For many years, a Community Chest has been a core part of the Commonwealth Club. Its mission has been fluid and somewhat passive in nature. We give $500 scholarships annually to two deserving Montclair High School seniors; we contribute heavily to the Montclair Ambulance Unit, and, over the years we have donated to local charity food kitchens, local youth programs and to the immediate families or designated causes of members who have passed away.
Recently, a member came up with an idea that, frankly, should have been in place a long time before now. It’s a simple concept: create a mechanism, and, hopefully, a culture, within the club that allows and encourages our members to become more actively involved within our communities. Now that we have close to 300 members, it’s seems fitting, if not obligatory, that the Club becomes a beacon of social responsibility; where members represent the club in a positive light through their actions within their communities.
To that end, we have formed a Community Action Initiative in order to help implement this activity. The idea is to help the membership to get involved by becoming an active resource for opportunities to volunteer, to participate in fundraisers, to help out various youth organizations, in short, to become more fully engaged in the fabric of where we all live. We have a steering committee in place and we will be looking for more folks to become a part of that committee.
We are aware that many members are already involved in various community endeavors, and, as part of our initial launch, we are going to be asking for suggestions for possible opportunities that we can post on Facebook and in a dedicated section of our new website, which will be constantly refreshed, so that our members will always know what is out there. In the meantime, we will post a weekly blurb on the Club’s Facebook page. Our goal is to supply Club teams for fundraising runs, walks and bike rides, among other events, and to publicize our involvement after before and after the fact on social media platforms. In addition to Toni’s Kitchen and Human Needs Food Pantry, the Club also supports local organizations like Montclair Ambulance Unit, Laptop Upcycle, Montclair Salvation Army and the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence.