FIRST Prize – District People of Action Photo Competition
In 2020 the Rotary Club of Festival City was excited to win first prize in the People of Action Photo Competition. It was indeed a FUN campaign with a focus on VISION.

As part of the rules of using this prize money, the club knew that the funds must be used for a sustainable project. This left some members wondering, “what is a sustainable project?” Well Rotarian Nancy Totino, the vision behind (and skating into) the winning photo itself, proposed an idea to create a fundraising website model that would continuously fund itself and grow while allowing the club to move its efforts online.


An initial presentation to the members raised questions about whether a club of our size would be able to maintain such a grand venture. Recognizing that Rotarians move to new cities, new clubs, and that the platform would always need the support of a knowledgeable lead, the site itself was built by Rotarians Nancy Totino and Christy Bertrand as a partnership venture. The Rotary Club of Festival City then became the first sponsorship organization on the website, using the funds won from the contest to buy products that could be sold on the platform. By purchasing inventory that supports economic development and then re-selling to raise funds for Rotary initiatives, the club is able to amplify the impact of each dollar spent.
When you shop on the site by sponsor, you will land on a page that provides information about the club, its focus, and examples of what the club supports with its funding. At this time the products found there are:

Fair Trade Coffee – supporting economic development locally and internationally by partnering with a local roastery that buys the beans from Oromia Coffee Union in Ethiopia. Proceeds from the website coffee sales are then donated to Polio Plus on behalf of the club each year.

Candles – supporting 10,000 Beekeepers in their efforts to prevent deforestation in Zambia and offer education and sustainable income for African families.

Shea Butter – supporting economic and community development with a focus on environmental sustainability through a women’s group in Ghana.

Solar LED Lanterns – increasing awareness of the ShelterBox program and supporting the club to make a donation to the ShelterBox campaign.


The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise. It encourages the development of acquaintance as an opportunity to serve and recognizes the worthiness of all useful occupations as an opportunity to serve society. The object also speaks to the advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

Throughout the development of this project we have reached out to members of the community to be involved, be it helping to write the website content, taking photographs, serving as a pickup location for purchases, and asking for expertise on shipping/delivery. One person at a time, we meet and we learn, building goodwill and better friendships in our community.

Nancy and Christy hope the site will offer a platform for others looking to do good. While centralized in Stratford, Ontario, Beneficial Goods is open to partnerships that are interested in learning more about how to use the tool to support other organizations and projects. With a focus on the four way test, products are considered based on their impact on the environment and the community at large.

Rotary Club of Festival City has used the money from the grant to buy products it believes in, and supported in the past, to sell online while educating consumers about Rotary and important issues. Sales will recoup the investment as well as raise funds for the club. A financially sustainable project that considers sustainable business practices and environmental sustainability. Can it get any more sustainable than that? 😉


Christy Bertrand

President, Rotary Club of Festival City Stratford