RI President March Message

We have overcome so many challenges these past two years and changed numerous lives. It brings me great joy that we have worked so hard this year to grow Rotary through the Each One, Bring One initiative. The result has been excellent growth in membership. Let us keep up the momentum. I am happy that you have put a spotlight on all we do by organizing projects around the world in our Rotary Days of Service. The future looks brighter than ever for Rotary and our 1.4 million members.

On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 constituted a pandemic, and two years later it is important that we continue to draw on our expertise in our disease prevention and treatment area of focus to help people worldwide cope with the continuing challenges. The pandemic continues to defy all expectations, but we cannot be frozen in fear. Our work is too important. It is also important that we make time for each other, and I urge you to register for the upcoming 2022 Rotary International Convention in Houston. It is a great way for all of us to safely celebrate Rotary service.

We can continue to build hope and spread peace in the world by using our resources to help the most vulnerable and keeping our faith in the future. The pandemic has had an especially devastating impact on girls worldwide. On the first anniversary of the pandemic, Henrietta Fore, the executive director of UNICEF, said that “immediate action is needed to mitigate the toll on girls and their families.” This need, unfortunately, remains just as strong a year later. The ripples of the pandemic have affected girls in unique ways — stunting their educational attainment, weakening their job prospects, and contributing to other terrible results such as child marriages and increased human trafficking.

Data from UNICEF reveals why our action is so essential. In the 2010s, important progress was made toward eliminating the practice of child marriage, and UNICEF estimates that 25 million such marriages were averted worldwide.  Unfortunately, the pandemic reversed those positive trends, and as a result an additional 10 million girls are vulnerable to becoming child brides by the end of this decade.

This is why our focus on Empowering Girls is such vital work, and I am delighted that at this year’s virtual International Assembly, President-elect Jennifer Jones committed to continuing this initiative for another year. In my travels, I have witnessed many wonderful examples of club projects that back our Empowering Girls goals. But all Rotary members know that real change requires big efforts sustained over many years. This is the power of our global grants and actions taken within our areas of focus.

I encourage clubs to think of innovative ways to empower girls when designing their grant projects. Every step we take to improve education, health care, and economic opportunities for girls makes an important difference in helping them achieve their full potential. With opportunity we create hope, and with hope we address the root causes of conflict around the world, setting the stage for sustainable peace.

None of us know how long the COVID-19 virus will linger — and as an organization that has worked tirelessly for decades to eradicate polio, we understand better than most the difficult work that lies ahead for the world. That is why we need to remain focused on the future and on what is possible — not feeling nostalgic for the way our lives were, but looking hopefully to a future that uses this opportunity to Serve to Change Lives. I look forward to continuing this good work with you.

RI President March Message 2022-03-31 05:00:00Z 0
World Immunization Week, Apr 24-30 2022-03-31 05:00:00Z 0

Education and expert advice for WASH projects

Over the last year, the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) Rotary Action Group has been incredibly busy. From our World Water Summit and webinar series on WASH in Healthcare Facilities to grant review and education support, we continue to advance WASH among Rotary members.

Take a moment to consider these facts from UNICEF’s 2020 Global progress report on WASH in health care facilities:

  • A quarter of all health care facilities have no basic water services.
  • 10% of health care facilities globally have no sanitation services.
  • One in three healthcare facilities do not have adequate facilities to clean hands at the point of care.
  • One in three health care facilities do not segregate waste safely.

While these statistics are shocking, they should also move us toward action. No mother should have to give birth in such a facility. I encourage you to go to our YouTube channel and watch the recordings of our recent webinars on WASH in Healthcare Facilities.

As always, our Action Group’s Professional Services team is happy to review your global grant prior to submission. The team is comprised of individuals with diverse WASH backgrounds and can help advise on any WASH grant. In addition, if we review your grant, you can put the WASH Rotary Action Group Donor Advised Fund in your funding section for as much as $2,000! Learn more.

Make sure you join us for World Water Summit 14 on 3 June. Whether you will be in Houston for the Rotary International Convention or not, you can still take part. This year, we’ll have a hybrid event with both in-person and virtual participation options. The theme is WASH Away Polio and will address water’s role in stopping the transmission of infectious diseases like polio. Speakers include Dr. Tunji Funsho (one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2020), Past RI President John Germ, Rotary Foundation Trustee Aziz Memon, and Chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee Mike McGovern. Learn more and register here.

If you are involved in WASH projects, we want to help you do more and better work. If you are interested in WASH projects and concerns, we want you on our team. Join the WASH Rotary Action Group and help us make a difference.

Education and expert advice for WASH projects 2022-03-31 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary's network enables rapid humanitarian relief for Ukrainian refugees

The war in Ukraine is having devastating consequences on civilians as families flee their homes. According to the United Nations, more than 3.5 million people, most of them women and children, have sought refuge in neighboring countries and across Europe, while about 7 million more people have been displaced within Ukraine.

Rotary and Rotaract clubs in Europe and around the world have taken swift action and are working with members nearby to provide food, water, medical equipment, and shelter for refugees.

The Rotary Foundation created a funding channel for relief efforts in Ukraine.

Donate now

Below are some of the latest projects as of 1 April

  • Clubs in Rotary District 2231 (Poland) are using a $50,000 disaster response grant to provide transportation, accommodations, food, and medical assistance for refugees who crossed the border from Ukraine.
  • Rotary District 2240 in the Czech Republic is purchasing $50,000 worth of sleeping bags, medicine, food, and defibrillators, EKGs, and oxygen concentrators to victims. 
  • District governors in Germany created a national task force to coordinate member initiatives and relief efforts on an online platform. A liaison office for government agencies and nongovernmental organizations has been established in Berlin.
  • Rotary clubs throughout France have mobilized to collect and distribute necessities to refugees. District governors are coordinating donations from French clubs to help Rotary clubs in Ukraine as well as to assist refugees traveling through Poland and Romania or taking refuge in those countries. The needs are determined by the France-Ukraine, France-Poland, and France-Romania-Moldova intercountry committees.
  • District 1910 in Austria is using a $25,00 disaster response grant to provide accommodations, baby supplies, medicine, hygiene materials, psychological care, food, and appliances to Ukrainian refugees in Austria.
Rotary's network enables rapid humanitarian relief for Ukrainian refugees 2022-03-31 05:00:00Z 0

The Connector

President-elect Jennifer Jones is poised to lead Rotary into a vibrant, diverse future

By Photography by 

President-elect Jennifer Jones’ office at Rotary International world headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, feels different from those of her predecessors, but that’s in no way a result of the fact that on 1 July she will become Rotary’s first female president. On the wall hangs a recent gift from a friend — a black scratch-off map on which Jones can record every Rotary destination she visits during the next two years. When we speak it’s September, two months since she took office as president-elect, and on the map, only Chicago has been revealed — many planned events were canceled or postponed due to a rise in COVID-19 cases. Today, Jones is the only person on the 18th floor of One Rotary Center. There are no phones ringing, no fingers tap-tap-tapping on keyboards in the cubicles outside her door. One could do cartwheels through the Rotary boardroom and nobody would notice.

Jones elbow-bumps her visitors, Rotary magazine senior staff writer Diana Schoberg and senior editor Geoffrey Johnson. Then, spaced apart at a table in her office, they discuss her vision for the year ahead. “If you start to think about how exponentially Rotary can touch the world, we’re more than a club,” Jones says. “We’re a movement.”

Jones is president and CEO of Media Street Productions Inc. in Windsor, Ontario, where she is a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland. (Her husband, Nick Krayacich, is past president of the Rotary Club of La Salle Centennial and was recently selected as governor-nominee-designate of District 6400.) Her company’s specialties include radio and television production, corporate and nonprofit videos, and live show productions. 

Using her media background to elevate Rotary’s global profile is one of the primary goals of her presidency, and Jones is planning what she calls the “Imagine Impact Tour” to showcase to the world several large-scale, sustainable projects in each of Rotary’s areas of focus. “I see this as a way of increasing our membership,” she says. “When we tell our stories, like-minded people will want to join with us.”

A Rotary member since 1996, Jones played a lead role in the organization’s rebranding effort by serving as chair of the Strengthening Rotary Advisory Group. She is co-chair of the End Polio Now Countdown to History Campaign Committee, which aims to raise $150 million for polio eradication efforts. She also led the successful #RotaryResponds virtual telethon in 2020, which raised critical funds for pandemic relief and attracted more than 65,000 views.

Between more serious topics such as elevating Rotary’s image and its efforts toward diversity, equity, and inclusion, the conversation jumps around to the retro appeal of the 1980s television show The Golden Girls (its social commentary is relevant even today, Jones surmises) and dance parties (“Whenever a good song comes on, it’s hard to not get a little groove on,” she says.). Toward the end of the conversation, Jones’ dad chimes in with a ding on her phone and the one-word message, “passed” — he’s still working at almost 80 years old and wanted to let her know he’d succeeded at an annual exam for his job. 

“He is the sweetest thing,” she says with a smile. A few days earlier, his text to her had included a heart emoji and the query “How’s fixing the world coming along?” With the family of Rotary behind her, Jones is well on her way.

The Connector 2022-03-31 05:00:00Z 0

RI President February Message

At the start of the Rotary year, I challenged every club to plan and host at least one practical and action-oriented Rotary Day of Service. The event should address a challenge your community is facing that fits into one or more of Rotary’s areas of focus and should bring together volunteers from within and outside of Rotary.

Rotary Days of Service can motivate Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact clubs to plan innovative and impactful projects. They can showcase your work as people of action and introduce prospective members to your club.

I’ve been inspired by your response so far, and I want to share with you just one project that has captured my imagination.

India is home to an estimated 74 million people with diabetes, a disease that is a leading cause of death. Furthermore, about 50 percent of those people remain undiagnosed.

Rotary, together with the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India, saw the urgent need to diagnose, track, and treat people who have diabetes. Working together and with other organizations, we hosted a nationwide blood glucose testing camp on 29 September, which is World Heart Day.

The camp was spread across more than 10,000 sites in India, with more than 2,000 Rotary and Rotaract clubs participating in the effort. More than 1 million blood-sugar tests were conducted in a day, an accomplishment recognized by the Asia Book of Records. But more important than breaking a record is the fact that tens of thousands of people learned that they may be living with diabetes. They can now be treated for the condition, and they also have been made aware that they should take extra measures to shield themselves from COVID-19 and scores of other diseases that are caused or worsened by diabetes. 

