A Sequim Sunrise Rotary Club Fundraiser for Sequim’s Homeless Youth

We appreciate all the excitement and interest in “The Boys in the Boat” movie. The movie was released in theaters on Christmas Day and is now streaming on Max.

You may donate directly to the JRRYF by clicking on one of the links below.

The Joe Rantz Rotary Youth Fund was conceived in 2018 by the Sequim Sunrise Rotary club after The Boys in the Boat book was released.  Rantz is the central character in the book which chronicle his struggles through life in his early years in Sequim, culminating with his Olympic gold medal win at Berlin in 1936. Our club realized Sequim was not honoring Joe in his hometown, and wanted to do something in his name. It was then when the Sequim Sunrise Rotary Club began discussing Joe’s past, today’s homeless youth in Sequim, and the huge need to help them. The goal of the Joe Rantz Rotary Youth Fund is to create a home for Sequim’s homeless youth – the Joe Rantz Rotary Youth House.

Audio Transcript

Our club was proud to raise the first $28,000 towards the JRRY House, and now turn to our community to join in honoring Joe, while helping the homeless youth of Sequim. Rotary is a 501c-3 charity, your donation is tax-deductible. Total fundraising goal for the JRRY house is $750,000. Thank you for your support!

Sequim’s Homeless Youth

Sequim is nearing 170 homeless youth, and over 50 at the high school. The number of unaccompanied high school youth is 27. 6% of our school district is considered homeless. The federal government requires all homeless kids to sign up with a program called McKinney-Vento, 30% of our MV youth are considered ‘unaccompanied’ compared to the national average of 3%. How do kids end up in this situation?

Top 5 reasons Teens are Homeless:

  1. Lack of affordable housing – parent’s are not able to find safe temporary housing.
  2. Parental drug and alcohol addiction – creates housing instability and a lack of safety. 
  3. Parents choose not to support a youth struggling with difficult behaviors.
  4. Just like Joe, parents move to a new area or begin a new relationship. 
  5. Youth identifies as LGBTQ+ and parents cannot support the lifestyle.

Donate to the JRRYF House:

Donate via check, make check payable to Sequim Sunrise Rotary, note JRRYF, mail to:

Sequim Sunrise Rotary (JRRYF)
P.O.  Box 1521, Sequim, WA 98382

Donate via credit card, use PayPal or Venmo:

Joe’s History in Sequim

Rantz’ mother died when he was 3 and his father soon remarried and had more children. In 1924 Sequim, at age 10, Joe was exiled from his family home by his stepmother. Joe slept in Sequim’s one-room schoolhouse, foraged for food, and worked odd-jobs to survive.

Eventually his father insisted Joe be allowed home, but that didn’t last long. At 15 he returned from school to find the family packed for a move in search of a better life. His stepmother wouldn’t allow him along.

For 2 years, Joe was again alone, surviving by logging and doing odd jobs for farmers. All the while making good grades at Sequim High School.

When Joe was 17, his older brother whom had become a school teacher, invited Joe to come live with him and his wife in Seattle. Joe excelled, and was later accepted into the University of Washington where he started rowing, and later went on to become an Olympic Gold medalist.  

Rantz is the main character in the book The Boys in the Boat, which is about his early year struggles, which culminated with an Olympic gold medal win at Berlin in 1936. His story is our inspiration.

More About Joe and The Boys in the Boat:

  1. Profile: Joe Rantz’s Opportunity Began in High School
  2. Sequim Gazette: No Ordinary Joe
  3. PDN: From Sequim to Berlin… Leads to Best Seller
  4. The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown is available for purchase at book stores and on Amazon

– The Latest News and Info from our Blog –


New Video About the Fund

A fabulous new video has been released that highlights ASUW Shell House, Sequim High School Interact Club, and Sequim Rotary. This video celebrated the spirit of teamwork, rowing, and survival of Joe Rantz through the eyes of current Sequim students and retired UW rowers. The effort is to build the Joe Rantz Rotary Youth House…

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Group at shell house

Gold Medal Field Trip

On Wednesday, May 17th, a group of 23 Interact members and 18 Rotarians embarked on an exciting field trip to explore Joe Rantz, Boys In the Boat, ASUW Shell House, UW Rowing program, and visit Rotary Seattle-4. On the bus, we engaged with a former UW rowing coach and rower, discovering the dedication and focus…

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Joe Rantz

Joe Rantz Rotary Youth Fund History

The Club became committed at their 2018 fundraising auction when Rotary was told two senior girls had formed a pack to commit suicide the day after the graduation senior party because, after high school, they could see no future. Fortunately, the SHS counselor got wind of their plan and got the girl’s help. However, their…

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Movie trailer for “The Boys In The Boat” which opens Christmas Day 2023

Be a part of this journey via a donation to the fund, and follow the Joe Rantz Rotary Youth Fund’s progress on Facebook!

Or make checks payable to Sequim Sunrise Rotary (note JRRYF) P.O. Box 1521, Sequim, WA 98382

Rotary is a 501c-3 charity.