Poland Rotary plans annual Chili Open

By Ashley Luthern



For a quarter-century, the Poland Rotary has raised more than $1 million for charitable organizations with its Chili Open Auction and Golf Classic.

The Chili Open auction begins at 6 p.m. Jan. 28 at The Georgetown in Boardman, and the golf classic is set for Feb. 26 at Bedford Trails Golf Course in Lowellville.

“Most of the charities that the Rotary supports are local charities, so the money stays right here. This is our biggest fundraiser,” said past Rotary President Carmella Smallhoover.

Mary Ann Carano- Martinko, Poland Rotary community-events director, said that when the outing started 25 years ago, the organization created a makeshift golf course in North Lima near the turnpike.

Now, the auction will feature dinner and dueling pianos, and the golf classic has about 100 participants, she said.

The auction also will honor Kathy Price, founder of Mission of Love, a local nonprofit that began in 1989 and assists area residents and people around the world.

“[Price] was chosen for her service in and out of the community,” Carano- Martinko said.

Price is the second individual to be honored as a “Person of the Year” by the Poland Rotary. Local businessman Henry Nemenz was named the first honoree in 2010.

The Poland Rotary has worked with Mission of Love for many years and has a “special partnership,” Price said.

She said that the award represents something bigger.

“I can’t feel uncomfortable for the recognition because it’s for the people that we represent. I can be the person standing there in honor of them. It’s not about me,” Price said.

Admission to the auction is $60 per person or $100 per couple, and the cost for the golf outing is $25 per person. Corporate sponsorship packages range from $500 to $2,500. Sixteen charities will split the event’s proceeds. For more information, call 330-540-1647, or visit www.polandrotary.org.

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