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Mike Tormey Champions Rotary Global Grant for Semilla Nueva

Mike Tormey traveled to Guatemala a few years ago to help build a house. Like many people who visit Guatemala, he soon fell in love. Years later when he learned about Semilla Nueva and the programs that empower rural families, he knew he could use his experience with Rotary to help the country and people that captured his heart.

Mike is 4th generation native Coloradan, growing up in rural Weld County before moving to Greeley as a young man. Involved in Rotary for much of his life, Mike served as District Governor for District 5440 for the year 2003-04. He was named District Rotary Foundation Chair and served for 4 years as District 5440 was selected at one of one hundred districts worldwide to pilot the now current Rotary Grand system. From 1999-2000, Mike served as president of the Rotary Club of Greeley, Centennial. He currently serves as an Assistant Area Rotary Foundation Coordinator service Zone 27, and is an active member of The Rotary Club of Denver, LoDo. Needless to say, he knows Rotary pretty well.

Mike Tormey compressed

The Rotary International Global Grant is a complex and brilliant system of leveraging funds. Donations from clubs or individuals are matched by 3.5, providing ample funds for deserving projects. Mike became interested in Semilla Nueva’s work because it “teaches people to fish, rather than giving fish”. Promoting Semilla Nueva’s project to clubs in his own district, his efforts, along with Fort Collins Rotarian Alan Ashbaugh, were instrumental for Semilla Nueva to get the grant process rolling months ahead of the expected start date. Through the application process, his partnership and guidance helped overcome challenges and acquire the pledges and donations necessary to bring the planned projects to life.

Thanks to Mike, and the many other Rotarians that share his passion for improving lives, Semilla Nueva received the Global Grant in 2013. Funds from this grant allowed Semilla Nueva to expand their programs to five more communities, purchase a truck that will last for decades, and hired a full-time Food Security Coordinator and full-time field technician. But the true impact of Rotary’s efforts was seen this fall as families eat the vitamin-rich leaves of 6,000 chaya stalks, harvest the small red pigeonpea beans from 2,000 family fields, and grow millions of grams of protein in a familiar but improved crop: corn.

With the huge success of our first Global Grant in partnership with Rotary, Semilla Nueva is applying for a second grant in 2014. If you would like more information about the grant, or would like to make a donation (funds donated through Rotary are multiplied by 3.5 automatically. You do not have to be a Rotarian to contribute), please contact Mike Markley via email:


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