During a time when funding for many nonprofit organizations appears to be shrinking, it is encouraging to know that many organizations have joined together to fill some of the gaps. The Rotary Club of Richfield has been a long-time supporter of various organizations geared toward improving communities. For years, this civic-minded organization, embracing the motto “Peace through Service”, has awarded grants to local organizations by raising money through fundraisers, such as A Sweet Affair Dinner Gala, Live & Silent Auction. Community Involvement Programs (CIP), an award recipient for the past three award cycles, has chosen to utilize these funds by working with Richfield businesses to create paid internships and employment opportunities for Richfield residents who receive support from CIP. Over the past three years, CIP employment consultants have developed some unique partnerships and exciting employment opportunities with businesses such as the Richfield Bus Company, Adler Graduate School, Hot Comics and Collectibles, and Kor Am Tae Kwon Do School.
In 2013, the Richfield Rotary’s award to CIP was combined with a social service award from the City of Richfield (together totaling more than $6000), and those funds were collectively utilized to support several Richfield businesses with creating positions for Richfield residents supported by CIP. One of these opportunities was developed in partnership with Elsen Brother’s Garage, where Ian was able to share his panache for physical work by washing cars and performing yard maintenance. Despite a limited budget, Elsen Brother’s was able to find enough money to hire Ian after the internship period, although they could not afford to pay him for as many hours as they might like! A second paid internship was created at the Richfield Historical Society. Nathan–who is a natural performer–facilitated special events at the Historical Society during the spring and summer that were similar to a “Choose Your Own Adventure” history lesson about the City of Richfield. These events included creative and fun experiences for their visitors, such as using an actual quill and ink to sign farm deeds. Finally, another position was recently secured for Sally at the Mother Duck Learning Center in Richfield. Sally works in the infant room, where she and her new coworkers help with all aspects of care and charting daily activities with this local business.
Despite the fact that many small businesses have very tight operating budgets, some Richfield business owners have been able to realize the value of hiring someone who may happen to have a disability with just a little financial support. Thanks to grants and awards from organizations like the Richfield Rotary Club and the City of Richfield, CIP has been able to support meaningful job opportunities for Richfield residents and has developed some long-lasting partnerships with Richfield businesses.