The Robbins Fund
The Robbins Fund was started in 1993 and is named after William (Bill) A. Robbins. At the time Bill was a member of the Miami Rotary Club and Rotary International President 1974-1975. He later joined the Ft. Lauderdale downtown club. Bill was in the citrus business and owned several hundred acres of land in Davie that were citrus farms. His theme for his year as President was “Renew the Spirit of Rotary.”
When Hurricane Andrew hit in 1992, District 6990 was caught off guard. The destruction to South Florida and especially Homestead was catastrophic.
The news coverage was all over television. Rotarians and people responded to the needs of South Florida after this storm. As Governor, Bob Menconi knew we had to move quickly. We started getting checks and phone calls as to where to wire money. The President of the Hollywood Rotary Club was a branch manager for a local bank. She opened the account there and 1.4 million dollars filtered through that account assisting people in need. We knew it was a short-term need and insurances would set in for the long term.
After the main distribution was done following Hurricane Andrew, there was $990.00 left in the account. We gave it all away, with no expenses charged to the donations. It earned about $1,500.00 in interest over the period and this was used to send thank you letters to everyone that donated to our situation. The letters all said thank you and acknowledged the amount given by each.
We soon realized we needed to be prepared for the future and to assist if we could with others. Also that a 501c3 was needed for the future. The finance committee was approached to approve and start the process for a tool to accept donations for future needs and to be a collection tool if other areas needed assistance. This fund was designed to collect money spend all of it on disaster relief efforts.
The fund, working independently of the finance committee with its own board of trustees, has been used several times assisting other Rotary districts with donations. The non-profit corporation was set-up and IRS dealings were all done pro bono by Rotarians in our district. The 501c3 was approved on the first go round with the IRS.
Since its formation in 1993, the Robbins Fund has been used to help victims of hurricanes and earthquakes all over the world and continues to provide relief to those in need.