In 38 years, the Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance has drawn hundreds of thousands of car enthusiasts to the Pacific University campus to fawn over meticulously maintained Bentleys, Ferraris, Corvettes and Mercedes.
The famed automobile show has also raised more than $1 million for student scholarships and youth and community service projects managed by the Forest Grove Rotary Club.
“We’re pretty proud of that,” said Jim Crisp, the club’s treasurer. The local club, which was founded in 1924, takes seriously the international service organization’s motto, “Service above Self.”
But Crisp, who also takes photos of car entries during the one-day show, said the regional event is truly a community effort in the town of 21,000, located west of Portland.
“It’s Rotarians and other volunteers who make this thing work,” said Crisp. The day of the show, he said, there are about 300 volunteers on campus, doing everything from taking tickets to dishing up food.
Perennial participants include members of the Forest Grove High football team, who put up fencing and local Boy Scouts, who handle the garbage.
That same focus on community service guides the club as it uses proceeds from the event, particularly as they consider scholarships.
“We ask ourselves during the selection process, ‘Who can use the money more than others’?” said Joe Post, chair of the Concours scholarship committee. “We’re also looking to help people who are going to give back to their home town, and to America.”
Post, a local attorney, said committee members look at academic performance, college entrance exam scores and extracurricular activities during the screening process. They also consider whether the student is the first in his or her family to attend college and whether there is a demonstrated financial need.
Service programs that get a portion of Concours proceeds through the local Rotary club include Forest Grove High FFA, Mercy Corps, the Rotary International Foundation, Ballet Folklorico, Little League, Adventures Without Limits, Forest Grove West Classic Soccer and the Neil Armstrong Middle School Korea exchange, among others.