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Bingo! Rotary Charitable Foundation surpasses $1 million in donations raised from radio bingo

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
Dryden Rotary President Brian Braid, Rotary Charitable Foundation Chair Rena Madden (centre) and Sandra Boyko heft a giant cheque in recognition of a $1 million milestone for the club’s Rotary Radio Bingo charitable effort. Staff photo

By Chris Marchand

“It sure beats sitting somewhere selling raffle tickets,” says the gravelly voice of Clare Thompson through the cheerful din of clanking silverware at last week’s Dryden Rotary luncheon.

Across from me, John Carlucci is grinning like a proud Dad. His original idea for the local club’s radio bingo charity has just turned 10 years old and already has proven its worth to the community.

Dryden Rotary Radio Bingo was the subject of the luncheon’s address, Sept. 17 — more specifically the announcement that the club had reached a million dollar milestone. To be exact, it was more like $1,052,344.51.

“I think it shows that through the volunteer efforts of many you can help entire communities,” said Dryden Rotary Charity Foundation Chair. “If someone is thinking about becoming a volunteer, jump in and help.”

The 90-plus organizations that have received funds from the Rotary Charitable Foundation are primarily Dryden-based, with 17 per cent going to organizations in Ignace, Red Lake and Sioux Lookout (commensurate with bingo card sales in those communities).

Raising an average of $217,000 per year, the Foundation’s biggest recipients include the Dryden Health Services Foundation, The Dryden Entertainment Series and the Rotary Park Project (to whom the club has pledged $100,000 over several years).

Qualifying organizations can apply to become funding recipients via an application form available on the club’s website at

Dryden Rotary’s Sandra Boyko says running the bingo can be a complex task in this era of intense provincial scrutiny on lottery and gaming activities.

“There’s a lot of behind the scenes work with the lottery licensing. It’s very particular and you have to document everything,” said Dryden Rotary’s Sandra Boyko. “You need a very clear paper trail. So it is quite labour intensive, but obviously it pays off for the communities and the people.”

Four times a year the Foundation considers applications focused on: the relief of poverty; the advancement of education; the advancement of religion; and other activities beneficial to the community.

Organizations must be in operation for at least one year to be considered.

Rotary Charitable Foundation Top-20  

Over the years Dryden Rotary Club’s Charity Bingo has provided funding for 91 local and regional organizations distributing a total of $1,052,344.51. Here’s a look at the top 20 organizations that have benefitted the most from the charitable endeavour.

1. Dryden Health Services Foundation $163,500.00

2. Rotary Park/Neighbourhood Legacy $89,634.09

3. TBRHSC – Tamarac House $56,000.00

4. Dryden Entertainment Series $53,034.00

5. Dryden High School Scholarships $50,500.00

6. Dryden Youth Soccer/Rotary Park $50,000.00

7. Dryden Food Bank $37,500.00

8. Mayor’s Committee For Children and Youth $36,500.00

9. Dryden Youth Centre $34,000.00

10. Red Lake Margaret Cochenour Hospital $33,000.00

11. Meno Ya Win Health Centre Foundation $27,816.39

12. DRHC Doctor Recruitment $25,500.00

13. Dryden Christmas Cheer $24,500.00

14. Dryden Public Library $20,000.00

15. Chukuni Christmas Cheer Board $19,500.00

16. Dryden Youth Soccer $15,000.00

17. Dryden Centennial 2010 Donation $13,000.00

18. NWHU Student Nutrition Program $13,000.00

19. DHS Track and Field $12,500.00

20. Still Me Program $10,000.00

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