“Small Society Big Hats”
How an idea to raise funds at a Zone Meeting has turned into a 15 year adventure.
The White Hat Society was formed in September 2004 at the Rotary Institute in Scottsdale, Arizona to promote regular, significant, annual giving to the Rotary Foundation. One member bet another to give $5000 to get another member to give and so on. PDG Ed Mullen was amazed that they raised over $250,000 almost overnight. As a true Texan, PDG Bill Bryce, the other Founder, suggested that they give out White Hats as a symbol of true Texan giving. Bob Lowe of Russell Hampton Company agreed. However Bob came up with the idea of a White Hat pin instead. Bob and his Russell-Hampton Company provide all of the White Hat pins at no cost. The society calls it a “Concho”. They were helped in their start-up by then RI Director – later President – Ron Burton and they dedicated the Society to him.
And now in November 2018, White Hat donations to the Foundation exceeded $5,000,000 US, with more than 450 members. The Society started out with 5 levels each of achievement represents $5000. Level 1 Charter Membership; Level 2, 3, and 4 Concho awards, and Level 5 Lifetime Award.
Since June our contributions to the White Hat Society has grown over 25% as we now are over $5 Million. The majority – over $600,000 – has come from District 5890 which encompasses most of the area in and around Houston, Texas.
Rotarians in Districts 5000 –Hawaii and District 5150—Northern California insisted on pushing the envelope. This is why the WHS has created 5 new levels ; Ascendant Membership Level 6, Lone Star Membership Level 7, Diamondhead Membership Level 8, Kona Membership Level 9, and Golden Gate Membership Level 10.
Membership in this Society requires a donation to the Rotary Foundation of $5,000 US in a single Rotary year. Our Members receive a White Hat Certificate, a White Hat pin marked with a Southwestern Concho provided at no cost by Russell-Hampton, an email subscription to the White Hat newsletter, and an invitation to the White Hat celebrations held in major cities around the world.
Donations on behalf of the White Hat Society must be made directly through the member’s own Club, District, or Foundation account in the usual manner. No funds should ever be sent to the Society. Donations must represent new contributions to the Foundation and not ‘Points’. Once the $5,000 level has been reached in a Rotary year, simply notify the Society to receive the membership kit. Donors should notify The White Hat Chairman, PDG Ed Mullen of District 5870, email@example.com, 254-698-2304 of their contributions and status. We operate on the principles of the Four Way Test, so your word is good enough.
WH members need NOT make a donation every year. One gets you into the Society. However, for each subsequent $5,000 donation a new pin, emblazoned with additional Conchos, and a new certificate reflecting the elevated status is earned. Simply report the additional donations to the Society. Spouses and Partners may jointly receive the Honors unless each chooses to make a separate $5,000 donation.
Donations may take any form accepted by the Foundation and may be applied to any of the Foundation’s programs. Those donations applied to the Annual Fund count toward Paul Harris Fellowships and Major Donor status in the usual way.
Donors should notify The White Hat Chairman, PDG Ed Mullen of District 5870, firstname.lastname@example.org, 1-254-698-2304 for updates of their contributions and status. The White Hat website, www.taptrain.com/rotary is provided and maintained by milMedia Group of Killeen, Texas, www.milmediagroup.com.