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December 13, 2012

AN EARLY CHRISTMAS: New Albany Rotary Club donates almost $40k to area causes

NEW ALBANY — It’s the season for giving, and Thursday, the New Albany Rotary Club handed out more than $40,000 in donations to charitable causes.

The annual Community Toast event this year — which honored Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County Executive Director Jerry Finn — brought in more than $34,000.

As has been the tradition since the Community Toast began in 1993, the award recipient splits the proceeds raised during the event with the New Albany Rotary Foundation and a nonprofit organization of their choosing.

Finn selected the New Albany-Floyd County Education Foundation, and the organization received a check for $17,170.

“This will make such an impact in our community,” said Tyler Bliss, executive director of the NA-FC Education Foundation.

The organization uses private donations to support local schools. Bliss said the Rotary donation will help fund the local campaign for Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library. The remaining half of the proceeds from the Community Toast event will be used by the New Albany Rotary Foundation to support several projects, organizations and programs.

A few of the groups to benefit from past Rotary donations from Community Toast funds include the Community Alliance to Promote Literacy, the Children’s Academy of New Albany and the Boys & Girls Club of Kentuckiana.

In addition to the more than $34,000 awarded through the Community Toast, the Rotary Club also gave almost $7,000 to the Henryville Elementary School library to purchase E-Books.

The New Albany Rotary Club had previously given $14,000 to Henryville teachers to use for the purchase of supplies for their classrooms. Thursday’s donation brought the local club’s donation to Henryville schools to almost $21,000 since the March 2 tornadoes.

Sally Riggs — wife of Henryville Elementary Principal Glenn Riggs — is the school’s librarian. She said she ordered 26 E-Books last year to use for the library that also services Henryville High School.

Ironically, she had finally finished programming the E-Books on the morning of March 2. Later that day, the tornado struck and ripped through the library.

About 18,000 traditional books were lost during the storm. Riggs said all that was left were the E-Books, and she along with the children relied on them for next several weeks as they attempted to carry on in spite of the tragedy.

About two weeks ago the library received 18,000 new books, and coupled with the Rotary’s donation, Riggs said the school is getting back its literary arsenal.

“It’s a library again,” she said.

The New Albany Rotary Club meets each Thursday at 11:45 p.m. at The Culbertson Mansion. For more information, visit the website

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