Fishers on tap


Rotary event raises funds for multiple organizations

By Ann Craig-Cinnamon

You have no doubt heard of the Rotary Club. It’s an international organization that’s been around since 1905. You’re probably also aware that there is a Rotary Club chapter in Fishers. It has been around for 22 years, having been founded in 1992.

What you may not know, however, is how much the Rotary Club of Fishers gives an astounding amount of funds back to the community – $680,000 to 90 different organizations during that 22 years of existence.

The local Rotary engages its 121 members in a variety of different fundraising activities including the upcoming Fishers on Tap which is an Indiana craft beer-tasting event. It was the brainchild of co-chairs Bill Jerrow and Michele Whelchel who came up with the idea three years ago to replace working at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the Indy 500 which, as a fundraising method, had been decreasing in both funds and popularity in recent years.

Fishers on Tap is now the Fishers Rotary’s primary fundraising event. It’s held twice a year during the winter and summer. The winter event is held inside at the Forum Credit Union Conference Center and the summer event is being held June 14 for the second time at the new Nickel Plate District Amphitheater.

It has been a huge success with each event drawing more than 500 people, says Jerrow.

“The combined events, summer and winter, are bringing in about $20,000 a year to our club to give back to our community. And our goal over time as the event grows will be up to $30,000 back to the community,” he said. “We’re trying to do things that aren’t traditionally done, to make ourselves a little unique.”

At a recent Rotary meeting, ten non-profit organizations including the Boy Scouts Crossroads of America Council, Meals on Wheels and Indiana School for the Deaf were presented with a combined $7500 worth of donations.

One organization that has benefitted from the work the Rotary does is a ministry called Servants at Work. According to SAWs President and CEO, Rik Hagarty, since 2009, the Fishers Rotary has completely funded and helped provide the manpower to build ten ramps to help people get into and out of their homes.

“Each of these ramps has afforded the recipient the ability to rejoin their community by allowing them to leave and enter their home virtually without assistance. All of the projects on which the Rotary worked were people with disabilities that were trapped in their own homes. At least one project I can remember involved a man who had all but given up on life because of his isolation,” he said.

Hagarty went on to say that the impact the Fishers Rotary is having on the community is immense.

“I am amazed at the scope, breadth and diversity of the help they provide to the community and their world! Educational support, hunger initiatives, wheel chair ramps … it is amazing,” he said.

Hunger initiatives is an area that the Rotary is getting very involved in according to Whelchel.

“We’re in the process of starting some pilot projects of how we can help feed the Fishers area and that will actually be a huge deal. We’re always looking for where the need is and right now that is where the need is. So we kind of evolve in what we’re doing. Needs change, and we want to be relevant to the community,” she said. To support her contention that there is a great need, she cites statistics that show that Hamilton County has the highest percentage of families with food insecurities in the state.

Fishers on Tap has four different ticket pricing levels and gives participants the opportunity to check out local craft beer and also a local winery. It is also a unique event that affords the chance to mingle with hundreds of other Fishers residents. But most of all, it helps the local community with all proceeds going back to support non-profit organizations. For more information or to buy tickets go to

Fishers on Tap

June 14, 2014 at the Town of Fishers Amphitheater
$60 VIP ticket 4 – 5p.m.
$40 General Admission 5 – 8 p.m.
$20 wine drinkers
$20 designated driver
Beer Samples from Eighteen Indiana Breweries
VIP Hour – Appetizers and Beer Pairings
Dicks Bodacious BBQ Provided
Live Music
Home Beer Making Demonstrations