This month, on 23 February, the anniversary of Rotary, let us celebrate with more service days, showcasing Rotary’s work in our areas of focus. I look forward to hearing about your Rotary Days of Service. Please share your projects on Rotary Showcase, or browse that webpage to find inspiration and project partners. In particular, I encourage you to execute projects that focus on empowering girls, as they have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The Empowering Girls initiative is resonating very well with members of Rotary as well as with non-Rotarians. The governments and NGOs in various countries are appreciating this meaningful effort. Let us keep focusing on it.

I am also happy that the Each One, Bring One ethos is bringing fruitful results. Let us ensure that all club members introduce at least one person to Rotary, and that we then all work to engage new members and keep them in our clubs.

In whatever we do, remember that we must push ourselves to grow moredo more as we Serve to Change Lives.

RI President February Message 2022-03-31 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary Foundation receives highest rating from Charity Navigator for 14th consecutive year

For the 14th consecutive year, The Rotary Foundation has received the highest rating — four stars — from Charity Navigator, an independent evaluator of charities in the U.S. 

The Foundation earned the recognition for adhering to sector best practices and executing its mission in a financially efficient way, demonstrating both strong financial health and commitment to accountability and transparency. Only one percent of the organizations Charity Navigator evaluates have received 14 consecutive 4-star evaluations.

“We are honored to have been recognized and to be among the top 1% of charities evaluated,” said Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair John Germ. “Our donors can feel proud knowing that their gifts will allow them to make an impact in their communities and the world for years to come.”

The rating reflects Charity Navigator's assessment of how the Foundation uses donations, sustains its programs and services, and practices good governance and openness.

Rotary Foundation receives highest rating from Charity Navigator for 14th consecutive year 2022-01-26 06:00:00Z 0

Jennifer Jones imagines Rotary fulfilling big dreams

Rotary International President-elect Jennifer Jones wants members to imagine the possibilities in the change they can make to transform the world.

Jones, a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor-Roseland, Ontario, Canada, revealed the 2022-23 presidential theme, Imagine Rotary, as she urged people to dream big and harness their connections and the power of Rotary to turn those dreams into reality.

“Imagine, a world that deserves our best,” Jones told incoming district governors on 20 January, “where we get up each day knowing that we can make a difference.”

Jones, who will make history on 1 July by becoming Rotary’s first female president, gave a live online address to precede Rotary’s annual training event for district governors from around the world, the International Assembly. The assembly was rescheduled because of the COVID-19 pandemic and will now be held virtually 7-14 February.

Jones told the incoming governors about a chance she took when a member asked for assistance in getting a young peace activist out of Afghanistan during the U.S. troop withdrawal last year. At first unsure how she could help, she relied on “that certain Rotary magic” and contacted a former Rotary Peace Fellow she had met a few years earlier. Less than 24 hours later, the activist was on an evacuation list, and soon she was on her way to Europe.

Engaging members through meaningful responsibility

To better engage members, Rotary needs to “adapt and retool,” Jones said, using her hometown as an example. Windsor was once the automotive hub of Canada. But after plant closings left thousands without work, the city needed to retool, in the same way an auto plant would, preparing for new parts or a new model. Now, Jones said, Windsor is a leader in agribusiness and medical and aerospace technology.

For Rotary, “finding the right ‘part’ to engage each member should be our core function,” Jones said. “It comes down to the comfort and care of our members.”

Jennifer Jones imagines Rotary fulfilling big dreams 2022-01-26 06:00:00Z 0

RI President January Message

One of Rotary’s founding principles was to use your vocation — whether as a doctor, lawyer, engineer, or another profession — to do good in the world.  As we attempt to overcome and recover from the pandemic, this principle is vital in retraining people who have lost their jobs. In response, the Rotary E-Club of Tamar Hong Kong organized seminars for young people, with the aim of preparing them for the changing world of work.

This type of training must happen on a large scale. According to the United Nations, global unemployment is expected to exceed 200 million people in 2022. Women and youths are likely to be disproportionately affected.

This is why I’ve placed such a strong emphasis this year on projects that empower girls, and I’ve been delighted to see some of these projects in action. Of course, access to education and the path to employment can be blocked by a lack of water and sanitation infrastructure.

A project in Pune, India, focuses on providing girls and women with an affordable, reusable sanitary pad. The project provides employment for production and distribution of the pads, and it will reduce the pollution caused by the disposal of 12.3 billion sanitary napkins in the country annually, many of which end up in India’s landfills.

Others have used vocational service to advance the empowerment of women. The Rotary Club of Poona, India, conducted workshops to teach martial arts to young women, for self-defense against the threat of abuse or human trafficking.

I’ve also been fortunate to use my vocation to do good through Rotary. The Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 devastated the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which are part of my district. Thousands of homes were destroyed, and many areas lost electricity and running water. On my visit to Little Andaman Island, the builder in me immediately wanted to build homes for the homeless islanders there. We decided to construct 500 homes on Little Andaman.

On the last of my seven trips to the island, I could see something glimmering below as my helicopter was about to land. I realized that what I was seeing were the roofs of new homes. I was overjoyed by the sight, and soon a realization dawned upon me. As a builder I had built many beautiful buildings. In comparison, these 500 homes were the most ordinary buildings I had ever built, and they were in a place I likely will never visit again, for people I will never meet again. And yet the satisfaction I had in handing over these houses was greater than from anything I had previously built. Probably because for once I was using my vocation to Serve to Change Lives.

You, too, may have had opportunities to use your vocation to Serve to Change Lives. I welcome your stories of performing vocational service through Rotary. Also, I want to close by congratulating every club that has engaged with the Each One, Bring One initiative, which asks every member to introduce one person to Rotary. Increasing our membership gives people from all walks of life the opportunity to share their knowledge and skills in transformational service.

RI President January Message 2022-01-26 06:00:00Z 0

Coats for Kids

Join OKC Sunrise Thursday, Dec 16 at Bricktown Brewery, 1630 SW 104th St, OKC, OK, 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm. Bring a new coat for the Kids! OKC Sunrise Rotary teaming up with @EmpowerOKC. 
Coats for Kids 2021-12-14 06:00:00Z 0

RI President December Message

Public health is on everyone’s mind due to the global pandemic that still threatens the safety of ourselves and our loved ones. In a sense, COVID-19 has made all of us much more aware of the roles and responsibilities of medical professionals than we were before we had to wear masks and maintain social distance. In addition, while moving through this pandemic, we have also learned about the role we can play in keeping others safe.

December is Disease Prevention and Treatment Month in Rotary. The pandemic unfortunately has schooled most people on the toll that disease takes on our communities. But fighting disease is something that Rotarians around the world have been doing for decades. In fact, it is one of Rotary’s seven areas of focus.

As Rotarians, we believe that good health and well-being is a human right — even though 400 million people across the globe do not have access to essential health services. The work we do in establishing clinics, eye hospitals, and blood banks, as well as in building infrastructure for medical facilities in underserved communities, all returns to a central belief that access, prevention, and education are the keys to stopping deadly outbreaks that harm the most vulnerable.

My exposure to health work began with my Rotary club, Calcutta-Mahanagar. There, among other things, I helped pioneer a program called Saving Little Hearts that over the years has provided more than 2,500 free heart surgeries for children from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Africa. Before the program went international, it started locally with the goal of performing just six surgeries within our community. Today, our goal is to complete another 20,000 surgeries over the next five years.

The world relies on Rotary to tackle challenges like these and to set an example for others. Over the past decade, medical professionals and government workers have provided free health services to 2.5 million people in 10 countries during Family Health Days, which are organized by Rotarians around the world. Similar health camps in India also provide thousands of surgeries to those in need. Medical missions from India to Africa each year are an excellent example of hands-on service in disease prevention and treatment. Rotary members can also get involved at a local level; clubs in the United States and Mexico, for example, fund a free health clinic in Guerrero, a small town in Mexico.

And of course, our effort to eradicate polio is by far the best story in civil-society health care.

This month, think about how your club can focus on preventing and fighting disease. This is the time to take a bigger, better, bolder approach through both club and district projects that can impact more people. Re-evaluate where you are with your goals. Create strategies that can sustain change over years, not months.

Everyone deserves a long, healthy life. When you Serve to Change Lives, your actions today can help extend the lives of others.

RI President December Message 2021-12-07 06:00:00Z 0

RI President November Message

I first discovered the value of service when I saw how a few simple acts can immeasurably change lives. It began when I joined others in my club for a project to bring toilets and clean drinking water to rural villages near our city. It moved forward when we promoted sanitation and provided opportunities for education across the country, thanks to generous gifts from supporters who believed in our projects as much as those of us on the ground did.

There is no better time of the year to be reminded of that generosity than November, which is Rotary Foundation Month.

As the charitable arm of Rotary International, The Rotary Foundation is the engine that powers so many Rotary projects throughout the world. The Foundation transforms your gifts into projects that change lives. It is the Foundation that helps us to get closer to our goal of eradicating polio, to show more people how we promote peace through tangible actions, and to demonstrate the impact our projects have in our areas of focus.

Consider some recent projects that were made possible by the Foundation:

  • The Rotary clubs of Guatemala La Reforma, Guatemala, and Calgary, Alberta, received an $80,000 global grant to organize a comprehensive plan to train nurses and rural health care workers to prevent and treat cervical cancer and to implement a sustainable system of referrals in seven regions of Guatemala.
  • More than two dozen hospitals in Honduras received personal protective equipment for their medical staff thanks to a $169,347 global grant sponsored by the Rotary clubs of Villa Real de Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and Waldo Brookside-Kansas City, Missouri.
  • The Rotary clubs of Cotonou Le Nautile, Benin, and Tournai Haut-Escaut, Belgium, received a $39,390 global grant to provide agricultural training at an ecologically responsible permaculture mini-farm connected to a center for children in Sowé, Benin. This will help a new generation of farmers become economically self-sufficient.

I like comparing The Rotary Foundation to the Taj Mahal, a monument of one man’s love for a woman. The Foundation is a dynamic monument of our love for all of humanity.

