Sebastopol Rotary Club awards community grants

By Camille Escovedo, Staff Writer, Sonoma West Times & News, March 24, 2021

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The Rotary Club of Sebastopol has awarded over $15,000 to organizations serving western Sonoma County through 12 community grants, according to a March 18 press release.

The Sebastopol Regional Library received nearly $5,000 to install stronger Wi-Fi connectivity for the public to access while the building itself is closed, Branch Manager Mathew Rose said.

Rose said the library has been collaborating with libraries in Sonoma Valley and Windsor to expand internet access as buildings remain closed in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Youth members of the Sebastopol Library Advisory Board most encouraged the library to seek the grant to extend connectivity for high school students in need of internet access for their online education, he said.

The North High Street parking lot beside the library is an ideal location to provide a signal for Analy High students and others to access Wi-Fi from inside their vehicles, Rose said. The branch manager added the expansion could also support the library once people are allowed back indoors.

“We’re bursting out of our building at normal times,” Rose said. “So, the Wi-Fi extension has that dual purpose of offering that connectivity without being crammed inside of a building.”

Other recipients include the Analy Band Wagon seeking new band room equipment, music folders and bows, and the Ceres Community Project, awarded funds for its meal program to address food insecurity, the press release said.

While the pandemic intensified local needs for food, housing and support for students in distance learning, the Rotary Club’s announcement adds that the club itself has wrestled through with the loss of funding from its cancelled fundraisers.

“But its members have recognized that organizations have come to rely on its grants and the club has dug down and come up with enough money to provide urgent help to several worthwhile organizations and projects,” the press release said.

This year’s grants for 12 awards between $500 and $5,000 cast $15,015 altogether into community services in west county.

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This article was produced by Sonoma West Times & News, the hometown newspaper of Sebastopol and west county since 1889. See more news at sonomawest.com