Category Archives: Foundation

In Search of the Perfect Caipirinha

 

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Your Ready, Fire, Aim editor busy with research for this post.

Cachaca is an alcoholic beverage made from fresh sugar cane juice that is fermented and distilled.  If you cut a fresh lime and add sugar, crush it together, and then add cachaca and shake over ice, the resulting drink is the local beverage called a caipirinha.  While I still can’t pronounce it (or anything else in just about any foreign language,) it appears that I can drink a caipirinha….depending on how its made. Too much cachaca and the drink is verifiable rocket fuel.  Danny Parker, our intrepid 7620 tour guide, offers that you have to mix the sugar on the bottom of the glass to get the flavor exactly right.  I’m no expert, but it appears to me that compared to rum cachaca is very smoooooooth.  Interestingly, the more you drink the smoother it gets.

I didn’t come to Brazil in search of the perfect caipirinha, but the trip is kind of turning into a quest of epic proportions.   I’ve looked everywhere for the perfect drink.  Three nights in Rio de Janeiro turned up some interesting contestants.  Then we went  to Iguazu Falls and actually looked under a rainbow to find the perfect caipirinha.  See if you can see it…

Not to be deterred, we were off to Sao Paulo and the Rotary International Convention, where we thought we would find it (the perfect caipirinha) at Carnival.  It turns out that Carnival appeared at a couple of different times here in Sao Paulo.  First was at the opening plenary session.  OMG.  The performers made you feel like you were already drinking caipirinhas even if you weren’t.  Here’s a taste of Carnival at the plenary session:

Or…perhaps you like your Carnival in a parade?  If so, you could catch the parade after the plenary at the sambadrome.  Aside from the brilliant costumes and the exciting dancing and music, if you were there, you can testify to what its like waiting for the show to start sitting on concrete steps and eating Brazilian cheese balls and popcorn.  Just when you lost all feeling below the waist, the show started and the parade got everyone cheering.  Here’s a brief look:

And after the entire parade goes by and your thoughts are turning once again to your favorite cachaca-based beverage, here comes a float with RI President, Gary Huang, who perhaps had already imbibed a few too many of this Brazilian treat?  Here’s President Gary in the Carnival parade waving to the crowd having already exhausted himself leading happy claps earlier in the evening.

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Aside from the hunt for the perfect caipirinhas, an International Conference did break out this week with the plenary session on Monday focusing on the Rotary  Foundation.  (Here is where we get to brag more than a little.)  The 2014-15 Global Alumni Service to Humanity award recipient was District 7620’s own Dr. Geetha Jayaram, Psychiatrist and Associate Professor at John Hopkins School of Medicine.  Geetha was honored for a career’s worth of service in her home country of India helping women get treatment for mental health through her project Maanasi .  Here’s a few pictures of Geetha addressing the plenary session.

20150608_103927(0)20150608_103152We are so proud of Geetha, her husband, PDG Jay Kumar, and her newly chartered Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Howard West.

What else?  How about an address by Nobel Peace Prize Winner and new Rotarian, Dr Oscar Arias, Former President of Costa Rica?  He gave a stirring speech based on a Paul Harris quote about making “war on war” and about the need for the world to buy less weapons and focus our resources on peace. Dr. Arias received an enthusiastic standing ovation that was well earned.

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Finally, to end the session on a stunning note, Hamid Jafari, the WHO Director of Polio Eradication, gave an amazing report confirming that the Continent of Africa has been polio free so far this year, and Nigeria has not reported a case for 10 months.  He also said THAT A POLIO FREE WORLD COULD BEGIN IN A MATTER OF MONTHS INSTEAD OF YEARS!   I took this to mean that our eradication efforts in Pakistan and Afghanistan may result in months where there are no new polio cases anywhere in the world beginning very shortly.   I’m pretty sure this is the most important  news we’ve heard in years regarding Polio.  I can’t imagine the head dude at the WHO saying this to a Rotary audience unless he was pretty darned certain about it.  We’ve been “so close” for so long.  I wonder if we are really on the cusp of the single greatest accomplishment of our Rotary lifetimes?  Of course, polio free doesn’t mean certified eradicated, but it’s close enough for me to reach for the cachaca.

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So…tonight is the Major Donor Dinner, and another shot at finding the perfect Caipirinha.  The search continues….

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A World Peace Conspiracy Revealed at One Rotary Center

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No matter how many times you count them, you won’t come up with 19 floors.  Trust me….there is a 19th floor, and you won’t believe what goes on there.

I have been asked, on more than one occasion, to explain how and why the Annual Program fund is set up the way it is.  Could it possibly be that it was intended to be the most complicated and completely incomprehensible method of funding humanitarian projects ever devised?  It turns out that the answer to that question is an unqualified YES!  I’ve recently learned that the notion that Rotary clubs can best determine how Rotary should achieve its objective of advancing the cause of world peace is a fraud.  A sham.  It’s a giant cover up for one of the biggest secrets ever revealed about Rotary International.  That’s right, dear RFA readers, I have uncovered an amazing story that I reveal to you now at great personal risk because 1) it is my sworn duty as the editor, writer, and class clown of RFA, and 2) I am still hoping to win a Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism.

I have learned through a variety of covert sources at RI headquarters, located at One Rotary Center in Evanston, Ill, that world peace is actually planned and executed around the world by a super secret organization within an organization called the Rotary World Peace Division.  (WPD) This group of highly trained world peace professionals work on the 19th floor of One Rotary Center.  Yes. Yes. Yes.  I know that you think that Rotary HQ has only 18 floors, but you would be incorrect.  What you think you know about the building is an illusion, a carefully planned diversion to take your eyes away from the incredible and unbelievable work of the WPD.  (Don’t try to find the actual architectural drawings for the 19th floor.  Several have tried to retrieve them and let’s just say they all had an unfortunate accident.)

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19th Floor Staff member dressed in required gray robe and hood.  The gold bowl is required for maximum empathy and helps 19th floor staff determine the best ideas for world peace.  

Let me give you a brief tour of the 19th floor.  As you come off the elevator the immediate first impression you get is calm….and quiet.  All Rotary employees on floor 19 dress in garb similar to ancient druids….robes with cowls that cover most of their faces.  The walls are hospital white and the robes are shades of gray.  The only sound you hear is the air conditioning that keeps 19th floor temperatures to within 1 degree of the required temperature for optimal peace work, and the low whir of super computers directly linked to the National Security Agency in the U.S. and the C.E.R.N. computers near the Franco-Swisss border near Geneva.

Elevator entrances to secret organizations have been well covered by the media. Here is a surprisingly accurate depiction of what its like from the ancient TV show, Get Smart.   Younger Rotarians may not remember CONTROL Agent, Maxwell Smart, as he enters HQ through a series of super secret doors.  This is similar to the 19th Floor entrance at One Rotary Center.

