By Jeff Martin

Unlike the majority of Rotary Clubs throughout the nation, the Rotary Club of Ellicottville focuses on what its members believe is the absolute most important sector in the nation: immediate surroundings.

“We don’t have a ton of members,” Greg Cappelli, current president of the club, said recently. “But for those who are involved, we’re more dedicated to the surrounding community than most Rotary Clubs are with their communities.”

Cappelli, one of the founding members of the group, is preparing for its annual Rotary Ski Day. In its 15th year, the event is scheduled for Feb. 15 at HoliMont from 9 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Door prizes, which include ski prizes, will be offered, as well as a food and cash bar.

The cost is $60 per person, which includes a ski pass and lunch; the cost is $20 per person for lunch only. Reservations can be made by calling Jack Luzier at (716) 945-2283 or by emailing him at

Everyone is invited, Cappelli said, and money raised will be dedicated to various causes throughout the Ellicottville community.

Created in 1999, the Rotary Club of Ellicottville, has been a driving force in assisting local organizations, including the local library and school district, in their efforts to improve services.

Some of the club’s more notable projects include the purchasing of two computers and accompanying equipment for the local library. In addition to computers, the club bought the library an iPad and two Kindles.

“We continue to keep the library electronically sound,” Cappelli said.

The club has also helped with local food banks, women’s shelter, Santa’s Workshop and other holiday programs, and scholarships. Events include a children’s fair and a summer folk art and music festival. A popular event, Voodoo Moon, will again be held in August. Cappelli said that event typically attracts over 200 people and serves as one of the club’s main fundraisers.

The club also focuses on specific families who are struggling with sickness.

“Families fighting cancer is always hard on them financially,” he said, adding that the club assists with gas money for medical appointments. “We help them where we can.”

The club also assists local students who have difficulty securing funds to attend field trips. Recently, the club sponsored a children’s book author and purchased several sets of her books so that local students had access to them.

With Family Support for Ellicottville, described as «a bridge between families and supportive assistance,» the club acts as a charitable organization that allows community members to donate time, goods and money. In turn, goods and services are provided to families that need them, including presents during Christmas, food during Thanksgiving, and urgent and medical needs that arise during difficult situations.

Family Support is staffed completely by volunteers, which ensures that all goods and services reach their destination without any administrative costs.

Oftentimes people think of the Rotary Club as a social organization, which Cappelli said is discouraging. Efforts to help local organizations and families require more than just people getting together and socializing, he said. Because of that, prospective members are invited to join the club.

More information about the club can be found at

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