This month I am asking all Rotary clubs to bring attention to the Foundation. It is what connects all Rotarians worldwide and transforms our collective passions into projects that change lives. Visit rotary.org/donate; once there, you will have an opportunity to give directly to the program you’re most passionate about.

Thank you for giving your all to Rotary. You are the reason that Rotary is able to do more and grow more. Let’s continue to represent that important legacy this month, this year, and beyond as we Serve to Change Lives.

RI President November Message 2021-12-07 06:00:00Z 0

RI President Shekhar Mehta urges countries at COP26 to protect mangroves


Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta joined the Rotary delegation to the 26th United Nations climate conference in Glasgow, Scotland, on 10 November to explore ways Rotary can work on environmental challenges, including by restoring mangroves, a crucial ecosystem that can mitigate the effects of climate change in coastal areas.

The climate summit, also known as COP26 (short for Conference of the Parties), brought together nearly 100 heads of state and governments over a two-week period to set new targets for fossil fuel emissions. This was Rotary’s first time at the annual conference.

Mehta co-led a roundtable discussion with Patricia Scotland, secretary-general of the Commonwealth, that focused on the critical role mangroves play in mitigating and adapting to climate change. Mangroves sequester large amounts of carbon and also protect against storm surges and coastal erosion, filter pollutants, and provide habitat for aquatic life, among other benefits.

Of the 54 Commonwealth countries, 33 contain mangrove ecosystems that together represent 22% of the world’s mangroves. Over the last half century, 50% of the world’s mangrove systems have been lost due to climate change and rapid urbanization.

“The sea is washing away coastlines because mangroves have gone,” said Mehta. “We are losing our ecosystem. Once mangroves die, our marine system and coastal communities will be lost.”

RI President Shekhar Mehta urges countries at COP26 to protect mangroves 2021-12-07 06:00:00Z 0

World Polio Day

Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for more than 35 years, and we’ve made incredible progress in the fight to rid the world of it forever.

As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, we've helped to reduced polio cases by more than 99.9 percent.

It’s crucial to eradicate polio from the last two countries where it remains endemic and to keep other countries polio-free.

If all eradication efforts stopped today, within 10 years, polio could paralyze as many as 200,000 children each year.

Be a part of history

Donate your funds

We’re close to eradicating polio, but we’re not done yet. We still need funds to continue immunization and surveillance efforts. Your gift will get us closer to the finish line.


Donate your time

Ending a disease is a massive effort, and Rotary and our partners can’t do it alone. You can join us in our efforts to end polio by being a part of World Polio Day.

Learn more about World Polio Day

Donate your voice

We need your voice to help us end polio now. Our resource center has materials such as social media messages and sample press releases.

Visit the resource center

World Polio Day 2021-10-14 05:00:00Z 0

$97 Million Dollar Pledge

RI President-elect Jennifer Jones announces Rotary’s $97 million pledge for sustainable projects during Global Citizen Live

The star-studded global event rallied people to take action on some of the world’s most urgent problems


Rotary International President-elect Jennifer Jones took the stage at the Global Citizen Live concert on 25 September in Paris, France, and pledged $97 million in grant funding from the organization next year for sustainable, Rotary club-led projects.

Global Citizen Live, a 24-hour broadcast with events and performances across six continents, aimed to unite people to take action to defend the planet, end the COVID-19 pandemic, defeat poverty, provide education for all children, and promote equity and justice for all. Some of the world’s top artists, celebrities, activists, and government leaders participated in this year’s event to raise awareness and support in cities including Paris; Lagos, Nigeria; London, UK; Los Angeles, USA; New York City, USA; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Seoul, Korea; and Sydney, Australia.

In Paris, where Jones pledged Rotary’s support, thousands of people gathered at the iconic Champ de Mars near the Eiffel Tower to see performances from Elton John, Ed Sheeran, Black Eyed Peas, Christine and the Queens, Doja Cat, Angélique Kidjo, and more. Other leaders pledging support included European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo. 

“Every day millions of girls walk miles to fetch clean water, and millions of boys are on the streets instead of going to school. Every day moms and dads struggle to find ways to feed their children,” Jones said from the main stage in Paris. “And every day, members of Rotary and Global Citizen start our days knowing that we can make a difference.” 

$97 Million Dollar Pledge 2021-10-07 05:00:00Z 0

RI President September Message

I am sure you are having an enriching experience as you Serve to Change Lives. One of the ways you can make the greatest change in a person’s life is to help them learn to read. Literacy opens up the world to us. It makes us better informed about life in our own communities and opens vistas to other cultures. Reading and writing connects people and gives us another way to express our love for one another.

September is Basic Education and Literacy Month in Rotary. Enhancing literacy skills is critical in our pursuit of reducing poverty, improving health, and promoting peace. In fact, if all students in low-income countries left school with basic reading skills, it would result in a significant cut in global poverty rates.

Without education, illiterate children become illiterate adults. Today, 14 percent of the world’s adult population — 762 million people — lack basic reading and writing skills. Two-thirds of that group are women. Literacy and numeracy skills are essential to obtaining better housing, health care, and jobs over a lifetime.

Especially for girls and women, literacy can be a life-or-death issue. If all girls completed their primary education, there would be far fewer maternal deaths. And a child is more likely to survive past age 5 if he or she is born to a mother who can read. Improving outcomes for more people worldwide is possible only if countries remove barriers to education for girls. The economic argument for doing so is clear: In some countries where schooling is geared toward boys, the cost of missed economic opportunity is more than $1 billion per year.

Empowering people through education is among the boldest goals we have as Rotarians. We don’t have to travel far from our homes to encounter those whose lives are being curtailed because they struggle with reading, rely on others to read for them, or cannot write anything more than their own name.

Starting this month, consider how your club can Serve to Change Lives through literacy: Support local organizations that offer free programs to support adult literacy or local language learning, or that provide teachers with professional development centered around reading and writing. Become literacy mentors, or work with an organization like the Global Partnership for Education to increase learning opportunities for children around the world. Have conversations with local schools and libraries to see how your club can support their existing programs or help create needed ones in your community.

In India, the TEACH program, a successful collaboration between the country’s Rotary clubs and its government, has demonstrated how to scale up literacy efforts to reach millions of children. And at a time when schools across India were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program’s e-learning component reached more than 100 million children through national television.

Literacy is the first step out of poverty. As Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai has noted, “One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.”

RI President September Message 2021-10-07 05:00:00Z 0

A Visit to Greenwood

Club members made a life-changing visit to Tulsa September 23, 2021 to conduct a service project and also to visit the Greenwood District, the site of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre. The service project involved using our weekly “Sunshine Dollars” to purchase supplies to prepare 100 personal hygiene bags to be delivered to the Vernon AME Church — one of the only structures to survive the massacre – for use in their food distribution ministry in the community. After purchasing the supplies, we enlisted the help of students from F.D. Moon Middle School who, along with their teacher and our member, Felix Linden, volunteered their time to fill the bags for delivery to the church. We then took a group of vehicles to Tulsa to deliver the bags to the church and then explore the Greenwood District.
A Visit to Greenwood Marty Postic 2021-10-07 05:00:00Z 0

RI President August Message

As we focus on membership in Rotary this month, I ask you to help make history this year. For more than 20 years, our membership has stood at 1.2 million. Rotary is a vibrant organization with a 116-year history, members in more than 220 countries and geographic areas, and a rich legacy of work in polio eradication and other humanitarian programs. Rotary has changed so much in our own lives and the lives of others. As we Serve to Change Lives, don’t you think Rotary could have an even greater impact on the world if more people were practicing Service Above Self?

My vision is to increase Rotary membership to 1.3 million by July 2022, and the call to action is simple: Each One, Bring One. This year, I want every Rotarian and Rotaractor to introduce a new person into their club.

We are a membership organization, and members are our greatest asset. You are the ones who contribute so generously to The Rotary Foundation. You are the ones who dream big to bring good into the world through meaningful projects. And of course, you are the ones who have put the world on the brink of eradicating polio.

As we make membership a priority this year, let us focus on diversity by reaching out to younger people and especially to women. Every club should celebrate its new members, and every Rotarian who sponsors a member will be personally recognized by me. And those who are successful in bringing in 25 or more members will be part of our new Membership Society.

Even as we share the gift of Rotary with others, let us be sure to engage these new members, because an engaged Rotarian is an asset forever. And remember that engaging our current members and keeping them in our clubs is just as important as bringing in newcomers. Let us also be ready to form new clubs, especially flexible ones. I am very bullish on clubs that hold virtual or hybrid meetings, and satellite clubs and cause-based clubs can also be very effective ways of growing Rotary.

As you grow more, you will be able to do more. Let us keep empowering girls through our work in each of the areas of focus. Scholarships for girls, toilets in schools, health and hygiene education — there is so much we can do. Projects focused on the environment are also attracting interest the world over. Do participate in these projects locally and internationally to make this world a better place for us and for all species.

Each of you is a Rotary brand ambassador, and all of the wonderful work done by Rotarians around the world needs to be shared outside the Rotary community. Use social media to tell your friends, colleagues, and relatives the stories of Service Above Self.

Finally, I’m challenging every club, during the coming year, to plan at least one Rotary Day of Service that will bring together volunteers from inside and outside Rotary and will celebrate and showcase the work of your club in your community. Visit rotary.org to find out more about all of these initiatives, along with other ways to Serve to Change Lives.

RI President August Message 2021-08-03 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary Projects

Here in the USA...About a dozen Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Eau Claire Morning, Wisconsin, along with some of their family members, used a product called Invisible Spray to stencil temporary, water-activated artwork on sidewalks throughout the city. Rainworks, manufacturer of the hydrophobic, nontoxic liquid spray, donated the product, which allows users to create designs that only appear when the sidewalks get wet. At a cost of about $130, 16 ounces can cover up to 110 square feet. “We thought in the difficult times of the pandemic, we could bring smiles to our community” and inspire other organizations to do the same, says Sarah Stackhouse, a co-president of the club. A “thank you” below an image of a firefighter’s hat was traced outside a fire station, while a drawing at the entrance to a theater featured musical notes and suggested “singing in the rain.”