There is select Rotary staff working on the 19th floor, but the stars of the show are the six WPD “areas of focus” directors.  These six men and women are the individuals who are actually responsible for all Rotary world peace efforts.   With the help of super computing power, and their ability as trained empaths who can feel the pain and suffering of people in 200 countries around the world, these Area of Focus Directors (AOFD’s) spend their days silently contemplating peace and conflict resolution, disease prevention, maternal and child health, literacy, water and sanitation, and economic development, and then telepathically communicate their correct and infallible view of how to develop and finance the very best programs that will lead to world peace to more than 500 Rotary District Foundation Chairs worldwide.  The Foundation Chairs, of course, have no idea they are being manipulated in this way, and have been for close to 100 years.  For that matter, the International Rotary Foundation Chairs are also victims, helpless against the incredible power of the 19th Floor.

Hollywood once again helps us understand just how super secret and powerful 19th Floor WPD Operations can be.  Will Smith’s transformation to Agent J in Men in Black is similar to the six AOFD Directors at Rotary WPD.  They too transformed when they donned the robes and cowl of the WPD and subsequently lost their identity.

It is admittedly creepy to think that this has been going on for so many years.  But it could be worse.  Here is the always super-duper creepy Terrance Stamp explaining how “they” control free will in the movie, The Adjustment Bureau?  These folks make 19th Floor Operations look positively benign. The lesson for us is 1) Don’t try to get between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt, 2) Don’t try to figure out who is better looking, Matt Damon or Emily Blunt, and 3) The super powerful operatives of the WPD are doing the best they can to forward the object of world peace.  You will never meet one of them.  But if by my some miracle you do, don’t give them too much grief about the current state of the world.  World peace is a tough nut…even for a bunch of super empaths.

This amazing hoax has been perpetrated on Rotarians since 1917, the year that RI President Arch Klumph decided to form a Foundation for the purpose of covering up the activities what would soon become known as the 19th Floor operation.  “19th Floor programs” DO receive top priority funding from what we think of as the Rotary Foundation.  (yes…Charity Navigator and the other independent rating agencies are in on this, but that’s another story.)  Rotary clubs only think they are creating innovative, productive, and amazingly helpful programs to advance the cause of world peace around the world.  They, we, us…are all pawns in a world peace power game being conducted under our very noses.  It was the genius of Rotary leaders, like Arch Klumph, to realize that world peace could only be attained by a super select group of professionals working in the middle of North America, strategically located in Evanston, Ill.

Well now you know the truth.  There is a super secret division of Rotary druids on the 19th Floor of One Rotary Center who are empaths who determine the best programs to advance the cause of world peace, and telepaths who convince Rotarians that these projects were their own idea.  Did you really think a program with an APF, World Fund, SHARE program, DDF, three year investment period, etc., etc., etc.,  could possibly be anything more than a diversion to so mystify Rotarians that they wouldn’t recognize 19th Floor Programs?

Authors Note:  I hope you enjoyed today’s conspiracy theory post.  If you believe any part of this…I just can’t help you.  The SHARE program at the Rotary Foundation is one of the most brilliant ideas I’ve seen.  It allows Rotary clubs around the world to work together to further the object of world peace through humanitarian service.  There is still one month left to give to our Foundation this Rotary year.  Please give generously.

One Rotary Center in Evanston, Illinois, USA, on 11 May 2009.
One Rotary Center in Evanston, Illinois, USA, on 11 May 2009.

 

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Chillin at the Congressional Reception for Polio Eradication Champions

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Mike McGovern, Rotary Trustee and Chair of the Polio Plus Committee, Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of the CDC, Senator Lamar Alexander, and John Germ, RI President-Elect, at the reception to honor Rotary Eradication Champions.

Washington, DC, the Capital of the United States of America, just happens to be in my Rotary District.  If you grew up in the suburbs and have to try not to act like a tourist when you travel to the city (any city), where you gawk at the big buildings and congratulate yourself for getting on and off mass transportation, and where you can’t believe it costs tens of thousands of dollars to park in a parking garage designed by Satan himself for about ten minutes, and where even your GPS get confused with street names and locations, you probably wouldn’t like having to travel to Washington, DC for Rotary meetings.

But not me!  I LOVE going to Washington, DC for Rotary meetings.  For example,  one week prior to going to the U.S. Capitol Building for a reception to honor U.S. Congressional leaders, I was attending an Alumni reception at the Ukrainian Embassy in Georgetown.  (READERS NOTE:  Yes folks…that’s the United States Capitol building.  And yes, when you live in DC apparently its no big deal to schedule your meetings at a variety of embassies.  These are real live embassies where you go inside and you are legally in a foreign country.  Admittedly this impresses me.  You see, I live in Howard County, Maryland and we ain’t got no embassies here.  We do have a great Mall, though.  But I digress…)

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Obligatory tourist picture.  I know I’m not supposed to be so awestruck at hanging around the nations capitol building….but I can’t help it.

My visit to the U.S. Capitol was to attend an event honoring  Rotary Polio Eradication Champions. According to Kris Tsau, Advocate Specialist at Rotary International, Rotary has only one award for officials  (non Rotarians) who have demonstrated commitment to global polio eradication – the Polio Eradication Champion Award. The US is a bit unusual in that we recognize Members of Congress. In other countries, we (Rotary) typically recognize Heads of State and Ministers.  Having parked at Union Station, walked the short three blocks to the Capitol Building, and made my way past the marvelous sculptures of former US Congressional leaders, on my way to the Mansfield Room in the Capitol Building featuring a stunning portrait of former Senate Majority Leader, Mike Mansfield, I then proceeded to hobnob with all kinds of Rotary, and non-Rotary brass.

First off, the Master of Ceremonies was one of my personal Rotary heroes, Dr. John Sever. John is a District 7620 Rotarian who hasn’t done much in Rotary, other than the fact that Rotary’s polio eradication effort was pretty much his idea in the first place.  John Germ, RI President-Elect was in attendance, as was past RI Director, Anne Matthews.  Mike McGovern, Rotary Trustee and Chair of the International PolioPlus Committee was there, as was Dr. Tom Frieden, Director of Center for Disease Control.  But the stars of the show were the members of the U.S. Congress who stopped by to receive their honors and who, without exception, praised Rotary and all of our good works. This year’s 2015 Polio Champions were:  Senator Lamar Alexander, Senator Patty Murray, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Representative Barbara Lee, and Representative Charlie Dent.  For those that don’t know (and many Rotarians I meet apparently don’t), the U.S. contributed $217 million to Polio Eradication last year.  It was OUR honor to say thank you to the Senators and Representatives that helped approve that kind of money.

I’ll have more to say about that in a moment, but first, I can’t begin to write about the power in Washington, DC without referencing my favorite politician, Frank Underwood, from House of Cards.  If you want to know about real power, find this show on Netflix and learn.  Here’s Frank (Kevin Spacey) on the difference between power and money.

