Foundation History
The Rotary Club of South Sacramento Foundation (Foundation) was formed in 1990 by a forward-looking group of South Sacramento Rotarian.  They had a desire to form a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization which would allow Club members to donate money in a tax-deductible fashion for charity.  The workings of the Foundation are like The Rotary International Foundation in that they are both non-profits organization which invests its endowment for annual returns, through dividends and interest.  The Foundation allows the giving by the Club to be charitable. The tax-exempt status of the organization would also allow Club members to designate a personal charity to receive their donated funds by “passing through” their contributions via the Foundation, and still enjoy the tax deduction.
The Foundation’s original Board of Trustees were Bud Ravizza, Dwight Norris, Don Taylor, Fred Croy, Elwyn Gibbs, Ed Thomas and Frank Pereira.  The Articles of Incorporation, as well as the Bylaws, with the help of Attorney Warren Seaman were established at the Foundation’s onset. These directors also contributed funds to the Foundation to allow it to open its first bank account at Farmers and Merchants Bank on Florin Road with a balance of $2,100.
The Foundation raised additional funds through individual donations, “Charter Member” status for any individual contributing $100 within the first six months of 1991.  Bud Ravizza sweetened the deal by matching donations with his own contribution up to $1,000.   In that first 6 months, 33 members donated almost $9,500 to the Foundation.  Later, the Foundation was to designate, “The Horizon Award” for any individual whose cumulative donations amounted to $1,000 or more.
The Initial Financial Goal was to raise $25,000 for the permanent endowment fund in first five (5) years of operations.  It is apparent that the first Directors of the Foundation saw a vision of how this non-profit vehicle could work for our Club.  It was through their tenacity and follow-through that got us where we are today.
As you might imagine, change is often resisted. Some members of our Club at the time were concerned on how this would affect the club’s inter-workings and operations.  The Foundation Board made a formal presentation to the Club in late 1991.  At that meeting, Frank Periera led the charge by introducing the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.  Fred Croy discussed his experience starting a Foundation at the Rotary Club in Needles, CA, and how members of that Club wanted to donate funds to their own Club and receive a tax benefit.  He went on to say how their new Foundation, returning annual interest and dividends to the Needles Club helped accomplish that goal.  Dwight Norris spoke about the Foundation’s Bylaws and discussed the relationship between the Club and Foundation. Dwight reaffirmed how donations to the Foundation were tax deductible.  When questions and answers were presented, Rotarian Ed Thomas indicated the hardship he had when becoming Club President with only $300 to operate in the general fund.   He was happy that there would be more funds available for scholarships through the Foundation.
In the early years the Club slowly embraced the Foundation and worked with it to help make it a success.  For fundraising, Bud Ravizza and his friend Angelo Tsakopolis began a matching fund program.  The Board members became more creative and aggressive in fundraising.  For instance, the Foundation and the Club partnered with a Zoo Fundraiser Raffle netting the Foundation $440.  The Foundation partnered with the Point West Rotary Club in yet another raffle.  There were Football Pools, fines, and of course additional donations.  Thinking out of the box, Rotarian Rudy Bialuski of Giselle’s Travel suggested organizing a vacation tour where a portion of the ticket price would go to the Foundation.  Through most of the early years, the Foundation received a percentage of the Club’s fundraising funds and Bud Ravizza continued this donation-matching program.  He also brought Jim Connick into the mix as well.   More fund-raising included the John F. Otto Golf Tournament, ringing the Rotary Bell for the Foundation, and of course pledges from Rotarian’s and non-Rotarian’s alike.
Chronology of Foundation
1992:   Received approval from the IRS as a tax-exempt, non-profit status under the entity “Rotary Club of South Sacramento Foundation
1993: Memorandum of Understanding between the Club and Foundation agreed upon to be renewed every fiscal year.  This agreement had the Club donating 20% of their fundraising activities to the Foundation. Also in that year, Rotarian Rudy Bialuski donated a residential lot in Pahrump, Nevada to the Foundation.
1995: $25,000 goal reached within a 5-year period. $23,000 transferred into a new Merrill Lynch stock Account.
1996: Craig Stevenson joins the Board of Directors.  Rotarian Al Franks requests and receives a $500 matching grant from the Foundation for Rotary International Flood Relief.
1997:  $12,000 CD was purchased @ 7.4% annual interest rate. Also, a Permanent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Rotary Club was signed, that designates 20% of Club fundraisers to be given to the Foundation.  That MOU is still used today. The Foundation then set a goal of $50,000 in assets.  Five Years Later in 2002 that $50,000 Goal was reached.
2003:  Pahrump, Nevada land, donated by Rudi Bialuski ten years before, sells for $6,500.  $500 is given to the Women’s Civic Improvement Center
Since 2005 the Foundation funding as grown from 87,000 to over $250,000 in 2022.  The Foundation Investment Policy defines and outlines where to invest our assets for the highest, yet safest returns for the risk factor to meet the Foundation objectives.  This was in part achieved with the help of our investment advisor, Christopher Bradford of Bradford Investments, a West Sacramento Rotarian who is responsible for that Club’s Foundation assets.  In 2019 the Foundation established the endowment at $200,000.
The Foundation has resurrected the “Horizon Award” and has presented it to those who earned it through their stubbornness to make the Foundation possible.  They are, starting with our Charter Members who pledged $100 in the first 6 months of the Foundations existence:
  • John Wochnich
  • Dave Wilson
  • Al Franks
  • Jim Connick
Special recognition for those who founded the Board of Directors, and who has given over $1,000 to the cause went to:
  • Dwight Norris
  • Don Taylor
  • Fred Croy
  • Bud Ravizza
And recognition for to Rotarian’s who have given over $1,000 to the Foundation:
  • Dave Wilson
  • Jim Connick
  • Al Franks
  • Frank Cook
  • Craig Stevenson
  • Michael DiGrazia
South Sacramento Rotary Foundation Horizon Award
Special Recognition for Founding Members and those that have contributed a minimum of $1,000 to the South Sacramento Rotary Foundation:
  • John Wochnick*
  • Dave Wilson*
  • Al Franks*
  • Jim Connick*
  • Dwight Norris*
  • Don Taylor*
  • Fred Croy*
  • Bud Ravizza*
  • Craig Stevenson
  • Frank Cook
  • Michael DiGrazia
*Founding member of the Rotary Club of South Sacramento Foundation