Sri Lanka...With 11,000 followers on Facebook and nearly 3,000 on Instagram, the Rotaract Club of Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology (SLIIT) collects clicks when it takes on a cause. In September, the 331-member club wrapped up an initiative to use those social media platforms, as well as its YouTube channel, to promote pandemic-stricken businesses in and around Colombo, one of the nation’s two capital cities. The Rotaractors produced and posted 10 video interviews with the operators of various enterprises, including bakeries, an event-organizing company, and an auto parts supplier. “Many small business owners faced a lot of downfalls in surviving the crisis,” says Sharoni Anthony, a club member. “We hoped to make the public aware of them and their amazing products and services.”

Rotary Projects 2021-08-03 05:00:00Z 0

What the latest IEP report says about world peace

By Michael Collins, Executive Director Americas, Institute for Economics and Peace

In June, the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) released its 15th annual Global Peace Index, one of the leading measures of peacefulness globally. Since 2017, the IEP and Rotary have been in a strategic partnership, providing members with new tools to effectively build peace in communities around the world. It has been my pleasure to work with Rotary members as I have been involved in the process of creating a number of global peace indexes.

What can we glean from the latest report? Well, there’s good news and bad news. Overall, the 2021 Global Peace Index reveals a world in which decades-old conflicts are beginning to abate. But at the same time, civil unrest and political instability are creating new challenges as the world looks toward a recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. For the ninth time in 12 years, the level of global peacefulness has declined, but it was also the smallest decline recorded by the index.

Peace is much more than the absence of violence. The Rotary Positive Peace Academy introduces the concept of Positive Peace, which describes the attitudes, structures, and institutions that underpin and sustain peaceful societies. The IEP has developed a conceptual framework, known as the Pillars of Peace, that outlines a system of eight factors that work together to build positive peace. Derived from a statistical analysis of over 24,000 datasets, the Pillars of Peace provides a roadmap to overcome adversity and conflict, and to build lasting peace.

What the latest IEP report says about world peace 2021-07-26 05:00:00Z 0

Meet RI President, Shekhar Mehta

Shekhar Mehta

President 2021-22

Rotary Club of Calcutta-Mahanagar

West Bengal, India

Mehta, an accountant, is chair of the Skyline Group, a real estate development company he founded. He is also a director of Operation Eyesight Universal (India), a Canada-based organization.

Mehta has been actively involved in disaster response and is a trustee of ShelterBox, UK. After the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, he helped build nearly 500 homes for families affected by the disaster.

He pioneered a program that has performed more than 1,500 life-changing heart surgeries in South Asia. He is also the architect of the TEACH Program, which promotes literacy throughout India and has reached thousands of schools.

A Rotary member since 1984, Mehta has served Rotary as director, member or chair of several committees, zone coordinator, training leader, member of The Rotary Foundation Cadre of Technical Advisers, and district governor. He is also the chair of Rotary Foundation (India).

Mehta has received Rotary's Service Above Self Award and The Rotary Foundation's Citation for Meritorious Service and Distinguished Service Awards.

He and his wife, Rashi, are Major Donors and members of the Bequest Society.

Meet RI President, Shekhar Mehta 2021-07-23 05:00:00Z 0

RI President July Message

I wish each of you and your families a great Rotary New Year! Together, let us make it the best year of our lives, by making it a year to grow more and do more. Let this be a year of changemakers, and let us begin with our membership.

That is precisely why the Each One, Bring One initiative is so important. During this year, I urge you to dream of new ways in which Rotary can expand its reach into your community and therefore the world. If each member introduces one person to Rotary, our membership can increase to 1.3 million by July 2022. So, let’s just do it!

Imagine the change we, as Rotary members, can make when there are so many more of us! More people to care for others, more people to Serve to Change Lives. Think of the impact we can have through grow more, do more. More members will enable us to embark on bigger and bolder service projects. And each of us can also continue to serve in our own personal ways, responding to needs in our communities.

The beauty of Rotary is that service means different things to different people around the world. One element, however, that we can incorporate into all of our service initiatives is empowering girls. Unfortunately, even in this day and age, girls and young women face disproportionate challenges all over the world. We have the power to lead the charge for gender equality. Empowering girls and young women to have greater access to education, better health care, more employment, and equality in all walks of life should be embedded in every Rotary project we launch. Girls are future leaders, so we must ensure that we help them shape their future.

The biggest gift we are given
Is the power to touch a life,

To change, to make a difference
In the circle of life.

If we can reach out
With our hand, heart, and soul,

The magic will start to happen
As the wheel begins to roll.

Let’s turn the wheel together
So all humanity thrives,

We have the power and the magic
To Serve to Change Lives.

These are challenging times, and I compliment each of your efforts in grappling with COVID-19. No challenge is too big for Rotarians. The bigger the challenge, the more passionate the Rotarian. Look at what we can do when we take on a colossal challenge such as eradicating polio. Look at the millions of lives we improve by strengthening access to water, sanitation, and hygiene. Look at what we do every year to promote peace in places where it seems unimaginable. Our basic education and literacy programs have nation-building impact.

This year, let us challenge ourselves to do more such projects and programs that have national reach and impact. This year, let us Serve to Change Lives.

RI President July Message 2021-07-23 05:00:00Z 0

Former Refugees Help Recent Defectors

Former refugees help recent defectors adapt to South Korea...by Seoha Lee

Since the end of World War II, the Korean Peninsula has been divided. Partitioned in 1945 — the North under Soviet occupation and the South under U.S. occupation — the nations, still in conflict, have struggled for decades to achieve a peaceful relationship.

In the years since the divide, more than 30,000 people from the North have escaped through China and come to South Korea for a new beginning. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people defecting has drastically declined due to increased border security. Before the outbreak, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s regime had also increased border patrols and added an electrified fence, making escape more difficult.

Those who make it to South Korea go through a government-run, three-month resettlement process. Once they are released, a police officer is assigned to watch them. The work of building a new life in a different Korean culture is up to them.

The relationship between North and South Koreans is complex. As part of a single nation for thousands of years, they share the same language and observe the same traditional holidays. However, the memory of espionage after the Korean War lingers. In South Korea, those from the North must adapt to an unfamiliar capitalist system and culture without any family or friends, while enduring suspicions and prejudice against them.

In 2016, with support from the Rotary Club of Ulsan Daeduck, North Korean immigrants chartered the Rotary Club of Ulsan Freedom — a fitting name for those who risked their lives for their freedom.

Former Refugees Help Recent Defectors 2021-07-23 05:00:00Z 0

RI President April Message

I spend a lot of time thinking of family, not just my own or the extended family of Rotary, but also the families we are helping in the communities we serve. In many parts of the world, mothers and children face challenges to survive that most of us will never comprehend. According to the World Health Organization, the risk of a woman in a low-income country dying during pregnancy or childbirth, or from related causes, is about 120 times higher than that of a woman living in a high-income country. It is encouraging that infant mortality rates are declining globally, yet 4 million babies annually still die within the first year of life.

In April, Rotary turns its attention to maternal and child health. And when we think of what we can do to help, we can look to clubs like the Rotaract Club of Calabar South-CB, Nigeria, for inspiration. It teamed up with the Rotaract Club of Canaan City (CB) in a program focused on educating mothers on best practices to prevent infant mortality and promote postnatal health for themselves and their babies. In Bangladesh, the Rotary Club of Dhaka North provides free surgeries and medicine to pregnant women who cannot afford the hospital costs associated with giving birth. I encourage you and your club to go to ideas.rotary.org to find projects like these that are helping to save mothers and children.

We also have witnessed how millions of people — families and entire communities — have been ripped away from their homes because of conflict, poverty, and disasters during the past decade. But Rotary has not stood idly by during the global refugee crisis.

During Rotary Day at the United Nations last November, we honored a Rotary Peace Fellow and five Rotarians who are taking action to help refugee communities. Among them was Ilge Karancak-Splane of the Rotary Club of Monterey Cannery Row, California. After visiting several tent camps in Turkey, she led a Rotary project that collected 1,000 pairs of children's shoes and socks for families in the camps and, later, led a global grant project to help educate refugee children. In March, Gay and I had the privilege of visiting a tent camp in Torbalı and seeing firsthand the good work that Rotarians from Turkey and California were accomplishing with Syrian refugees.

The challenges faced by mothers, their children, and refugee communities around the world are daunting. But when we remember our greatest strength — how Rotary Connects the World — we can begin to find solutions. Through our creativity, our resources, our dedication, and our networks, Rotary can and will open opportunities to face these challenges.

RI President April Message 2020-04-23 05:00:00Z 0

RI President May Message

Increasing our ability to adapt: That is one goal of our new Rotary Action Plan. And wow, have we seen that ability put to the test this year.

In March, Gay and I were to visit Zimbabwe, Turkey, and eight other countries over the course of 30 days. After participating in a medical mission in Zimbabwe and Commonwealth Week activities in London, on the 11th day, we were packing our suitcases for Switzerland and Liechtenstein.

While attending a dinner at the High Commission for Pakistan in London, we received word that it would be impossible to travel everywhere on our itinerary. So, instead of flying to Zurich, we returned to Evanston and One Rotary Center.

Throughout early March, the news about COVID-19 became increasingly serious throughout the world. Following the advice of local officials, we canceled UN presidential conferences in Paris and Rome. Soon, the World Health Organization declared the virus a global pandemic, and we consulted with authorities on more critical decisions. We asked all Rotary districts and clubs to curb face-to-face meetings until further notice and to hold virtual meetings instead. To the districts and clubs that have adapted so quickly, thank you.

The Rotary Board of Directors held its first-ever virtual meeting to make the most difficult decision of all, to cancel the 2020 Rotary International Convention. Like the more than 20,000 registrants who planned to attend, I am disappointed. We acted to protect the health and safety of convention attendees and their families, friends, and colleagues, as well as those who call Honolulu home, and I am confident we made the right decision.

I want to thank the 2020 Honolulu Convention Committee, the Host Organization Committee, the 2020 Honolulu Convention Promotion Committee, and Rotary staff for planning what would have been one of the best Rotary conventions yet. I appreciate their hard work.

This issue of The Rotarian was going to press as the decision about canceling the convention was made, and many other decisions across the Rotary world were still up in the air. Future issues of The Rotarian and of Rotary's regional magazines, along with Rotary's social media channels, will keep you informed.