 

ANOTHER READER’S NOTE:  Frank Underwood is a fictional character and is not at all like our actual Rotary Champions that serve us in the U.S. Congress.  They are wonderful people, and we are very glad they support us.  (NOTE TO KRIS TSAU:  It’s OK Kris, you can relax now.  It’s just a joke.)

Anyway, I wonder if Rotarians have any understanding of the scale of the Polio Eradication effort when it comes to the money it takes to eradicate Polio and the value of our partners in raising the needed funds.  Let’s start with this.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is currently matching Rotary’s worldwide Polio contributions two to one up to Rotary’s $35 million.  Last year the U.S. Government kicked in $217 million.  That’s more than SIX TIMES our contribution last year.  If we meet the Gates challenge over the five-year challenge period we will have contributed $175 million.  But the Polio Eradication End Game price tag is more than $5.5 BILLION.  Which isn’t meant to diminish the impact of Rotary’s giving more than $1 billion cumulatively over the years to eradicate polio.  But $5.5 billion is a little out of our price range.

Curious about where the money for eradicating polio has come from so far?  Here is a table from the Polio Eradication Initiative website showing who has given what so far.  Check out our amazing public and private partners in this joint effort.

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Did you know that the Islamic Development Bank/Government of Pakistan has been so generous in funding Polio Eradication?  I didn’t.  Take a minute to check out the variety of donors on this list.  When someone asks you about Polio Eradication, do you mention our generous partners?  This is a pretty amazing list, don’t you think?

How about who is pledged to come up with remaining $5.5 billion needed to finish the job? Here’s a link to a table of past and future pledges to Polio Eradication from 1985 to 2018.  While Rotary is the acknowledged “heart and soul” of the Polio Eradication effort, it’s comforting to see the coalition of public and private resources that have committed funding to get the job done.

What about the U.S.?  Kris Tsau has been advocating for Polio funding from the very beginning of our polio eradication effort.  She tells me that in the first year of asking the U.S. Congress for help we received $11 million of funding.  This year we received $217 million.  Thank you, Kris, and all of the other Polio advocates around the world, who work with (lobby….OK…..I said it) governments and private interests to come up with the funds needed to eradicate polio.  This kind of money doesn’t show up by accident folks.  You need seasoned professionals who know what they are doing to make it happen.  Here’s a chart of U.S. giving that Kris sent along:

US Funding for Polio Eradication

 

As I travel around our District, I often hear from Rotarians who are frustrated when the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, the Gates Foundation, and other members of the Polio Eradication Initiative, don’t mention Rotary when they are asked about polio eradication.  I get it.  I really do.  But we are lucky to have such amazing partners in our polio eradication effort.  Let’s remember to say thanks to them as we mutter under our breath that they should have said something about Rotary.  After all, they are truly our partners and without them we would never come close to what we are about to achieve.

Oh….last word today on the subject.  You could tell they were reluctant to discuss this because they didn’t want to jinx it, but several speakers mentioned that its been over nine months since there has been a polio case in Nigeria.  With luck, soon we will be able to say that polio is eradicated in Africa.  Fingers crossed.

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Rotarian Mike Smith, Kris Tsau, and Mike McGovern

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RI President-Elect John Germ with District 7620 Young Professional Summit attendee, Clarissa Harris.

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Attendees pretending to listen to the speakers while keeping the food surrounded.

20150513_181941Dr. John Sever, Rotary’s master champion polio eradicator looks on as Senator Lamar Alexander addresses the audience.

20150513_182859District 7620 District Governor Nominee, Greg Wims, with wife, Michelle, thinking that maybe this Rotary leadership thing isn’t so bad after all.

 

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Good News, Bad News, Good News!

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GOOD NEWS:

I just had a chance to look over District 7620’s year-over-year Annual Program Fund giving comparisons through the month of April.  The good news is that we are currently ….wait for it…..$40,000 ahead of our pace of last year.  I suppose calling this “good news” is an understatement since these contributions come back to our District as part of the TRF SHARE program.  Every dollar we contribute to the Annual Program Fund is a statement of our trust and confidence in our fellow Rotarians that they have some great ideas for improving the lives of others.  Since in our District we routinely split our SHARE proceeds so that 50% of our funds go to District grants, and the other 50% are available for global grants, it means that our clubs can apply for grants to support their local efforts to “do good in the world,” as well as international efforts to do the same.

I just don’t know of another philanthropy that asks the giver to be so involved in the solution to a problem.  In our case the goal is world peace and how we do it, as Rotarians, is just about completely up to us.  You can give to the Rotary Foundation and end up funding a creative project developed by a Rotarian in our District whom you’ve never met before, OR you can create your own project and have it supported by a Rotarian who gives to the Rotary Foundation who has never met you before!  In either case, we are trusting that we are all together in the spirit of doing good in the world, AND that we have great ideas worthy of our funds.  In short, this truly is OUR Foundation where we rely on Rotarians in our District, and around the world, to come up with practical and useful solutions to problems in our six areas of focus, including peace and conflict resolution, disease prevention, maternal and child healthcare, literacy, clean water and sanitation, and economic development.   How cool is that?

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BAD NEWS:

As I look over the number of clubs in our District that are enthusiastically supporting the Rotary Foundation for the first time, I can’t help but wonder if they realize that the SHARE program represents a short two-to-three year investment where the funds we contribute today will not come back to our District and be available for grants until July of 2017.  District 7620 eligibility rules require clubs to give an average of $100 per member to TRF APF in order to be eligible for global grants, and clubs are required to give, on average, $50 per member to be eligible for district grants.  And while I can see the excitement building as our club members dig into their pockets in expectation of being able to apply for a grant to support a local or international project, they might  be disappointed to find out we don’t have the funds to meet the requests of all of our clubs next year.  That’s because the funds we have available next year (2015-16) are part of our SHARE distribution based on contributions made in the 2012-13 Rotary year.

Our APF giving goal of $200 per capita means that our total Rotary Foundation giving to the Annual Program Fund would be approximately $460,000 (based on our current 2,300 members.)  If we hit that number this year then $230,000 of SHARE proceeds will return to the District to support our projects in 2017-18.  What will happen in the meantime?  Will our clubs be so disappointed that our Foundation team won’t have enough funds to fully fund every project next year that they will stop giving?  What if we get discouraged at exactly the worst time…when achieving our APF giving goal is in sight?

