Rotary International Rose Parade Float Needs Donations

Arts and CultureRotary InternationalHuman InterestSeptember 11, 2001 AttacksPolio

Gayle Anderson was live in Pasadena at the Rotary International Rose Parade Float "Inch Towards the End of Polio" being built by Phoenix Decorating. The recession is having an impact on the organization. Their float is in trouble. The organization needs to raise 40-thousand dollars to finish the float in time for the parade. The usual contributions and donations have been reduced by the lagging economy.

Since 1890, the Tournament of Roses has promoted tourism and migration into California by showcasing Pasadena's warm weather through the Rose Parade, featuring carriages and floats decorated with hundreds of fresh flowers in bloom in the midst of winter. The Rose Parade's elaborate floats now feature high-tech computerized animation and exotic natural materials from around the world. Although a few floats are still built exclusively by volunteers from their sponsoring communities, most are built by professional float building companies and take nearly a year to construct. The year-long effort pays off on New Year's morning, when millions of viewers in more than 200 international territories and countries tune in to enjoy the Rose Parade.

The high cost of these elaborate floats, in conjunction with the weakened economy and municipal budget cuts, has created problems for the 2012 Rose Parade. Several cities, including the City of Long Beach, have had to abandon plans to build a float for the parade. With a $43 million gap in its $400 million budget, Long Beach made cutbacks all over the city and could no longer justify spending money on a float, in spite of having participated in the parade for nearly nine decades. In the last few years, five cities have dropped out of the parade and several more considered doing so, only to be rescued by private money. For example, Glendale officials sought to drop out of the parade after 98 years of participation, but then received private donations that enabled the city to raise the $100,000 needed for the float.

The designers of last year's 9/11 Tribute Float, Charisma Floats, closed their doors this year after 25 years of building floats for the parade. Katie Rodriguez, who co-owned the business, attributed the loss of business not only to municipal cuts, but also to the difficulties nonprofits faced with fundraising this year. Their departure leaves just three professional builders for all of the floats in the parade.

For the past 32 years, Rotary International has entered a float in the Rose Parade thanks to the generosity of Rotarians, Clubs and Districts in the United States and Canada, who donate all of the money to pay for the float. Approximately ninety-three percent of the money raised goes to costs directly associated with building, decorating and entering the float in the parade. The balance of the funds raised pay for business, banking, insurance and other miscellaneous costs related to the float and hosting the RI President while attending the parade and other related activities. None of the money raised for float construction is spent on professional staff or committee perks.

Approximately 1000 Rotary Family Volunteers help prepare and/or apply the organic materials to the float. Rotary International sees their participation in the Rose Parade as an unrivaled opportunity to bring Rotary's name into public view through an eye-catching float that captures the interest of network commentators and reminds the world of Rotary's good works.

This year, however, Rotary International is $40,000 short of meeting their fundraising goals for the Rose Parade Float.

Rotary International is a volunteer organization with 33,000 clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. It initiates humanitarian projects that address today's challenges affecting the world today, such as hunger, poverty, and illiteracy.

If you would like to help and for more information, contact:
Rotary Rose Parade Float Committee 2012
www.rotaryfloat.org
Click on the CONTRIBUTIONS link on the left side of the main page or call 714-777-2622

The 123rd Tournament of Roses Parade, "Just Imagine" takes place Monday, January 2, 2012 at 8:00 a.m. You can see it live on KTLA 5 and KTLA.COM.

If you have questions, or complaints, please feel free to contact Gayle at 1-323-460-5732 or
e-mail Gayle at Gayle.Anderson@KTLA.com

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