An unexpected donation will allow a local branch of Rotary International boost its effort to help schools next year.

The Rotary Club of Rincon received a $10,000 donation from the Del Monaco family.

“It doubles our budget for next year,” said President-elect John P. Lee. Previously, their largest annual donation was $3,000.

The gift was made in honor of Diamante “Angelo” Del Monaco, an Italian immigrant who came to America in May 1940, became a citizen and enlisted in the U.S. Army, according to the family.

Del Monaco later joined the Maplewood, N.J. chapter of the international service group. He was known to wear the Rotary’s trademark wheel-shaped pin and blue blazer even on the weekends.

“My father always thought the way to get ahead in America was to work hard and educate yourself,” said John Del Monaco.

The scholarship will boost the Rincon club’s Rotary Local initiative, which funds education projects in northeast Tucson.

“The idea is to spend the money with local businesses doing local things and helping local teachers,” Lee said.

Rotary Local has helped buy new stage curtains for a theatre program, playground upgrades, headphones, and community garden supplies.

The club selects its projects from a pool of proposals submitted by teachers at schools in northeast Tucson.

“Sometimes it’s really not glamorous,” Lee said. “We funded a vacuum for a teacher at Kellond Elementary School.”

Bloom Elementary will be the recipient of 12 new guitar cases worth more than $500. The cases will allow students in the guitar club to take their instrument home to practice.

The school’s budget is tight, so it would have been difficult to procure the cases otherwise, said teacher Patty Frey.

“Music and guitar programs make a huge difference for kids,” Frey said .

Contact reporter Mariana Dale at 573-4242 or mdale@tucson.com

On Twitter: @mariana_dale