NOTE:  I wrote about our investment in the SHARE program last March right here in Ready, Fire, Aim.  For some interesting charts about how it works, see “A Short Term Investment

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GOOD NEWS:

District and club leaders are managing the expectations of our Rotary clubs and carefully explaining the difference between being eligible for a District or Global grant, and actually having the funds next year from the SHARE program to fund those grants.  Furthermore, while we usually state the wait time for the SHARE program as three years, at this time of year it’s much shorter than that.  Funds given to TRF APF by Rotary year-end will be available through the SHARE program by July 2017, and THAT is ONLY two years and two months from now.  In other words, while we always make a short-term investment in the APF that pays off within three years, in this case the investment is even shorter.  In addition, our District’s eligibility rules for global grants allow clubs to apply for grants with a maximum amount equal to their last two years of APF Foundation giving.  So even though funds may not be available next year to fund all of our club’s grant requests, the contributions clubs make this year will go into the eligibility equation of what they will be eligible for two years from now.  And, if you are following this, two years from now we just might have a massive increase in SHARE funds available because of the generosity of our clubs.

So…we have two months left in the Rotary year.  If you haven’t done so already, please consider making a contribution to The Rotary Foundation APF.  Your contribution will support local and international projects developed by Rotarians right here in District 7620, as well as our District’s contributions to polio eradication, global scholarships, and the Rotary Peace Fellow endowment fund.  We are making a major investment in our own ability to do good in the world.  Let’s “prime the pump” so in 2017-18 we will have the SHARE proceeds to fund the very best ideas of our Rotary clubs.

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The Two Most Powerful Words in Rotary

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Surprise.  This isn’t where you are going to find my post about “The Two Most Powerful Words in Rotary.”  To find this post you have to go to My Rotary and look it up under Rotary Voices, Stories of Service From Around The World.  I understand that what I should do is provide you with a link to this blog post so it’s easy for you, the reader, to actually read about this amazing story.  But I’m not gonna do it.  Instead I’m going to shoot myself in the foot and ask you to open another tab on your browser, go to www.ROTARY.ORG.  Navigate to MY ROTARY. Sign in (get yourself a password if you haven’t already), run your curser over to MEMBER NEWS, and then find ROTARY VOICES in the drop down menu second from the left. My post is the second one on the page.  I realize that most of you won’t actually do this, which means you are going to miss a great story about an unprecedented joint venture between 22 different Rotary Districts in Zone’s 33-34.  It is a story about the power of asking “What if,” as in, “What if every District in Zone 33-34 participated in a joint project together?”

The answer will surprise you.  At the end of the day, over 40,000 men, women, and children in 40 communities in the country of Ghana are going to benefit because DGE’s rose to the task and answered a “what if” question with an equally important reply:  “Why Not?”  So go ahead, if you haven’t been on the ROTARY VOICES blog you really should check it out, and check out all of the other neat content available on MY ROTARY while your at it.  Special thanks to Arnold Grahl, Editor and Web Content Producer in the Communications Group at RI for inviting me to blog for them.  Very cool!

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Since I’m on a “what if” rant today, how about these other “what if” questions?

What if Rotarians didn’t procrastinate and do everything at the last minute?  (Yes…that would be me included.)

What if Rotarians actually put their goals in Rotary Club Central and used Rotary’s online tools to our best advantage?

What if young professionals in our community saw Rotary as the best choice for their marginal dollars to advance their careers by networking with successful Rotary business leaders and being mentored by experienced and caring older Rotarians?

What if Polio was eradicated and Rotary won the Nobel Peace Prize?

What if Rotary membership wasn’t 1.2 million, but instead more than doubled over the next ten years to 2.5 million?

What if DGE’s in Rotary Zone Institutes all around the world decided to work together on joint projects where each District contributed small amounts of DDF to fully fund $100,000+ humanitarian projects with the help of TRF grants?  (Hint, hint…read the article on Rotary Voices.)

Why not explore the possibilities of asking “What If?’ when it comes to Rotary?  Wouldn’t it be be a shame if not asking this important question is leading to a collective failure of imagination about how much good we could do in the world?  If you have some What If’s to share, let me know.  I’ll be happy to post them so everyone can ponder them.

In the meantime, even if you don’t go to MY ROTARY and check out ROTARY VOICES, you might check out www.RFHA.org and learn something about the Rotary Action Group, Rotarians for Family Health and AIDS Prevention Inc.

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Thoughts about Rotary Club Foundations

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You won’t find a lot of words written about Rotary club charitable foundations. Perhaps because donations to our club Foundations are thought to compete with contributions to the Rotary Foundation?  I dunno.  But I’ve been spending a lot of time lately counseling Rotary club President-Elects about real and perceived concerns about their club foundation.  So… I thought I would share some opinions (these ain’t facts, folks!) and observations about the proper care and feeding of Rotary Club Foundations.

(NOTE:  I don’t know if it’s properly Rotary Club, rotary club, Rotary club, club Foundation, club foundation, or Club Foundation.  You are likely to see all of the above iterations in this missive.  Please forgive the horrifying grammatical lapses that are sure to come.)

For the most part, Rotary clubs set up their own Charitable Trust or Foundation so that they can have a legitimate non-profit entity be the beneficiary of their fund raising events. Having a 501c 3 entity allows event tickets and other donations to be tax deductible.   And that’s really important. (Another note:  If you are a tax accountant and are feeling the need to share those instances where event tickets and donations are not tax deductible, please get over it.  We have bigger fish to fry here.)

One of the most basic tenants of a 501c3 is that it has to be a separate, stand alone entity apart from the Rotary club that creates it.  And therein lies most of the tensions that evolve with regards to Rotary clubs and their Foundations.  While the Foundation presumably “serves” the Rotary club with regard to the non-profits that  are funded by the Foundation, in fact the decision making has to be legally separate from the club.  So while Rotary club members typically raise the money and provide the sweat equity for running fund raising events, it is the members of the Foundation Board that legally make the final decisions about what charity or charities will ultimately receive the funds.  How these decisions are made and the perceptions about the Rotarians who make them are critical to the health and well being of a Rotary club.

Different clubs have different rules for who serves on their Foundation Board, and the rules are critical to the long-term health of the relationship between the Foundation/ Charitable Trust, and the Rotary Club.  I would suggest the following steps for good governance and transparency for Club Foundation Boards:

Board Members should have clearly defined terms that are not so long as to raise a concern among club members that they won’t have a reasonable chance to serve on the Board.  Three to five years at the longest seems about right.  Many club leaders have never even seen the by-laws for their club’s Foundation.  Be sure that the rules for rotating Trustees are being followed.

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The eligibility requirements for being named to the Foundation Board should not be overly exclusive.  For example, clubs should consider rules that allow Past Presidents AND non-Past Presidents to sit on the Foundation Board.  Allowing newer, younger members, a seat at the table allows for a fresh approach to understanding current club concerns about serving the community.  The best Foundation Boards consist of current club leaders serving on both the Club Board and the Foundation Board, Past Presidents with institutional knowledge of past club and community activities, and other club members who can represent the concerns and interests of newer members.

The rules for how the Foundation Board members are nominated and elected should also be clearly understood.  There is nothing worse that club members feeling like there is a “shadow group” of “powerful” Rotarians making decisions about the money they worked so hard to raise on behalf of the Charitable Trust.  In many clubs one of the motivations to serve on the club’s leadership team is the opportunity to eventually be nominated to serve as a Trustee of the club’s charitable trust.

