By Mark Ambrogi
Call it beginner’s luck, but the first time certainly was the charm for Mark Plassman.
On his first visit to the Zionsville Century Club, not only was he selected to present his charity, but he left with a $6,800 check to donate to it.
The Century Club is a group of men, predominantly from Zionsville, who meet quarterly to support a charity. Each attendee interested in presenting a cause drops his name in a hat, and three are selected to explain why their charity should be chosen. The club members vote through a secret ballot, then everyone writes $100 checks to the winner.
“Our motto is to give where you live,” said Zionsville resident Todd Sullivan, the nonprofit’s chief organizer. “My mother is in a group in Ohio. They’re up to 250 women now, so when they get together, they give away 25 grand a pop. We’re just trying to grow.”
The club’s name refers to its goal of having 100 members. At the last few meetings, Sullivan said attendance has been approximately 60 to 70 men, and the group has been growing through word of mouth.
“Everyone here is here because a friend or neighbor told them,” he said.
Sullivan said the first time the group met there were 20 men in attendance. The meetings are held the second Thursday of the month in February, May, August and November at the American Legion, 9950 E. 600 S., Zionsville. The next meeting is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. Aug. 11.
Plassman’s charity was Noble of Indiana.
“My sister has cerebral palsy, and she benefited from an organization like Noble of Indiana in Fort Wayne,” said Plassman, a Zionsville resident who grew up in Fort Wayne. “It was very helpful for early childhood development and allowed her to ultimately mainstream in elementary and high school education. I wanted to find an organization in Indianapolis (that is) similar.”
His sister, Anne Plassman, 39, now lives in Muncie.
Plassman said Noble of Indiana provides job placement and workforce development for those with disabilities. Plassman has chaired a golf outing for Noble of Indiana for 11 years.
“Our golf outing is June 7, and we’re a little short in terms of our goals, so this is going to be a huge help,” Plassman said.
His brother-in-law, Jon Weed, brought Plassman to the event. Weed made the presentation for November’s winning charity, Boys & Girls Club of Zionsville, which received $6,500 from the Century Club. Weed has been on the organization’s board for nine years and has been president for two years.
“It was perfect because it was a time of the year where we had a lot of expenses we didn’t plan for, like repairs of air conditioning,” Weed said. “(Century Club) has been a really neat community organization. We just need to get it to 100 guys. To be able to hand someone a check for $10,000 in one night is something.”
For more, or to join the Century Club, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Zionsville resident Randy Judd knows firsthand the value of Rock Steady Boxing. The mission of the Indianapolis organization is to empower people with Parkinson’s disease.
“I found out about Rock Steady shortly after I was diagnosed,” Judd said. “I’ve been going to Rock Steady for 2 1/2 years. I serve on the board of directors at Rock Steady.”
Judd presented Rock Steady Boxing, the winning charity ($6,700) in February.
Rock Steady Boxing was started in 2006 by Scott Newman, former Marion County prosecutor, who is living with Parkinson’s disease.
“A police officer, who is a boxer, invited Scott to go for an exercise, and Scott recognized the benefits immediately,” Judd said.
Rock Steady Boxing gave a demonstration during the May Century Club meeting.
Rock Steady Executive Director Joyce Johnson said a 10-minute segment on CBS Sunday Morning in November did more for the group than it had been able to do previously.
“Our phones went crazy, and our website shut down,” Johnson said. “Everybody wanted to have Rocky Steady Boxing in their community. A year ago, we were training 10 or 12 people a month. After that piece, we are training 50 to 60 a month. They learn to do it and replicate in their communities.”
Johnson said they used to have to do the training with a tiny TV and a little PowerPoint presentation. The donation allowed Rock Steady to secure a 10-foot-wide screen that comes down from the ceiling, an overhead projector and a speaker in the back can hear.