We began this Rotary year promoting the importance of the new Action Plan for all Rotarians and Rotaractors. Today, we are putting that plan into action out of necessity. That includes the possibility of a convention-like experience with you through a virtual event. We will have more to say about this in the near future.

The world is changing rapidly, and so must Rotary. Our adaptability and strength will help us navigate this experience. The world needs our leadership today more than ever. Truly, Rotary Connects the World.

RI President May Message 2020-04-23 05:00:00Z 0

Club to meet via Zoom

Dear OKC Sunrise Rotarians,
The safety of our Rotarians and the public is a top priority to the OKC Sunrise Rotary Club.   As concerns develop and evolve with COVID-19 (the novel coronavirus), we are closely monitoring the situation and its potential impact on our communities.  Therefore, in the best interest of our fellow Rotarians and the public, we have suspended all OKC Sunrise Rotary Meetings  through May 31. 
OKC Sunrise is holding the club meeting via Zoom; and you can join from your computer or cell phone. If by cell, please download the app. Should your device not have a camera, you can still be part of the meeting with audio (just like a conference call. In preparation, go to www.zoom.us qvJ
Club to meet via Zoom 2020-03-17 05:00:00Z 0

State of Emergency for OKC

Good evening fellow Rotarians,
This evening Oklahoma City Mayor, David Holt declared a state of emergency for the city of Oklahoma City. The full story can be read here.
The focus of Mayor Holt’s message is to exercise social distance; and let’s stay ahead of the Coronavirus. All social gatherings with 50 or more people are halted at specific venues. “Limiting close personal contact is our only real tool of mitigation, and on the advice of public health officials, and with the confirmation of local spread, we feel it is now time to do more,” said Mayor Holt. “I do not proclaim this state of emergency casually, and I am fully aware of the gravity of the moment. But this is a time to protect the people of Oklahoma City.”
Local public health officials underscored the necessity of the proclamation.
“This will be an important step to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the impact of this pandemic on our community,” said Dr. Gary Raskob, chairman of the OCCHD Board of Health. Please heed the advice of our health officials; and be prudent in conducting club functions for the next few weeks. (Forward any and all you deem appropriate.)
Together, we save lives. Thriving communities start with healthy people. That’s why Rotary clubs organize health screenings, host blood drives, and connect neighbor to medical resources. Working together to save lives - that’s what people of action do.
Yours in Rotary,
Lance Singleton
District Governor 2019-2020
405-401-5953   lance@lancesingleton.com
“Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change — across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.”
State of Emergency for OKC 2020-03-17 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary monitors the global coronavirus crisis

Rotary is closely monitoring updates and recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to ensure the safest and most appropriate actions are taken for our members. Read the latest on how the COVID-19 outbreak is impacting Rotary operations, events, and members.
Rotary monitors the global coronavirus crisis 2020-03-17 05:00:00Z 0
Rotary...People of Action 2020-03-17 05:00:00Z 0

RI President March Message

March is the month we celebrate Rotaract — and this has been quite a year for our young partners in service.

Last spring, the Council on Legislation elevated Rotaract in our constitution: Rotary International is now the association of both Rotary clubs and Rotaract clubs. Then in October, the Rotary Board of Directors eliminated the artificial Rotaract age limit and took other steps to break down barriers that were preventing Rotaract from growing in some parts of the world.

These steps were long overdue, because Rotaract is a vision of what Rotary must become. Not only do we need to open our doors to our young colleagues, but we also have to open our ears and minds to the Rotary experience they find most engaging. That is one of the best ways we will meaningfully grow Rotary.

When I say grow Rotary, I mean it in many ways. We need to grow our service and to grow the impact of our projects. Most importantly, however, we need to grow our membership, so that we can achieve more. Rotaractors provide this opportunity, not only because they can transition to Rotary at the time that is right for them, but also because they understand what it will take to attract others like them.

Business as usual will not work for us anymore. Bringing in more members to replace the ones we lose is not the answer. It is like pouring more water into a bucket full of holes. We need to address the root causes of member loss in many parts of the world: member engagement that is not what it should be, and our member demographic that skews steadily older.

It is time to make some fundamental changes. We already know what the barriers are to an engaged and diverse membership. It is time to act on what we know: creating new membership models, opening new paths to Rotary membership, and building new Rotary and Rotaract clubs where the existing clubs do not meet a current need.

New club models represent an opportunity to connect with a more diverse group of individuals — particularly those who are unable or unwilling to join our traditional clubs. While new club models have been emerging for some time, it is up to district governors to make them a reality. In January at the International Assembly, our incoming district governors took part in an exercise called Build Your Own Club Model. It was a wonderful experience that put them in the right frame of mind for the work ahead.

Ultimately, however, it will be up to Rotaractors and young Rotarians to create new club models that are most meaningful to the next generation. We may think we know what young people want from Rotary clubs in the future, but I am confident that what young people say will surprise us. It will be our job to support their innovation, for it will help us grow Rotary as Rotary Connects the World.

RI President March Message 2020-03-17 05:00:00Z 0
Fight Poverty on a Small Scale 2019-07-29 05:00:00Z 0

RI President August Message

During 2019-2020, I am encouraging Rotarians and Rotaractors to grow Rotary. We must grow our service, we must grow the impact of our projects, but, most importantly, we must grow our membership so that we can achieve more.

Let us try a new approach to membership, one that is more organized and strategic. I am asking every club to form an active membership committee consisting of people of different backgrounds who will look methodically at the leadership of the community.

Your club's membership committee will then apply Rotary's classification system — designed to ensure that the range of professions in your community is well represented — to identify potential leaders with the skill, the talent, and the character that will strengthen your club. If your club's membership committee is unsure how to proceed, look to the club membership committee checklist on Rotary.org for clearly defined steps to organizing its work.

How else will we connect to grow Rotary? We will also form new types of clubs — either independent clubs or satellite clubs — with different meeting experiences and engaging service opportunities, not just where there is no Rotary, but also where Rotary is already thriving. No Rotary club in the world can possibly serve all segments of its community. Therefore, we must organize new clubs to engage the community leaders who cannot connect with our existing clubs.

Growing Rotary is all about taking the connections that make our organization unique in the world and strengthening and multiplying them. Let us commit ourselves to growing Rotary and to welcoming the next diverse generation of women and men as Rotary Connects the World.

RI President August Message 2019-07-29 05:00:00Z 0

RI President July Message

I love to travel! I even enjoy the mundane process of getting from here to there. But last year, my wife, Gay, and I had one of those experiences that would strain the optimism of even the most cheerful traveler. We found ourselves with six hours to wait, at an airport where we were not scheduled to be, on a day we had not planned still to be traveling, having woken up that morning at a hotel unknown to us the night before. It was one of those days.

As we waited at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, Gay and I took a walk to people watch. We went from one end of the terminal to the other and back, looking at every gate, every destination, every group of people waiting for their flights.

Each gate was its own island of humanity. When we walked down the center of the concourse, we were in New York, moving along with everyone in one river. But when you veered off into those seats, you left that current and landed on an island. You were already in Delhi or Paris or Tel Aviv.

As we started our walk, I thought: "All these different people, all these different countries, all in one place. This is like Rotary!" But as we walked past gate after gate, I realized something. It was not like Rotary at all. Because everyone in that river was heading for an island. And every island stayed an island. The people heading to Taipei might be talking to one another, but they were not talking to the people heading to Cairo or Lagos.

Contrast that with Rotary. Rotary allows us to connect with one another, in deep and meaningful ways, across our differences. It connects us with people we would never otherwise have met, who are more like us than we ever could have known. It connects us with our communities, to professional opportunities, and to the people who need our help.

Connection is what makes the experience of Rotary so very different from walking along that concourse at JFK Airport. In Rotary, none of us is an island. All of us are in Rotary together, whoever we are, wherever we are from, whatever language we speak or traditions we follow. We are all connected to one another — part of our communities and members not only of our clubs, but also of the global community to which we all belong.

This connection is what lies at the heart of the Rotary experience. It is what brings us to Rotary. It is why we stay. Please join your fellow Rotarians on this journey as Rotary Connects the World.

RI President July Message 2019-07-29 05:00:00Z 0
Drive Out Illiteracy Fundraiser 2019-06-23 05:00:00Z 0

Meet Mark D. Maloney, 2019-20 RI President

Mark Daniel Maloney

President 2019-20

Rotary Club of Decatur

Alabama, USA

Mark Daniel Maloney is a principal in the law firm of Blackburn, Maloney, and Schuppert LLC, with a focus on taxation, estate planning, and agricultural law. He represents large farming operations in the Southeastern and Midwestern United States, and has chaired the American Bar Association’s Committee on Agriculture in the section of taxation. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Alabama State Bar Association, and the Alabama Law Institute.

He has been active in Decatur’s religious community, chairing his church’s finance council and a local Catholic school board. He has also served as president of the Community Foundation of Greater Decatur, chair of Morgan County Meals on Wheels, and director of the United Way of Morgan County and the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce.

A Rotarian since 1980, Maloney has served as an RI director; Foundation trustee and vice chair; and aide to 2003-04 RI President Jonathan Majiyagbe. He also has participated in the Council on Legislation as chair, vice chair, parliamentarian, and trainer. He was an adviser to the 2004 Osaka Convention Committee and chaired the 2014 Sydney Convention Committee.

Prior to serving as a district governor, Maloney led a Group Study Exchange to Nigeria.

He also served as Future Vision Committee vice chair; regional Rotary Foundation coordinator; Foundation training institute moderator; Foundation permanent fund national adviser; member of the Peace Centers Committee; and adviser to the Foundation’s Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Schools Target Challenge Committee.

Meet Mark D. Maloney, 2019-20 RI President 2019-06-23 05:00:00Z 0

RI President June Message

As I look back on all the things I have seen and the people I have met since becoming president of Rotary International last July, I am certain of this: Rotary’s capacity to transform lives for the better is unparalleled. Our impact is far beyond anything I could have imagined when I first became a Rotarian.

I think about the Rotarians I met in Pakistan, who partnered with Coca-Cola to improve sanitation in Karachi’s neighborhoods while supporting polio eradication efforts. I think about the Puerto Rican Rotarians who are helping entire communities rebuild their lives after Hurricane Maria. I think about the German Rotaractors who are working to save bees — whose role as pollinators is so important to our planet — from extinction. I think about the six Rotarians and Rotaractors who were honored as People of Action: Young Innovators at Rotary Day at the United Nations in Nairobi, Kenya, in November for their work to create novel solutions to tough challenges.