The Trustees of the Club’s Foundation should consider some mechanism for allowing the Rotary Club to suggest philanthropic ideas to the Trustees of the Charitable Trust.  For example, in the Columbia Patuxent Rotary Club the responsibility for making grant recommendations belongs to the club’s Community Service Committee.  All club members are invited to serve on the committee if they have an interest in doing so.  The committee evaluates member recommendations for grants and then submits the recommendations to the Trustees.  The Trustees feel obligated to honor the wishes of the club as much as possible under the rules of the Foundation.  In this way all club members feel they have a voice in how the Charitable Trust makes grants to the community, while at the same time preserving the independence of the Trustees.

Another “best practice” to consider is for the Trustees to ask for an opportunity to present the Trust financials and Trust operations to the Club once each year in a Club Assembly.  During the presentation the Trustees are reintroduced to the club, the prior year’s financials are disclosed, and perhaps most importantly, the rules for how the Trustees evaluate charitable opportunities are fully reviewed.  As  a long-time trustee of the Columbia Patuxent Charitable Trust, I was always surprised at how much information was forgotten from year to year about how the Trust served the club.

It is inevitable that club members, new and not so new, will at some point become confused between the operations of their Rotary Club Foundation, and “The Rotary Foundation.”  It’s easy to see why.  I’m constantly involved with discussions with PEs about their goals for Foundation giving only to find out five minutes later they were discussing their club’s Foundation and not TRF.  Make certain that new members understand the difference between the two entities and position them both as important parts of their Rotary story.  There is no need for a “competition” between the two different non-profits with similar names.  Both should be fully supported.

Clubs that have large endowment funds have a special obligation to be as transparent as possible to club leaders and club members.  Often the sums distributed each year from a large endowment equal or exceed the annual fund raising activities of the club members.  Be sure that EVERYONE fully understands the rules for how money is distributed by the endowment and how the Trustees decide how the funds will be used.

Finally, Rotary Clubs and their Club Foundations should consider how “democratic” the grant process should be in their community.  Approving numerous small grants allows the Trust to fund many different worthy projects and allows the Trustees to serve the interests of many club members with different views of community needs.  But small grants tend not to be overly impactful to any one charitable organization and may not be easy to promote in your community.  Clubs that don’t “pass through” 100% of their fundraising proceeds each year in terms of grant giving, and instead reserve funds each year in order to reach a much larger charitable giving goal, may find they can stir more excitement in their members, have much more impact on any particular charitable project, and create much more buzz in the community, by promoting and funding one very large grant.

It is surprising how much tension can be created between Rotary clubs and the Foundation’s they create to serve their needs.  With careful planning and good will from all concerned, both should be able to coexist in ways that meet the needs of Foundation Trustees as well as Rotary club members.

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Whose Afraid of the Big Bad 2015-16 Presidential Citation Award?

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NOTE TO READERS:  This post is about winning the 2015-2016 Presidential Citation.  It’s not to late to submit this year’s 2014-15 Presidential Citation award application to your District Governor.  The deadline is March 31, 2015.

I wouldn’t describe myself as being motivated by awards.  I’m pretty much self-motivated. Several therapists have told me this is because my mother didn’t love me as much as my older brother and younger sister, but that’s not the point.  The point is that for Rotary Clubs winning awards serves several useful purposes that make winning awards worthy of being included in a club’s strategic plan.  First, the Presidential Citation is one the most prestigious awards a club can get from Rotary.  While most of us are “legends in our own minds” and believe our Rotary club is phenomenal, winning the Presidential Citation is an objective and persuasive piece of evidence that your club REALLY IS phenomenal.  I understand that this according to RI-President 2015-2016 Ravi Ravindran, who only gets to see the results of 34,000 Rotary clubs…so perhaps his opinion means something.  The award lets you affirm to your members that they are in a “Presidential Citation” club every single meeting.  It allows you to promote your club to prospective new members in the same way.  It is newsworthy to your community and will garner articles about your club in the local press.  In short, winning the award is worth our time and effort.

I am now going to show you how your club can win the Presidential Citation next year.  We covered this at our PETS with Club President Elects and the verdict is…We Can Do This!  (Note:  We are about to discuss how to win the award, which is different from improving your club.  It’s kind of like the difference between studying to ace a test versus wanting to actually learn.  Two different things.  This is all about WINNING the award.  I’ll bet you will improve your club along the way, but that’s another matter.)

Before showing you how to win the award, this blog title got me thinking about the origins of “The Big Bad Wolf” which is obviously referenced in the notion of the “Big Bad Presidential Citation.”  According to Wikipedia, The Big Bad Wolf’s origins go back to folklore that probably had to do with the real danger of wolf attacks in ancient Europe.  Aesop’s Fables (The Boy who Cried Wolf, The Wolf and the Crane, etc. and Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, etc ) are probably best known.

However…here is a Disney take on Big Bad Wolf Daddy that is just incredible.  I always wonder who the studio musicians are who record this stuff for cartoons.  For them this was just another day at the office.  The art is fun…but the soundtrack is awesome.  I’m not kidding.  Turn the sound UP for this.

OK.  Back to business.  Winning the Presidential Citation.  You can download a PDF about the 2015-16 Presidential Citation at My Rotary, Learning and Reference, Awards.  Which brings me to my first point.  This business about using online tools making the award hard to win is just nonsense.  It’s a huge advantage for anyone who has heard of this brand new technology called The Internet.  This blog is written online, Outlook 365 is online.  My Salesforce calendar is online.  Using online tools is usually easy…and this is no exception.  All the handwringing about using online tools?  PLEASE.

There are only two mandatory activities for the PC (Presidential Citation…but you knew that.)  They are 1) Enter 15 goals in Club Central, and 2) Pay your dues on time.  Any requirement, like entering goals, that does not involve a committee, the community, other clubs, a vote, or more than 15 minutes of effort, is just too easy.  It really is the easiest one on the list.  Club Presidents just do this and that’s all she wrote.  NOTE:  Checking this off does not mean this is how clubs should set meaningful goals, but we already covered this “in it to win it” thing earlier.  Oh..and paying your dues on time?  Duh!

Next: Membership Development and Retention.  There is no denying that for many clubs any kind of net gain in membership is a stretch goal.  If you get net 1 for small clubs and net 2 for large clubs congratulations on a great effort.  But this percentage change thing for member retention is curious.  If you have a 20 member club at the beginning of the year and you don’t recruit any new members but lose 3 during the year, you end up with 17 members and a retention rate of 85%.  If you lose 2 during the year the retention rate is 90%.  I don’t see how you can’t do better than 1% retention gains.   (NOTE:  If you want to read a great blog on Rotary membership and other great Rotary stuff check out Retention Central, written by retired Zone 34 Membership Coordinator, PDG Jim Henry, at  http://zone34retentioncentral.blogspot.com/.  He writes about calculating membership retention in his March 1, 2015 post.

