Club Meeting 14 August 2023 – Project Update and Maddie Cowell, Head of Fundraising – St John’s Winchester Charity

Our meeting on 14 August was the first of the current Rotary year at which details of a new club project were presented to members for approval.  “Walk a Mile for Polio” is a new initiative to mark World Polio Day on 24 October.  As is well known, in previous years many clubs have planted purple crocuses, the emblem of End Polio Now in Great Britain and Ireland.

Foundation Lead Gill Russell explained how members, friends, relatives – and anyone else interested! – would ask for £1 sponsorship from as many contacts as possible, or walking a mile – an idea developed by Carnforth Rotary.  As 24 October falls on a weekday this year, the following Sunday, 29 October was agreed on.  The project was well-received by members present.  Further details will follow and members will be regularly updated. Several members expressed interest in joining the project team and we have since heard that RotaryGBI have taken the project up nationally.  An exciting development – raising awareness and funds for the most important Rotary project of all, which is so close to success.

Our speaker was Maddie Cowell, Head of Fundraising at St John’s Winchester Charity who was introduced by Clive Cook. Maddie joined St John’s in May 2023. Formerly a professional violinist, she has held fundraising and executive management roles for some of Sydney, Melbourne, and London’s leading arts companies. Awarded a professional development scholarship in 2019, she gained international experience participating in cultural leadership conferences in Portugal and Italy, before meeting with more than 20 leading philanthropy and development executives across 14 major London-based institutions.

After relocating from Australia to the UK in November 2020, she has focused her fundraising efforts on connecting supporters to worthy causes, building genuine relationships that have enabled her to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for several diverse charities. 

Maddie gave a very entertaining account of her journey so far, and passed on several useful tips for successful fundraising!

Gill Russell

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