It seems like only yesterday that I stood on a stage in San Diego and asked you to Be the Inspiration in your clubs, in your communities, and in the world. Your response was an inspiration to me. You are paving the way for Rotaractors to become our future leaders, helping start new Rotaract clubs and working to include Rotaractors in Rotary events and projects in your communities. You are working hard to eradicate polio, participating in 4,200 events in more than 100 countries for World Polio Day. And you are carrying out transformative projects that will create lasting change in your communities and in the world.

This year, I also saw how Rotary’s work to build peace is bearing fruit. The 98 Rotary Peace Fellows who are studying at our peace centers will soon graduate, joining more than 1,200 others in applying their conflict resolution skills to problems that need solutions. And this month, Esther and I will travel to Hamburg, Germany, for a convention where people of all races, nationalities, religions, and political backgrounds will unite because they want to make the lives of all people better.

Seeing what Rotary means to people — to the communities we serve and to Rotarians themselves — has deepened my affection and admiration for all that Rotary is and does.

Soon it will be time for Esther and me to return home to Nassau. When we get there, I will look out on the vast sea that surrounds our island, and it will remind me of Rotary’s limitless possibilities, and of the amazing future that awaits us beyond the horizon. I look forward to sailing there with you.

RI President June Message 2019-06-23 05:00:00Z 0

OKC Sunrise Teams Up With Possibilities...In The Groove

Get your tickets today! Only $78/couple or $45/single

June 13, 2019, 7 pm - 10 pm

Will Rogers Theatre Special Event Venue 
4322 N Western Ave 
Oklahoma City OK, 73118

Brush up on your Travolta and groove the night away to hits from the 70's, 80's and beyond. Dust off those platforms & dress from your favorite era to win the costume contest, shop the silent auction, try your luck with the wine and craft beer pull and raffle and more. In the Groove is a great date night, night out with friends, or come yourself and leave with new friends. 

Join us for the 5th annual In the Groove Fundraising Disco Bash, in partnership with the OKC Sunrise Rotary. Possibilities' mission is about connecting people so they can change our community for the better, and great minds think alike. We couldn't be more proud of our new partnership with the OKC Sunrise Rotary.

Don't wait - get your tickets today! Share your groove with #getyourgrooveon

OKC Sunrise Teams Up With Possibilities...In The Groove 2019-05-03 05:00:00Z 0
Rotary...People of Action 2019-05-01 05:00:00Z 0

Council elevates Rotaract

Representatives at the 2019 Council on Legislation in Chicago vote on the first proposal of the week: an amendment to the preamble to the Avenues of Service. Download a list of preliminary voting results.

Among the most important, the Council elevated the status of Rotaract clubs.  The change broadens the definition of membership in Rotary International to include Rotaract clubs. The change is intended to increase the support that Rotaract clubs receive from RI and to enhance their ability to serve.

“We need to be an inspiration to our young partners, so they will continue doing the great service that they do,” said RI President Barry Rassin when he presented the measure. “This sends a strong message that they are truly our partners in service.”

In many ways, the Rotaract experience will not change. Rotary clubs will still charter and sponsor Rotaract clubs. Rotaract clubs will still have their own standard constitution and their own unique club experience. Members of a Rotaract club will not be called Rotarians. And Rotaract clubs will not immediately pay dues or receive other benefits, such as the official magazine that Rotary members receive. The Board will determine a dues structure over time.
The measure simply expands the definition of membership in Rotary International to include both Rotary and Rotaract clubs. 
Every three years, representatives from Rotary districts around the world meet in Chicago, Illinois, USA, to consider changes to the constitutional documents that govern Rotary International. This year’s Council considered more than 100 proposals.
Council elevates Rotaract 2019-05-01 05:00:00Z 0

Fathers turn pain into healing solutions

Rotary members destigmatize opioid recovery



Fathers turn pain into healing solutions 2019-05-01 05:00:00Z 0

RI President May Message

The people who know me best — my family — know that my passion for Rotary is boundless. They also know that I don't expect them to get involved in Rotary the way I have. It's a choice that's up to them. But I must admit, I can't help smiling when I see them making the right choice.

At the end of the Toronto convention last year, my 12-year-old granddaughter turned to me and said, "I'm inspired to do something. What can I do?" Naturally, I did what any other Rotarian grandfather worth his salt would do: I asked her if there was an Interact club in her school. When she discovered there wasn't, she attempted to set one up. Unfortunately, her principal had other ideas, but we should not be deterred from helping Rotary youth programs whenever we can, because their value is beyond question.

Take Rotary Youth Leadership Awards as one example. It transforms young people into more confident, focused individuals with a better understanding of the world around them — changes I was pleased to see in my 16-year-old grandson after he participated.

My family is just the beginning. Everywhere I go, I meet people of all ages whose lives have been changed by our youth programs. They tell me how, five or 15 or 25 years ago, Rotary Youth Exchange taught them a new language or introduced them to a new culture. Their eyes light up when they talk about how New Generations Service Exchange helped them advance in their career, or about how membership in Rotaract first ignited their passion for giving back to the community.

Rotary's programs for young leaders extend our ideals of service, friendship, and leadership development beyond the doors of our clubs to hundreds of thousands of young people each year. And when we serve with and for those young people — as sponsors, project partners, and mentors — it brings out the best in us, and it brings out the best in Rotary.

May is Youth Service Month, and there are many ways your Rotary club can celebrate. Sponsor an Interact club or Rotaract club, and your Rotary club will give young people in your community the tools they need to take action, become leaders, and gain a global perspective. Team up with your local Rotaract club for a service project. Get to know the participants in Rotary's programs for young leaders and share their stories with your community. You'll find more ideas in this year's Rotary Citation brochure, located under the Awards section of the Member Center at my.rotary.org.

This month, let's Be the Inspiration to the young leaders in our communities by mentoring them, engaging them, and working side by side with them on meaningful projects. It's an investment in their future and in the world they will live in after we're gone. And it's work that will forever enrich their lives, and our own.

RI President May Message 2019-05-01 05:00:00Z 0

Polio World Immunization Week...April 24-30

Rotary members know that #VaccinesWork. We’ve contributed $1.9 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect more than 2.5 billion children from polio. Show your support by taking action during World Immunization Week:
  • Download Rotary's toolkit for sample social media posts and graphics.
  • Color your pinkie finger purple and post a picture on social media with the hashtags #EndPolio and #VaccinesWork.
Donate to End Polio Now and your contribution will be tripled, thanks to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Meet 5 Rotary women who are leading the fight to end polio:
Polio World Immunization Week...April 24-30 2019-04-19 05:00:00Z 0

RI President April Message

Every two minutes, somewhere in the world, a woman dies from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. And babies whose mothers die within the first six weeks of their lives are far more likely to die themselves than babies whose mothers survive. As I've traveled around the world as president of Rotary, I've met families for whom these aren't simply tragic statistics. But I've also met people who are devoting themselves to helping mothers and children — and because of them, I'm hopeful. And because many of those people are Rotarians, I'm also proud. April is Maternal and Child Health Month in Rotary, so it's a perfect time to tell you about some things Rotarians are doing that will make you proud too.

Last fall, I paid a visit to a hospital in the town of Jekabpils, in Latvia. It's a modern hospital, and the doctors and nurses there are caring, dedicated, and skilled. But despite all their hard work, the maternal mortality rate at the hospital had remained stubbornly high, due to a factor that was beyond their control: a lack of vital diagnostic equipment and even basic items like incubators.

And that's where Rotary came in. Twenty-one clubs from around the world joined forces for a global grant that provided what the hospital required. And in September, when I walked into the maternity ward there, I saw state-of-the-art equipment, and I met patients who were getting the care that they needed — and that every mother and child in the world deserves to have.

In Brazil, club members worked with fellow Rotarians in Japan on a global grant project that dramatically increased the capacity of an overstretched neonatal intensive care unit. New incubators, monitors, and other equipment have enabled the local hospital to save many more babies' lives each year.

And in Mongolia, a vocational training team from New Zealand organized instruction in emergency response techniques for doctors and midwives, set up a program that taught midwives modern best practices, and researched and wrote a culturally relevant childbirth education manual. Between 2013, when the team first went to Mongolia, and 2017, the neonatal mortality rate in the country fell from 11.2 to 9.1 per 1,000 births, and the maternal mortality rate has decreased as well.

That's what I mean when I talk about transformational service, and it's what Rotarians do best. Because of our networks, which span the globe; our community presence, which allows us to see what's most needed; and our expertise, which encompasses countless skills and professions, we're able to serve in a manner that has no equal. And we're able to Be the Inspiration as we help those who need us most.

RI President April Message 2019-04-04 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary Weekend Getaway!

Get whisked away to a relaxing Rotary Weekend Getaway to the elegant Artesian Hotel!  Bring your family and friends to this year's District Conference.  

Friday, May 3

Kick off with a service project at a local school before a happy hour leading into a Special Dinner to Honor Outstanding Rotarians with special guest, Rotary International President Rep Patrick Eakes.  Enjoy a night-cap in the Rotary House of Friendship and explore fellow Rotary club's successful fundraisers, service projects, membership innovations, and more! KidsCon will run from 5:30 - 10 pm which includes dinner and supervised kid-focused activities.

Saturday, May 4

Rise and shine to a Past District Governor celebration breakfast before jumping into dynamic break-out sessions for Rotarians and KidsCon before a special All Club Luncheon featuring Dr. "Bowtie" Todd Jenkins who will knock your socks off!  

After lunch, you're on your own for the afternoon to enjoy local gems like the Rusty Nail Winery, Bedre Chocolate Factory, Chickasaw National Recreation Area, Sole'renity Spa, natural springs, Okie Twister and other shoppes, local art galleries, Arbuckle Fried Pies, Turner Falls, and more. . .  Groups & guides will lead the way!

We'll gather back together for a lively Kentucky Derby Party, including entertainment, design your own hat/fascinator/bowtie, delicious food and libations, and more!  KidsCon will run until 10 pm to allow you to enjoy the festivities and shenanigans.