You might also notice that we get credit for recruiting net new female members, which is curious because we are/ or should be, doing that anyway if we want to have excellent Rotary clubs. Editorial Comment:  Could we still be having this conversation about female members? You’ve got to be kidding.  It’s embarrassing that we are still talking about the gender of our members instead of the energy, talent, and enthusiasm of our members.  (sigh!)  Anyway, the good news is the net gain in female members counts towards your overall net membership gain goal.  Heck…you could be losing overall membership and hit the 1 net new female member goal.  You need three out of four here.  Hit the overall net gain number and everything else will fall into place.

Next: Foundation Giving.  2 of 4.  Have the club give $20 to the Rotary Foundation.  REALLY? A TOTAL club giving goal of $20?  Another possibility is increase Paul Harris Fellows by at least one.  Yup…you got this.  SOMEONE in your club is hanging around within a few hundred dollars of their first Paul Harris.  And you might consider using recognition points to match a new members contribution as an incentive to give.  Just sayin.  Here’s another one.  You need 10% of the club to do recurring giving.  Have members bring laptops and handhelds to a meeting and take ten minutes to get everyone who chooses to give online signed up.  You see….this is really isn’t so hard.

Online Tool Adoption.  2 of 4.  Have 50% of club registered in My Rotary.  This doesn’t mean they have to know anything about My Rotary.  They just have to register on My Rotary.  Do this the same time you do your recurring giving.  EASY.  Post one initiative on Rotary Showcase.  Total time for this one is 15 – 30 minutes depending on who is doing it.  CHECK.

Humanitarian Service.  3 of 7.  Here’s an easy one.  Have a member join a Rotary Action Group. There are lots of Rotary Action Groups (RAGs) worthy of your time.  I’m particularly fond of RFHA (Rotary Family Health Days and Aids Prevention.)  To join go to www.RFHA.org and fill out the online form.  Total cost for annual membership..ready?…$25. If you don’t like RFHA go to My Rotary and check out the other choices.  EASY.  Here’s another easy one. Have a member attend a grant management seminar.  Get this…your MOU training counts!  Awe come on.  Last…you need 75% of members to participate in a hands on project.  So..at one of your club meetings instead of the usual fare do a service project.  Get 75% of your members to attend.  It’s your normal date and time for your meeting so the attendance goal shouldn’t be too hard.  Make sure your members know this is for the PC in advance.  You got this one, too.  And you might even have fun and do some good in the community while your at it.

New Generations.  2 of 4.  OK…I’ll give you this one.  If your club doesn’t already sponsor an Interact Club or Rotaract Club this is going to be a challenge.  Mentoring 3 Rotaract or Interact students requires a simple phone call to your District Interact or Rotaract Chair or to your Area Governor to find out local clubs that DO sponsor clubs and ask to partner on mentoring.  But let’s face it, if your club hasn’t sponsored a New Generations club it’s time you did anyway.  If you already sponsor a club, this is a done deal.  If you don’t….get to work on it starting now.  You have until April 1, 2016 to sponsor a club.

Public Image.  1 of 2.  1) Update your website or 2) update your brochure using Rotary’s new brand center tools.  This is just a gimme because New Generations might actually take some work.  This is no different from designing a golf course with a short Par 3 after a long and difficult par five.  President Ravi is just feeling sorry for us with this one.

So there you go.  Your club is now a legitimate Presidential Citation winner with official bragging rights to claim your club is truly a superior, amazing, excellent, Rotary-Leading club.  It really IS doable.  Get the Club’s Board together and go for it.  YOU CAN DO THIS. Here’s the not-so-secret sauce…along the way….while your club is doing what you need to do to win the award, you are going to be getting members interested in all of the tools and techniques of being a great Rotary club.  The result is going to be a more vibrant, fun, Rotary club.

I’m sorry, but I can’t close today’s missive without one more clip.  This is Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs performing “Lil” Red Riding Hood.”  The Pharaohs also had the smash hit Wooly Bully, which I remember as part of the soundtrack for the Tom Hanks movie, Splash.  This was recorded in 1966 and I was 9 years old when this hit the charts.  I’m ashamed that I still remember it.  In fact, to all the younger Rotarians who are about to watch this clip…I’m ashamed that this was recorded at all.  This is so unbelievably bad. (This clip goes out to current Rotary Club of Columbia Patuxent President, Tom Allen, who was attending U of Md. College Park at the time ….and tells me he remembers the first U. of Md. co-ed dorms being opened during his college career.  Yes, younger Rotarians…Tom is very old.)  This clip features bad music, the worst lip-syncing in fifty years, real live authentic Go Go girls in the background, and an almost R-Rated cartoon Red Riding Hood.

Enjoy!

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It’s Easy to Become an Arch Klumph Society Member, an Open Letter to Rotary One Percenters

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Dear Rotary One Percenter,

If you are a Rotary one percenter, I thought I would write to you today about joining the Arch Klumph Society. That’s because to join the Arch Klumph Society you have to give a total of $250,000 to the Rotary Foundation, and that, my friend, is no small chunk of change. However, you may find it interesting to know that your Rotary friends in the top 1% of income and net worth in the U.S. and around the world have many interesting choices to consider if they want to join.  My other, non-one percent readers, might be interested, or horrified, to know that you need to earn $389,000 of household income to be in the top 1% of wage earners in the U.S., and have an estimated $8-9 million of assets to be in the top 1% of net worth. (This one percent thing is a little complicated, so just trust me on the numbers.)

If you happen to be a Rotary one percenter reading this article, you will probably be aware of the fact that we live in a disinflationary world characterized by a crash in worldwide interest rates. If you live in the U.S. and want to earn some interest on your money, you can lend the U.S. government money for ten years in the form of a U.S. Treasury Bond and they will pay you the whopping annual interest rate of 1.95%. Or, if you want to lend Uncle Sam money for thirty years you get paid 2.51% per year. YIKES. If you don’t want to climb out on the yield curve and you want to keep your money in cash you get paid nothing. Nadda. And in many parts of the world you actually have to pay the bank to stash some cash in their accounts. That’s right. Major banks in Europe are currently offering negative interest rates.

If you don’t want to invest in bonds in order to drive an income stream from your portfolio, you might consider investing in stocks and selling them as needed to pay your bills. The problem here is that 1) stocks are now, by many traditional measures, very overvalued and are due for a major correction, and 2) it seems that the tax on capital gains keep increasing. There is now a surcharge for the Affordable Care Act of 3.8% and when added to the top capital gains tax rate it will cost you 23.8% in taxes to sell some shares to pay the bills. Ouch. (At this point non-one percenter Rotarians may be saying something like, “Cry me a river, pal.” But this letter isn’t for you so pipe down.)

