Foundation Night at Pikesville-Owings Mills


L-R:  PE David Hess, Cynthia Pace, Tony Rubino, Aleli Frias, President Sonia Neumeier, Yours Truly

There are good problems.  And there are bad problems.  When I walked into the Pikesville-Owings Mills Rotary Club meeting last Thursday evening it was pretty clear that the club members and their guests would soon need to move to a bigger restaurant for their meeting.  Too many Rotarians?  Now THAT’s a GOOD PROBLEM!  Thankfully, the Double Tree Hotel has a larger space to accommodate them and the switch to the larger room is forthcoming.

I was there to help celebrate Rotary Foundation Night, a presentation of four Paul Harris Fellow awards to deserving club members and “soon to be” club members.  Aleli Frias, Michelle Mendez, Cynthia Pace, and Tony Rubino were the awards recipients and it was my privilege to lead the award ceremony, and then have the opportunity to say a few words about the Rotary Foundation.  To say the Pikesville Club is engaged in international service is an understatement.  Eleli Frias takes the lead on the club’s Mobile Clinic Project to deliver medical care to impoverished villages in the Philippines.  Michelle Mendez is a Rotary Peace Scholar and Peace and Conflict Resolution certificate graduate from Chulalongkorn University in Thailand (not to mention Georgetown Law), Cynthia Pace is a “Leadership Guru” and club leader for their medical mission to the Philippines, and Tony Rubino is the club’s “Environmental Guy” and long-time club activist.  All in all a pretty distinguished group!

After the meeting I chatted with club President, Sonia Neumeier, about some of the best practices for Foundation giving around the District.  For example, many clubs use Foundation points as an incentive for Foundation giving, so instead of giving first time Paul Harris Fellows 1,000 points they might match the first $500 of a member’s contributions.   We went over the Club Recognition Summary report for the club (found in Rotary Club Central) and discussed those members with lots of individual PH Recognition points that, with the contributing Rotarian’s permission, could be used for a year-end incentive program.  And finally, we discussed that if the club had only two Paul Harris Society Members contributing $1,000 per year to TRF that would meet almost 50% of our new goal of $200 per cap giving for the District.

Full disclosure….the conversation with Sonia took place while I was in receipt of several envelopes full of generous Foundation contributions from the club, club members, and even guests.  To say that I was in a good mood was an understatement.

So come on, Pikesville.  You are located in one of the busiest and well known communities in Baltimore.  It’s time to make use of that additional space and share with the rest of the community the great stuff going on in your club!

L-R, Michelle’s mom, Margarita, Michelle Mendez, Rotary Peace Scholar, Yours Truly, and Aunt Cecilia