If there is one project the Rotary Club of Makati is most associated with and best known for, it is Books Across the Seas, or BATS.
The shining legacy of Pres. Jesus “Gigi” Zulueta, BATS is a book distribution scheme that was originally run jointly by the U.S. Embassy’s United States Information Service (USIS) and the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham). In 1988 it was passed on to the Club after due diligence by the USIS and AmCham assured them that RC Makati was the right organization to bequeath it to, given its track record in public service and its possession of the resources required to sustain operations for a long time.
The Club has since reinforced its links with the Brother’s Brother Foundation, a charitable foundation based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from which the Club sources the books it distributes to schools. Now on its 27th year, BATS is the longest running project operated on its own by RC Makati, without assistance from other Rotary Clubs. As of yearend of 2015, it had distributed 15 million books and 60,000 schools throughout the country.
Another project Pres. Gigi gets credit for is the Christmas Bazaar, an enduring fund generator that fattened the Club’s purse by well over 12 million in its 25-year run, from its first at the Manila Polo Club in November 1988 that brought in less than P55,000 in net revenue, to its final one at the Intercon Hotel in November 2013 that brought in proceeds of P1,256,000.00 net. Following the template set by First Ann J’net Zulueta in 1988, subsequent bazaars were chaired by the Ann of the sitting president.
The year also saw the Club building a link with Heartbeat International for the Rotary Pacemaker Project, under which the Club donated pacemakers to 10 patients on Year One and more in succeeding years.
Pres. Gigi also set up a microfinance project dubbed Bangko Pag-asa, which that year granted small loans to 11 small entrepreneurs in Brgy. La Paz, Makati. The project was so well managed that it boasted a repayment rate of nearly 100%.
A boost on the international service front came with the initiation of one new matched-clubs relations—with the Rotary Club of Rochester in Michigan, USA, and the renewal of an old
one—with the Rotary Club of Vigan. The signing of the renewal agreement was the culmination of a visit to the Ilocos Sur capital where the Club conducted a medical mission and distributed books to schools.
RY 1988-1989 was a banner year crowned by a hail of awards from the district at the yearend awards program, including the much coveted twin awards: Most Outstanding Club-Overall and Most Outstanding President-Overall. The Club was also recognized with awards as Most Outstanding Club in Club Service, Most Outstanding Club in Community Service, and Most Outstanding Club in International Service, and for the Most Significant Achievement Award for Books Across the Seas, and Most Outstanding Club Bulletin. The awards were conferred by the district on its final year as District 381.