Reserve your hotel room now at our Conference Hotel, the Artesian, where you can enjoy the ultimate getaway for you and your family.  Call 580-622-8110; code is ROTARY.  Rooms in this boutique hotel will go fast!  Other accommodations available nearby, including but not limited to Echo Canyon Resort and Super8.

To help us create the ultimate weekend getaway experience, please take our quick interest survey: Click here to take the interest survey.  

As always, Rotarians are FREE of charge; registration fees will apply to guests, Interact/Rotaract, and kids.  Registration details coming soon!  Also corporate sponsorships available.

I hope to see you at these wonderful events and encourage you to invite your family and friends!

Jessica Sherrill
District Governor 2018-19

Rotary Weekend Getaway! 2019-04-04 05:00:00Z 0

RI President March Message

One of the things I appreciate most about serving as president of Rotary International is the people I get to meet. Much of my time is spent traveling and visiting Rotary clubs around the world. A Rotarian welcome is something quite special. But let me tell you, there's nothing so warm as the welcomes that have been rolled out for me by Rotaractors. These are young people who are committed to Rotary ideals, who are pouring their hearts into service, and who, in the process, don't forget to have fun.

One of the highlights of my recent travels was a trip to Ghana, where I visited a district that boasts some 60 Rotaract clubs. They aren't satisfied with that number, though — in fact, they're excited about a plan to double it. They'll do it, too.

Rotaractors are vaccinating children against polio. They're donating blood where the supply is dangerously low. They're providing handwashing facilities to schools where children previously had no way to get clean. In short, they're all about transformational service: carrying out projects that make a real difference in their communities.

In Nakivale, Uganda, one special Rotaract club is making a difference in its community — which happens to be a refugee settlement. These young leaders are turning what others might see as disadvantages into opportunities for service, building community and opening up new possibilities to those who are most in need of them.

In Turkey, Rotaractors are visiting children in the hospital every Wednesday to lift their spirits by playing games with them. They also are mentoring new students at their university and teaching them leadership skills.

Rotaractors are blazing the path for Rotary to be more relevant in this new century of service. And World Rotaract Week, which we're celebrating 11-17 March, is the perfect opportunity to get to know your local Rotaractors and talk to them about how your clubs can work together. If your Rotary club doesn't already sponsor a Rotaract club, know that you don't need to be near a college or university to do it: Community-based Rotaract clubs are a great option. And remember that Rotaractors are part of the Rotary family.

When Rotaractors are ready to leave their Rotaract club, we don't want them to leave that Rotary family behind. I'm asking all Rotarians to help them make the transition into a Rotary club or to start a new one: I'm happy to charter as many new clubs as we need to give everyone a place where they feel at home while making the world a little better. Service should be fun, it should be inspirational, and it should be open to all.

If there's one thing Rotary has always excelled at, it's diversity. In the past, that often meant diversity of profession, nationality, and outlook. We've made great strides when it comes to diversity of age and gender, and as we welcome more Rotaractors into our organization, we'll become even stronger.

Rotary is powerful. Together with Rotaract, it is unstoppable. Working side by side, we have the potential to Be the Inspiration in every part of society, to every person we meet.

RI President March Message 2019-03-15 05:00:00Z 0

Night of Dreams

 Chase Parsons is inviting you to the Big Event for the OKC Dream Center, Night of Dreams. This evening is an amazing night of celebrating another year of transformed lives and dreams coming true through Dream Center programs. Chase has a table reserved and is asking some of the club members to join him. Please email Chase at chase@dcokc.org with your RSVP. 
Night of Dreams 2019-03-15 05:00:00Z 0

Roosevelt Middle School Starts Interact!

Roosevelt Middle School, part of Oklahoma City Public Schools formed the District’s newest Interact Club recently. The Interact club is sponsored by OKC Sunrise Rotary and one of Sunrise’s own members, Felix Linden will be the faculty sponsor.
Marty Postic, PDG and current Interact Chair presented the charter to the school during the Induction Ceremony in late January. “We are excited to have over 100 more students join Interact; and we look forward to working with the Roosevelt school” said Mr. Postic. Other members from OKC Sunrise were in attendance and spent time with the students. Present were Club President, Gareth Williams, President Elect, Margie Bone, John Baker, Jim Browning, Bob Frakes, Felix Linden, and District Governor Elect, Lance Singleton.
Also, on hand were the Co-Presidents of the Classen School of Advanced Studies Interact club. Both Don Nguyen and Chau Phan shared their experience as an Interactor and participation with the OKC Sunrise Rotary on several service projects. Gaining leadership skills and learning from Rotarians has been a very rewarding experience both stated.
Interact clubs bring together young people ages 12-18 to develop leadership skills while discovering the power of Service Above Self. Interact clubs organize at least two projects every year, one that helps their school or community and one that promotes international understanding. Rotary club sponsors mentor and guide Interactors as they carry out projects and develop leadership skills.
Currently, there are 468,556 Interactors in 20,372 clubs throughout 159 countries.
Roosevelt Middle School Starts Interact! 2019-03-04 06:00:00Z 0

Virus Hunter...End Polio Now

Female surveillance officer for WHO pushes through gender-related obstacles to help end polio in Pakistan


Dr. Ujala Nayyar dreams, both figuratively and literally, about a world that is free from polio. Nayyar, the World Health Organization's surveillance officer in Pakistan’s Punjab province, says she often imagines the outcome of her work in her sleep.

In her waking life, she leads a team of health workers who crisscross Punjab to hunt down every potential incidence of poliovirus, testing sewage and investigating any reports of paralysis that might be polio. Pakistan is one of just two countries that continue to report cases of polio caused by the wild virus. 

Dr. Ujala Nayyar, surveillance officer for WHO, talks about polio eradication efforts in Pakistan. 

In addition to the challenges of polio surveillance, Nayyar faces substantial gender-related barriers that, at times, hinder her team's ability to count cases and take environmental samples. From households to security checkpoints, she encounters resistance from men. But her tactic is to push past the barriers with a balance of sensitivity and assertiveness.  

"I'm not very polite," Nayyar said with a chuckle during an interview at Rotary's World Polio Day last year in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. "We don't have time to be stopped. Ending polio is urgent and time-sensitive."

Virus Hunter...End Polio Now 2019-02-20 06:00:00Z 0

2019-2020 Theme Announced!

RI President-elect Mark Daniel Maloney’s theme for 2019-20, Rotary Connects the World, asks Rotarians to strengthen the many ways that Rotary Connects the World, building the connections that allow talented, thoughtful, and generous people to unite and take meaningful action through Rotary service.

Mark Daniel Maloney is a principal in the law firm of Blackburn, Maloney, and Schuppert LLC, with a focus on taxation, estate planning, and agricultural law. He represents large farming operations in the Southeastern and Midwestern United States, and has chaired the American Bar Association’s Committee on Agriculture in the section of taxation. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Alabama State Bar Association, and the Alabama Law Institute.

He has been active in Decatur’s religious community, chairing his church’s finance council and a local Catholic school board. He has also served as president of the Community Foundation of Greater Decatur, chair of Morgan County Meals on Wheels, and director of the United Way of Morgan County and the Decatur-Morgan County Chamber of Commerce.

A Rotarian since 1980, Maloney has served as an RI director; Foundation trustee and vice chair; and aide to 2003-04 RI President Jonathan Majiyagbe. He also has participated in the Council on Legislation as chair, vice chair, parliamentarian, and trainer. He was an adviser to the 2004 Osaka Convention Committee and chaired the 2014 Sydney Convention Committee.

Prior to serving as a district governor, Maloney led a Group Study Exchange to Nigeria.

He also served as Future Vision Committee vice chair; regional Rotary Foundation coordinator; Foundation training institute moderator; Foundation permanent fund national adviser; member of the Peace Centers Committee; and adviser to the Foundation’s Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Schools Target Challenge Committee.

2019-2020 Theme Announced! 2019-02-20 06:00:00Z 0

RI President February Message

In my travels over the past year, I've visited many strong, vibrant clubs and districts that are transforming their communities. When I attend their meetings, I can feel the energy. When I meet their members, I can see they are people of action. And when I look at their communities, I can recognize the impact of their work.

I've also visited communities with Rotary clubs that were hardly more than social clubs. It shouldn't ever be that way. Fortunately, there's a simple approach that I believe can help revitalize any club.

I'd like to challenge every Rotary club to come up with at least one high-impact service project. Each club already has the potential, the resources, to make it happen. It has the power to change people's lives — completely.

It doesn't take millions of dollars. One of the most transformational projects I've been a part of involved providing a Jeep to a group of midwives in Haiti. We had asked the midwives what we could do for them, and they told us they needed a way to reach expectant mothers in a remote part of the country. We supplied a Jeep, painted it pink, and put the Rotary logo on it. Three years later, we went back to see how they were doing. They were excited by the outcomes: They told us that the mortality rate for mothers and infants in that region had dropped by 50 percent.

That's what I call transformational service.

But Jeeps don't last forever, and after eight years on the road, that vehicle was on its last legs. So we bought a pink Land Cruiser. It's still on the road, allowing the midwives to provide prenatal care to women in that remote region.

What makes a project transformational? It doesn't have to involve a lot of money, but it has to reach people and have a major impact in the community. That is the key, and that is where careful planning and thorough research come in. So do your research. Leverage your resources. Seek partnerships that can increase your impact. And then take action.

Of course, service is only part of what a strong club must offer. It must also have good speakers, provide leadership development, involve Rotaract and Interact, and bring value to its members and reasons to participate in Rotary events.

If your club is transformational and well-organized, everything else will follow. Members will be engaged, and new members will be eager to join you. Fundraising will be easier: People love to give when they see how their money is making a difference and when they know the organization is accountable. Your club will be vibrant, relevant, and alive — and it will Be the Inspiration to those within its ranks as well as to the community it serves.

RI President February Message 2019-02-20 06:00:00Z 0

RI President January Message

Vocational service can be hard to define, but it is easy to describe: It is simply the point where our Rotary lives and our professional lives intersect. When we put our Rotary ideals to work through our work, that is vocational service.

