Dowagiac Rotary Charitable Foundation donates to Rotary Villa

DOWAGIAC — Residents of the Dowagiac Rotary Villa, a senior subsidized housing unit which opened in 1988, are now getting two brand new TVs.

Recently, the 24-unit apartment’s management applied for a grant through the Dowagiac Rotary Charitable Foundation Board to purchase two new TV sets for both of the apartment’s lounge areas.

On Friday, members of the foundation board presented Dowagiac Rotary Villa residents and manager Darlene Hoekstra with a $500 check to purchase two flat-screen and wall-mounted TVs. One will be on the floor’s main lounge area. In a lounge located on the complex’s second floor will be the other TV.

The Dowagiac Rotary Villa, 300 Cleveland St., Dowagiac, is a senior housing community for people who are 62 years of age or older or for people who are 18 years and older and are disabled or mobility impaired.

“Right now, we just have an antenna on the roof, so the older models [of TVs] are not able to pull in the signals,” Hoekstra said, following the check presentation. “We really needed the updated TVs to get the signal with all the changes they have had with radio waves. We really wanted to do this.”

The present television models are vintage, Hoekstra added.

As residents of the Dowagiac Rotary Village prepared for a Valentine’s Day party later in the afternoon, they expressed excitement about watching future football games and other programs on their brand-new TVs.

Members of the Dowagiac Rotary Charitable Foundation Board, including Barbara Groner, Larry Crandall and Charlie Gratz, were also present at the check presentation. The Dowagiac Rotary Charitable Foundation Board is a separate entity from the Dowagiac Rotary Club, organizers said. The foundation is a 501c3 and has a grant request program. Organizations applying for grants fill out an application, and then the foundation board meets to consider those projects.

“Our bylaws limit the amount of money we can donate each year,” Crandall said.

“The TV project came about because they needed new TVs,” Groner said. “I told them to apply for a grant through our foundation.”

In the past, the foundation has awarded grant money to Rotary Villa to help refurbish its downstairs lounge with a couch from Imperial Furniture and replace padding on chairs.

Groner said the Dowagiac Rotary Club was instrumental in helping the Dowagiac Rotary Villa project to be approved through the Department of Housing and Urban Development in 1985. By 1988, the building was finished, and residents were moving in. The process took 100s of letters written by community members and late Rotarian Fred Mathews visiting Lansing to speak with people who could push the project through.

In 2027, the mortgage on the Dowagiac Rotary Villa will be paid off, and the Dowagiac Rotary Club will take over ownership of the complex if the club is still in existence.

The apartment complex, which is also close to downtown Dowagiac, also has an intercom entry system for secure entry of residents and visitors. The complex also has a laundry room and community room on the main floor.

Hoekstra said the residents are a close-knit group.

“Everybody gets along great, and they have mini parties all of the time,” she said. “They have mini parties throughout the year. They do Thanksgiving and Christmas together, and they get along really well.”

Hoekstra said she brings in certain nurses once or twice a month to facilitate bingo. Ascension Borgess  Lee Memorial Hospital is also visiting soon to do a blood pressure workshop.

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