Rowing for Our Community – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Rowing for Our Community

At HWS, when students row, they row not only for championship titles, they row for the community. During the fall semester, the Hobart and William Smith Colleges rowing teams are preparing to host their 7th annual Row for Community (RFC) fundraiser and are now accepting grant proposals from local community organizations who wish to receive grants. The event, which will be held this year on Feb. 18, 2009, has raised more than $28,000 for the Geneva community since 2003.

Row for Community (formerly know as Row for Humanity) is a community service fundraising project that partners the Hobart and William Smith rowing teams with the local community. Each year, student-athletes on the rowing teams solicit sponsors, mostly from friends and family. Then, on Feb. 18, every rower, coxswain and coach will row for one hour on an indoor rowing machine.

The teams have formed a Community Engagement Committee which is in charge of disbursing 10 percent of the team’s gross in this event to local organizations. Based on past successes, the teams plan to award a total of $3,000 in grants. Grants are categorized as small ($1-$150) or large ($151-$1500).

Award decisions will be based on but not limited to the long-term impact of the project, numbers of individuals impacted, and/or the depth to which individuals are affected.  Site visits may be required depending on the competitiveness of the applicant pool.  In the past, the Committee has also been drawn to proposals from organizations that impact youth, but engaging youth is not a requirement for award grants.

Last year, grants were awarded to the Geneva Agri-Business Child Development Center, Catholic Charities of the Finger Lakes Community Lunch Program, the First United Methodist Church, and the Middlesex Elementary School. The teams also made the largest one-time grant to the Geneva Boxing Club before the Hill family’s selection for ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover.

Hobart and William Smith added rowing as a varsity sport in 1983. Now, more than 90 students are actively competing for the Colleges. The teams have attained national success, earning medals at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships, and appearing six times at the NCAA Women’s Rowing Championships. Rowers have also represented the United States at the World Championships and other international competitions.

As a sport and a community, rowing offers the opportunity to see how success can be obtained more easily when many people are working for a common goal.  The HWS rowing teams hope to continue sharing the sport and the lessons they learn through it by engaging with the community whenever possible.

If your organization is interested in applying for a grant or if you would like more information, click here.