Donor Profile

Passion and persistence in Chinatown
Even after Sandy, a New York club stays on target for 100K Club status

Many members of the Kiwanis Club of Chinatown, New York City, are first-generation immigrants from Asia. They understand the conditions that lead to maternal and neonatal tetanus. In fact, most of the countries where MNT still kills are located in the Asia-Pacific region, Africa and the Middle East.

That fact helps fuel club members’ passion for The Eliminate Project.

“We can help people like us,” club president Grace Law says. “We are really lucky to have the opportunity to be here in America. Many of us came from remote areas, and we’re globally aware. Many of us visit our home country during our vacations and experience what life is like in these countries.”

The scale of The Eliminate Project inspired the club to reach for big goals. In 2012, members voted to become a 100K Club.
“We aren’t talking about one or two lives with The Eliminate Project,” Law says. “We’re helping to eliminate a whole disease.”

Considering culture

The club has already responded with great enthusiasm for the US$100,000 commitment. In fact, they have used a combination of approaches to raise funds. At one fundraising dinner, attendees could purchase tables or show strong support by becoming a Walter Zeller Fellow. In addition, a member matched half of fellow members’ Zeller gifts to extend the impact.

The club has also customized many of their fundraising plans to maximize their contribution to the campaign.

“We have a different culture, so not everything that other clubs do works the same for us,” Law says. “We’re currently considering a table tennis tournament.”

Protecting the connection between mothers and babies will help the club in other ways too, Law adds.

“Expanding our membership will be important, as well as educating members,” she says. “The Chinese brochures and website are very helpful for this. We have to do a lot education to show how we’re different from other local service clubs.”

On target after Sandy

The club has maintained its ambitious targets even despite the arrival of Hurricane Sandy in October 2012. Many members’ friends and family were seriously affected by the storm. This has presented challenges for fundraising—but it has also been a cause for inspiration. For instance, club members rallied to support communities devastated by Sandy, providing materials for rebuilding homes—and in some cases, even helping with the rebuilding work.

Despite the turmoil, the club also remains on track to reach 100K Club status and protect 55,000 women and their future babies.

“When we have the resources available, we should help others—not just among us but around the world,” Law said. “We have to continue to be focused on The Eliminate Project, even after Sandy. We have other things we’re focused on, including children in our community. We just need a plan to serve both.”

Seeing motivated, energized Kiwanians from other clubs around the world helps keep inspiration high. Club members regularly take part in district and international events to learn from other clubs, and those experiences have shown them how participating in The Eliminate Project connects them to clubs worldwide.

“We meet at the New York district convention and the Kiwanis International convention, and we always see that they just really care about children,” Law says. “They give their time and funds to help The Eliminate Project. It’s inspiring!”

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