Not to mention the fact that stock prices are up and yields are down. Lets say you got rich owning a diversified portfolio of stocks that matches the yield of the S&P 500 stock Index. You are currently getting paid a yield of 1.9%. REALLY? Only 1.9%! What if you are a Rotarian named Forest Gump and you own a huge portfolio of Apple Stock? (APPL) You are getting paid a dividend of 1.76%. It’s hard to pay the household staff on that kind of dividend, isn’t it?

So…to review. You’re a rich Rotarian and nobody but me cares about your troubles. You can’t earn any money on your money in the current market environment without taking a preposterous amount of risk. You can’t earn anything in the bond market. The stock market is expensive and doesn’t pay much in the way of dividends, and capital gains taxes are through the roof…and are probably headed higher. What to do?

I’ll tell you exactly what to do. (NOTE: Don’t consider this unless you want to quadruple your income, get a huge current tax deduction, avoid a huge capital gain on the sale of your appreciated securities, and become a certified warrior for world peace with a plaque on the wall of One Rotary Center with your name on it as a brand new Arch Klumph Society member.)

First, call your Major Gifts Officer at the Rotary Foundation and tell him or her that you are about to make their day. You might also mention that Ken Solow sent you.

Next, establish what is called a Charitable Remainder Unit Trust (CRUT) at the Rotary Foundation. (ANOTHER NOTE: Everything you are about to read sounds too good to be true. Sometimes rich people can get a break and this is one of them. If you are about to stroke a check for $250,000 to benefit my favorite charity, then I will lead the standing ovation for you. As they once said at McDonald’s, “You deserve a break today.”)

First, select $250,000 of cash that is absolutely dead money, or $250,000 of bonds that is nearly dead money, and gift it to the Rotary Foundation. Regardless of all the financial benefits that will accrue to you, the Rotary Foundation will give you full credit for this gift and you will get full recognition as an Arch Klumph Society Member.    Guess who else will be impressed?  The IRS will cheer when you cut this check for cash and if you and your spouse are ages 60 and 57 respectively, they will allow you a charitable deduction of $64,065. (ANOTHER NOTE: If you are a tax attorney or in the business of giving financial advice, you know that all of these numbers depend on specific personal financial issues. Please get a grip. I will tell everyone not to do anything without checking with his or her tax advisor later. I’m trying to close a deal here for cryin out loud.) If you are in a high tax state and paying the highest marginal tax rates then the deduction is worth about 50% or $32,000. That’s right. You get paid $32,000 to be an Arch Klumph Society Member. Just sayin.

You made a gift of cash so it cost you absolutely nothing in terms of lost earnings. But wait, it gets better.

The Rotary Foundation will invest your money in a professionally diversified portfolio. You give them the $250,000 and choose what Rotary program you want to support after the death of you and your spouse. But get this…you get to keep the income for your life AND the life of your spouse. And now for the $250,000 question… What rate of income gets paid to you from your Rotary Trust? NO LESS THEN 5%! “What? you say. How can they do that? I wasn’t getting paid anything from my cash and almost nothing from my bonds.’  They can do it because they are paying from the earnings generated by the total return of your account, not just the interest rate on your account. As long as the TRF portfolio earns a total return of 5% you get paid 5%. So instead of earning nothing on your cash, less than 2% on your bonds, or less than 2% on your stocks, you now get paid a cash income of 5%!

But…it gets even better. No really. It gets even better. Let’s say your money is invested by TRF and it earns more than 5%. Then in subsequent years you still get paid out 5% of your principal, but the principal IS REVALUED EVERY YEAR. So if you initially give $250,000 to TRF and your money earns 7% and you choose a 5% withdrawal rate, in subsequent years your income stream is going to grow by 2%. You see? Your $250,000 grew by 7%. You withdrew 5%, and the remainder sits in the trust where next year you will withdraw 5% of the new balance of $255,000. So instead of getting $250,000 x 5% of income, or $12,500, you get 5% of $255,000, or $12,750. If the investments at TRF average more than 5% every year then your income grows every year. Does that sound better than a Treasury bond paying a flat 1.95% income taxable every year? You betcha.

Yes, it’s true. If your money earns less than 5% then you take a 5% withdrawal from a smaller principal balance that year. But who cares? Your rich for Pete’s sake.

But, you say, I have my Forest-Gump like stash of Apple stock with very low basis that is going to cost me 23% of capital gains to sell? Just give the shares to TRF and Uncle Sam will still give you a charitable tax deduction, (it’s less than a deduction for giving cash, but hey…don’t be greedy), AND TRF will sell the shares for you while you avoid paying $59,500 of capital gains taxes. So, Uncle Sam pays you to make the charitable gift in the form of a tax deduction. You avoid a $59,000+ capital gain. And you turn a dividend yield of 1.76% into a 5% yield that is likely to grow over time. As we like to say in the finance business, “ain’t that better than a stick in the eye?”

And so, Rotary one percenter, you are now asking, “what’s the catch?” The catch, my friend, is that almost none of this makes financial sense UNLESS you are interested in supporting the Rotary Foundation and all of its great programs and good works. The net cost to you to be an Arch Klumph Society Member, the most revered level of giving in Rotary, is probably less then you thought. But there is still a cost and you need to consult with your tax experts, and the experts at Major Gifts at the Rotary Foundation, before you embark on a sophisticated strategy like funding a CRUT for you and your family. However, make sure you read this article a few times before you put yourself in the hands of the geeks and let them confuse you. I just gave you the straight scoop on how it works. I know…it’s so good it’s hard to believe.

2015-2016 RI President Ravi Ravindran’s Rotary theme is “Be a Gift to the World.” If you happen to have an extra $250,000 lying around, earning little to nothing, or locked up with a low cost basis, please consider “Making a Gift to the World.”

Uh…one last thing.  You don’t need to write a check for the whole $250,000 at one time to get started funding your CRUT.  But…what the heck.  It will make you feel better then remodeling the kitchen….again.

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Past RI VP Anne Talks a Little SEC Trash at the 7620 Foundation Dinner

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Past RI VP Anne Matthews and Rotary Foundation Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award Winner, Geetha Jayaram, making District 7620 proud!

I suppose that Past RI VP Anne Matthews is something of a legend in Rotary Zone 33.  We were blessed to have her take time out of her extraordinarily busy schedule to be a featured speaker at the District 7620 Foundation Dinner.  If you missed it, you missed one of the highlights of the entire Rotary year.  And let me say…for those of you attended….you clean up REALLY nice.  The guys in tuxedo’s?  You rooked Maavelous.

Many of us have heard Anne speak before, but her message is just as vibrant and relevant as ever.  And when she held up a glass of clean water and asked us to think about our own lives compared to the millions who don’t have access to something we take for granted, not a person in the room wasn’t moved.  You all know that I am far too immature to get right to the point about the many awards and accomplishments we celebrated during the evening, so here is a little test.  Why am I including this clip from the movie, “Stranger than Fiction,” where IRS auditor, Harold Crick, played by Will Ferrell, finds himself the subject of a narration that only he can hear?  Pay attention.

