Merry Christmas: Local Rotary Club chapter helps 250 children with holiday gifts
|Austin Business Journal - December 23, 2004
The Austin Westlake Rotary Club, with the help of three businessmen from Austin, California and Washington, is helping 100 local families, including 250 children, celebrate Christmas this year. The project was funded by Nick Matzorkis, a technology and entertainment entrepreneur, through the Matzorkis Family Foundation; by Nicholas Rockefeller, a Los Angeles venture capital counselor; and by Naveen Jain, co-owner of the Seattle Supersonics.
In past years, the local Rotary Club, an organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, has raised enough money to support two area families at Christmas. But this year, the club's goal was to help 100 families, each of whom will receive a sack of toys for their children, gift cards to local stores and groceries for Christmas dinner.
According to Arlen Hanle, recent president of the local Rotary chapter, the donation came about at the suggestion of Nick Matzorkis. "When I told Nick about the Rotary's Christmas tradition, his first reaction was, 'Let's shoot for 100 families this year,'" Hanle says."He came back to me the following week with the money we needed to make it happen."
Some 20 Rotary volunteers have visited dozens of local stores to gather the gifts, wrap and prepare them for delivery to the families.
The families were nominated by Joyce Bannerot, principal of Popham Elementary School in the Del Valle School District, and wife of Austin Westlake Rotary Club member James Bannerot.
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