Posted on Sep 28, 2023
Local community service and global humanitarian relief which the Rotary clubs of Richmond and South Delta have been providing for decades is now enhanced with new “hybrid” meeting technology thanks to $33,500 in funding from the Government of Canada. The funding will help the six clubs purchase OWL 3 hybrid meeting units to enable members to meet in person and involve speakers or other members online with a projector and screen at a meeting venue. An OWL unit connects to a laptop and a large projection screen so groups can meet with other groups in meetings or engage with a single guest speaker from afar.
 
OWL hybrid meeting system connects people in multiple locations or brings in a speaker to a club meeting
The funding comes from the Government of Canada’s one-time $400 million post-COVID Community Services Recovery Fund, partly administered through Community Foundations of Canada and, in turn, the Richmond Community Foundation as announced recently. The project is one of nearly 5,500 across Canada which the Community Services Recovery Fund has supported.
 
The fund has enabled the purchase of OWL 3 systems for Rotary clubs, applying technology and new ways of doing things to enable members, who might be away or unable to meet when other club members do, to connect with fellow members more quickly and easily as they work together on community service projects. The new systems can also bring to their members -- partly in person and, using the OWLs, partly virtual -- leaders from Rotary and from business, government and associations across Canada and around the world for learning and productivity in serving our community.
 
Peter Roaf, Assistant Governor for the four Rotary clubs in Richmond and two in South Delta, out of 48 clubs in Vancouver up the coast to Prince Rupert, says: “This OWL hybrid meeting technology could not have come at a better time, thanks to the Government of Canada’s Community Services Recovery Fund and the Richmond Community Foundation which provided the funding. For members who are tied up or travelling or who need more flexibility about when they can meet, we can bring them into our club and committee meetings as we work together on projects for our communities and our world. We can also use the OWLs to collaborate with other clubs. We can learn from Rotary, business and community leaders across the province, the country and the world. The OWLs are definitely supporting a step towards Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.”
 
As Richmond Community Foundation Executive Director Ed Gavsie says: “We’d like to express our sincere gratitude to the Government of Canada and the national funders, in our case, Community Foundations of Canada. In the wake of the pandemic, they understood the challenges community organizations were facing. Their targeted response, through the Community Services Recovery Fund, will lead to services that are more inclusive, accessible, and resilient.”
 
Federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, Jenna Sudds says: “Community service organizations are at the heart of communities like Richmond and South Delta, creating a sense of belonging from coast to coast to coast. The Community Services Recovery Fund will enable the organizations that serve our diverse communities to adapt and modernize their programs and services and to invest in the future of their organizations, staff, and volunteers. Together, we can rebuild from the isolation of the COVID-19 pandemic and build a more just and equitable future for those in Richmond and South Delta.”
 
Roaf adds: “In keeping with Rotary’s keen sense of community and community service above self, the Rotary clubs in this Area are grateful to the Rotary Richmond Foundation for administering the funds from this investment so we can do more together for all.”
 
Richmond Community Foundation Executive Director Ed Gavsie, on screen in background, top left, joined Richmond and Delta Rotary club representatives in receiving OWL 3 hybrid meeting units, such as the one bottom right, purchased with funds from the Community Foundation allocated to Richmond from the federal government's Community Services Recovery Fund.
 
The five Richmond and Delta Rotary clubs receiving the OWL 3s were represented by (l to R) Past Rotary District Governor Bob Blacker, Steveston, Jimmy Yan, Rotary Richmond Foundation, Elizabeth Roach, Richmond, Jeannettee Patacsil, Richmond Sunrise, Peter Roaf, Ladner and Richmond & Delta Assistant Governor, Dean Hsieh, past Assistant Governor, Jacqueline Ho, Richmond