is ingenious in its simplicity and over the years, countless educators and students have benefitted from its implementation.
They are the Bill Steele Mini-Grants, a program that rewards teachers at each of San Marino’s public and private schools with discretionary funds to implement innovative classroom projects of their choice.
The program was the brainchild of San Marino’s William G. “Bill” Steele, who was a member of the Rotary Club of San Marino for 33 years and served as its president in 1979-80. Steele knew that many educators had to reach into their own pockets to accomplish some of their more unique instructional goals. Since its inception in the mid-1990s, what is now officially known as the San Marino Rotary Charities William G. “Bill” Steele Jr. Mini-Grant Endowment Fund has provided more than $250,000 to local teachers with $45,000 being handed out this year alone.
Educators are asked to follow an application process and can apply for a grant individually or in collaboration with another project. Awards can be as much as $1,000 for a single project or more when requested for a joint project.
In 2007, San Marino Rotarian Andy Barth offered to create an endowment fund through the club’s charities foundation to honor Steele, who died in 2006, assuring that the program is self-funding.
This year’s awards were distributed in early February during a ceremony at Southwestern Academy, where recipients had an opportunity to provide a brief explanation of their project.
“Rotary does a lot of great things but this is right up there at the top of the list,” said Dennis Kneier, a longtime Rotarian and treasurer of Rotary Charities. “It’s fascinating to hear about all of the projects that are funded through the mini-grants.”

Photos by Mitch Lehman / TRIBUNE
Educators from Sts. Felicitas & Perpetua at the Bill Steele Mini-Grant ceremony who received their Bill Steele mini-grants earlier this month include (front row, from left) Elisa Machón, Rachel Lauerman and Missy O’Neill. Back: Rotary mini-grant co-chair Shawn Chou, Kevin Yamamoto, Liz Butler, Bernadette Aceves, Catherine Flores, Dona Kondrath, Elsa Ortega, Jayne MacLellan, Aida Chammas and co-chair John Chang.
Educators from Southwestern Academy receive Bill Steele mini-grants at a ceremony earlier this month. From left are Rotary mini-grant co-chair Shawn Chou, Michele Russ, Robin Jarchow, Lou Pulgencio, Lauren Brunjes, Russ Osmonson, Darlene Osmonson, John Kohn and co-chair John Chang.


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