Did you notice that Will Ferrell’s character wasn’t running the water while he was brushing his teeth?  Anyone, and I mean anyone, who has heard Anne speak about the Rotary Foundation, and our need to conserve water, will never let the water run while brushing our teeth again.  Here’s Anne, along with District 7620 Foundation Chair, Claude Morissette, with a quick comment about the Rotary Foundation:

 

As you may know, Anne is a fanatic fan of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks football team.  As your intrepid RFA reporter I’m sad to speculate that Anne must have burst a gasket as South Carolina lost to Tennessee last weekend, 45 – 42.  It’s clear from her comments that if it was up to her, coach Steve Spurrier’s job would be in jeopardy.  In fact, she’s ready to step in and coach the team herself.  Here’s something you don’t get to see every day…..RI VP Anne Matthews talking more than a little trash about SEC football with 7620 Foundation Chair, Claude.  Two things to note:  First, Claude is thoroughly entertained by Anne’s smackdown of Big 10 football.  Second, in the background you can hear IPDG Peter Kyle trying to censor the press while I valiantly  try to get this important story on video.

Of course, the main stars of the evening were the many award winners for Foundation contributions in our District.  Geetha Jayaram, of the soon to be chartered Howard West Rotary Club, was recognized for winning the prestigious Rotary Foundation Global Alumni Service to Humanity award.  David Hillery (Parole Annapolis)  and Donald Walter (Lake Shore – Severna Park) were recognized for achieving Major Donor Level 2 .  Not to embarrass them, but to reach Major Donor Level 2 you must give $25,000 to the Rotary Foundation, a true statement of their commitment to Rotary’s goal of world peace through humanitarian service.  And yes, we honored several Rotarians for achieving Major Donor Level 1 status, including Frank Andracchi from Lake Shore, Bea Carson from Annapolis, and John Ramos from Lexington Park.  To reach Major Donor Level 1 you must have total contributions to the Rotary Foundation of $10,000.  Congratulations to all!

Special recognition was given to new Bequest Society members (3), new Paul Harris Society members (17), District Grant Scholars (4), and our Global Grant scholar, Sarah Dobson. We also recognized the 15 clubs that were awarded District Grants for the 2014-2015 Rotary year.  And yes, because we needed to parade even more well-dressed men and women to the podium,  we recognized the South Anne Arundel Rotary Club, the College Park Club, and the Lake Shore-Severna Park club, as having the highest per capita giving in the District.

The bottom line is that the Rotary Foundation is our Foundation, and it felt great to all concerned to spend an evening to celebrate our commitment  to the cause…even if it did mean that we missed the first half of the Ravens-Pittsburgh game.  (If you are a Raven’s fan the game stunk anyway.)

Thanks to DGN, Anna Mae Kobbe for putting on a terrific show along with our hard working and long suffering District Secretary, Sherry Whitworth.  And as always, thanks to DG Bill Fine for leading the troops this year.

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South Anne Arundel County club President , Joe Van Deuren,  happily representing the club as being the number 1 club in the District for per cap giving to TRF with a total of $480 per cap.  WOW!!!!  Obviously Joe has never been in sales where a great year like this is rewarded by increasing your quota.
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Dave Hillery with a death grip on his award for achieving Major Donor Level 2 status.

IMG_0886L-R, DG Bill Fine, RI VP Anne Matthews, Level One Major Donors, Frank Andracchi (Lake Shore-Severna Park), Bea Carson (Annapolis), and DRFC Claude Morissette, all obviously looking at the wrong camera.

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L – R: District 7620 DGN and a major force in having a successful event, Margarita drinker, and new wife of Doug who has all of the good pictures, Anna Mae Kobbe, PDG and current Club Extension Chair, Ray Streib, and PDG and next year’s Grants Chair, who will sweating next year’s dinner, Bette Lewis.
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These photos are for Past RI VP Anne to make her feel better about losing to Tennessee.
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This was obviously the “before” picture. Just kidding Past RI VP Anne. We love you, and even though there’s a lot of  Maryland Terps fans around here, we’ll  keep a warm spot in our heart for the Gamecocks.  Thank’s for coming to our dinner and celebrating with us.

 

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All About the Sandler Training Polio Fundraiser

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Apparently their is some confusion about District 7620’s Sandler Polio Fundraiser. For some startling reason, Rotarians seem to think this one day seminar, run by Sandler, is all about sales.  And that’s because Sandler runs one of the most well-respected sales trainings programs in the business.  Well, my dear RFA readers, think again.  This one day seminar is all about being a superior person, growing your ability to stand strong in the face of adversity, and about building your self-confidence, and the self-confidence of others.  It’s about how to manage your emotions, how to be more empathetic, and how to be a better communicator.  It’s about hiring better people and growing your business.  And yes, at some point during the day you will pick up a few tips about how to sell.  If you, or anyone you know, might want to improve at any of the above, you (they) really should consider attending.

In case you are slightly confused about the need for Sandler Sales Training, either in your business, in a business  that you know of,  or that is owned by your brother-in-law, I thought I would share a video of a recent sales call gone bad.  Just think, this guy could have gone to the Sandler Traing Seminar, closed the sale, AND contributed important money to fund our campaign to End Polio Now.

Pretty good, huh?  NOTE:  Chris Farley and David Spade, Tommy Boy (1995)  I love this clip but I’m glad I didn’t see the movie.

As I say, the one day seminar is not just for sales people.  If you know of  a small business that has employees that are in customer service, customer relations, or have management responsibilities, they would benefit.  My company, Pinnacle Advisory Group, is in the private wealth management business and we are sending seven employees to the all-day seminar on Wednesday, October 15th at the Charlestown- Erickson Conference Center.  Who are we sending?  Wealth Managers who are responsible for asking clients for referrals, client service staff, and two of our managers.  Why is this a good investment for our firm?  Because they could all benefit from the training, AND because we are getting world class Sandler training at a price point that is so inexpensive that it’s ridiculous.

Here is one of my favorite customer service clips.  Too bad this customer service provider obviously wasn’t a Sandler graduate:

In case you were wondering, the moral to this clip is that if you send yourself, or someone you know to our one day Sandler  Training seminar, we will raise money for Polio and whoever attends will never again have a problem with a car reservation.

OK….more details.  Charlestown has donated the space for the training, so every penny we raise from the seminar goes to fight polio.  The cost (after September 15th) is only $350 for the whole day including lunch.  Our donations are matched 2-1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation so if we raise $20,000 from the Sandler event we send  $60,000 to the front lines of Polio Eradication.  If you need more information check out the flyer on the District 7620 website or call DG Bill Fine directly.

I know this is Rotary and we do everything at the last minute.  The last minute has arrived.  Let’s sell this thing out and raise big money for Polio eradication.

 

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