When I returned to the Bahamas after many years working in health care administration abroad, I realized that my country badly needed a modern health care facility. The resources we had at the time were out of date and inadequate, and people who were unable to travel abroad for care often did not receive the care they needed. Without the experience I had gained in the United States, I could have done nothing to change the status quo. But since I did have that experience, I was in a unique position to have an impact. I knew I could turn my professional path to good and make a career out of improving Bahamian health care.

As Rotary became part of my journey, I discovered that the words of Paul Harris that became the basis of Rotary — that shared effort knows no limitations — were also true for my vocation. I could not bring modern health care to the Bahamas alone. But through partnership, both with the doctors who eventually became my partners in Doctors Hospital and with all the dedicated staff members who worked in the hospital over the years, we could change everything. My goal became a shared goal — and then it became reality.

Rotary emphasizes the dignity of every vocation and the worth of every calling. Remember that the four founding members included no doctors or peacemakers — just an attorney, a mining engineer, a coal dealer, and a printer. From the beginning, the diversity of those vocations gave Rotary a special strength. And that diversity is reflected in our classification system, which aims to ensure that each club represents the full range of businesses and professions that serve each community.

Paul Harris put it this way: "Each Rotarian is the connecting link between the idealism of Rotary and his trade or profession." It was true when he said it and should be equally true now. We only spend an hour or two a week at our Rotary meetings, but most of us spend most of our waking time at work. Through Rotary, those hours are also an opportunity for service: a chance to Be the Inspiration to those we work with, those who work for us, and the communities we serve.

RI President January Message 2019-01-09 06:00:00Z 0

RI Convention Early Registration Ends Soon!

Early-registration discount deadline
December 15 is the last day to take advantage of the early-registration discount for the 2019 Rotary Convention in Hamburg. You won't want to miss this chance to capture the moment in Hamburg. This beautiful port city is the perfect setting for our biggest event of the year, where the Rotary spirit fills the air with a level of energy and enthusiasm you can't find anywhere else. If you've already registered, check out these recommendations for places to see while you are in Hamburg, provided by local members of Rotaract clubs.
RI Convention Early Registration Ends Soon! 2018-12-15 06:00:00Z 0
Help Us Eradicate Polio 2018-12-15 06:00:00Z 0

RI President September Message

Imagine if we could take a snapshot capturing all of the work Rotary does on a given day. No one – except Rotarians – would believe that a single organization was capable of accomplishing so much. In that snapshot you would see dedicated volunteers working to eradicate polio, setting up microloans, providing clean water, mentoring youth, and countless other actions.

We can do all this thanks both to our geographic reach and to the fact that our clubs are made up of people who are engaged in their communities. As a part of the community that you serve, you know the needs, you have the connections, and you're able to take immediate action. That's why every Rotary club's membership should reflect the diversity of its community.

We've made great strides in this. In Egypt, Indonesia, and Kenya, Rotary is approaching 50 percent female membership. We're also expanding the age diversity of our clubs. In each of our communities, young professionals are eager to contribute their talents, give back, and learn from mentors. Let's share with them what Rotary is all about. The Engaging Younger Professionals Toolkit at Rotary.org has an action plan to help you reach young leaders and Rotary alumni in your area.

Another resource that can help us better reflect our communities – one that is global like us, is a quarter-million members strong, and already shares our values of service and leadership – is Rotaract. Rotaractors are our partners: Team up with them on projects, ask them to speak at your events, and invite them to join your club. Dedicated Rotaractors worldwide are becoming members of Rotary and even starting new Rotary clubs while still serving as members of Rotaract.

The world needs Rotary, and Rotary needs strong clubs and engaged members in order to do more good. It is our responsibility – yours and mine – to make sure everyone who shows an interest in joining Rotary gets an invitation. Make use of the Membership Leads tool at Rotary.org, which helps people who are interested in joining Rotary connect with a club that's right for them. And let's ensure that every member has a reason to stay. By building strong clubs that engage in meaningful projects and have fun along the way, we provide value to our club members that they cannot find anywhere else.

Let's not keep Rotary's story – the story captured in those snapshots of service – to ourselves. I challenge you to invite leaders of all ages, men and women, who are looking for a way to give back. By doing so, you will Be the Inspiration in your community and help Rotary continue to do good in the world.

RI President September Message 2018-12-15 06:00:00Z 0

RI President October Message

very Thursday morning, I receive an email from the World Health Organization with an update on the status of polio eradication. It contains a wealth of information, country by country: where and how immunization campaigns are being conducted, how many millions of children are being vaccinated, and where environmental surveillance has found evidence of circulating virus. But every week, when that email appears in my inbox, my heart seems to stop for just a moment until I read the first few lines – and learn whether a child was paralyzed by wild poliovirus that week.

That, my friends, is where we are today in the work of polio eradication. The question on my mind as I open that message isn't how many thousands of cases we might see in a year, as we did not too long ago, or even how many hundreds. Instead, when that WHO email arrives every Thursday, the single, binary question it answers is: Was there a new case this week, or wasn't there?

Thirty years ago, 1,000 children were paralyzed by polio every single day. Since then, we've marked our progress, year by year, week by week. We've celebrated as country after country, region after region has been declared polio-free. As we've come closer and closer to our goal, and the number of cases has dropped further and further, the children those numbers reflect have become less and less of an abstraction. When I open that Thursday email, I don't wonder what number I'll see. I wonder, was a child paralyzed this week or not?

We are so close to eradication – but there is so much work left to do.

This month, I ask every Rotary club to help End Polio Now by marking World Polio Day on 24 October. Last year, thousands of Rotary clubs around the world held events to raise awareness and funds for polio eradication. This year, we want to see more World Polio Day events registered than ever. If you have an event planned, be sure to register and promote it at endpolio.org so that more people can take part. If you haven't planned one yet, it's not too late – visit endpolio.org to find ideas, information on this year's livestream, and resources to help your club organize a successful event.

World Polio Day is a tremendous opportunity for clubs to highlight Rotary, and our historic work to eradicate polio, in their own communities. It is also a great way to take advantage of the challenge from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: For every dollar that Rotary raises for polio eradication, the Gates Foundation will give two more. Join me, and Rotarians everywhere, on 24 October for World Polio Day – and Be the Inspiration for a polio-free world.

RI President October Message 2018-12-15 06:00:00Z 0

RI President November Message

One early June, more than 30 years ago, I had a business trip scheduled to Las Vegas. I had been a Rotarian for about six years, and I thought of myself as an active member: I attended every meeting, I’d served as club secretary, I knew everyone in my club. But for me, Rotary was very much a community organization. It connected me to Nassau and perhaps even to the Bahamas — but no farther. 

I had never given much thought to Rotary beyond the Bahamas, and it had never crossed my mind to travel to a Rotary convention. But that spring, I realized that my trip to Las Vegas would coincide with the Rotary International Convention and thought, why not? I sent in my registration and paid my fees, never suspecting that the experience would change my life.

When I walked through the doors of that convention, I was stunned. It was one thing to know that I was part of a global organization with over a million members around the world. It was something else altogether to stand there in the middle of it. I went to every general session, looked in at every booth at the House of Friendship, and learned about projects that I hadn’t even known you could do in Rotary. That convention didn’t just open my eyes. It opened my mind. It inspired me to completely change the way I saw Rotary, what Rotary could do for me, and what I could do through Rotary. That inspiration has stayed with me ever since — and is renewed every year, at every Rotary convention.

In June 2019, Rotarians from all over the world will converge in Hamburg to Capture the Moment at the 110th Rotary International Convention. Many, like me, will have been coming to conventions for years; many others will be coming for the first time. Whether they’re looking to connect with old friends, to find inspiration for a new Rotary year, or simply to see what Rotary is all about, each of them will find their own moment in Hamburg.

Hamburg is a port city that connects Germany to the world and that has been an economic and cultural hub for centuries. It’s a wonderful place to visit — to stroll the shores of the city’s lake, take a boat trip on the Elbe River, dine out, hear great music, and explore fascinating museums. It’s also the ideal place to kick off a European vacation.

If you’re a regular convention goer, you absolutely won’t want to miss out on the friendship and inspiration you’ll find in Hamburg. And if you’ve never been to a convention, please consider this my personal invitation. Register at riconvention.org by 15 December for the best rate — and let this convention Be the Inspiration for your Rotary journey.

RI President November Message 2018-12-15 06:00:00Z 0

RI President December Message

It's traditional that the first Rotarian magazine of the Rotary year carries a profile of the incoming RI president and his or her family. I've always read those profiles with interest, never giving much thought to the possibility that one day, I might be the one bringing a writer from the magazine to my Rotary club meeting! I have never liked a lot of attention, and the idea of having my picture on the magazine cover made me a bit uncomfortable. But when I saw the photo the editors chose, I smiled. Because the star of that picture definitely isn't me, or even my wife, Esther. It's the flock of flamingos, none of which could care less about Rotary, all strutting past us in the same direction. All of them — except one.

I couldn't think of a more appropriate image to reflect the message I want to convey to Rotarians. That one flamingo, going the other way, represents so much of what we need to do in Rotary. That flamingo knows everyone's going one way. She sees it. But she also sees that maybe the path they're on isn't the best path. Maybe, just maybe, there's a better path over there, and she wants to get a good look before she goes marching on with her friends. And if, when she does stop and look, that new path does seem better, she'll call the rest of the crew to come over and check it out with her. And maybe, just maybe, they'll all choose that better path together.

Change is hard. And the longer we've been going one way, the more friends we have with us, the harder it is to be the one who turns around and does it differently. But change — not change for its own sake, but careful, considered, goal-directed change — is essential for any organization that wants to evolve, stay relevant, and move forward in the right direction.

So take a look at that picture, but don't look at me. I'm not the one that cover's about. That cover is about the flamingo. It's about having the curiosity, the courage, and the conviction to look at different paths that might be better — whether you're out for a stroll on a beautiful Bahamas morning, or helping chart the course for our organization.

RI President December Message 2018-12-15 06:00:00Z 0

Rotary announces US $96.5 million to end polio


EVANSTON, Ill. (August 15, 2018) — Rotary today announced nearly $100 million in grants to support the global effort to end polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that once paralyzed hundreds of thousands of children each year. 

The announcement comes as Nigeria marks two years without any reported cases of wild poliovirus, following four reported cases in 2016.

“The fact that no new cases of wild poliovirus have been detected in Nigeria points to the improved surveillance and rapid response protocols Rotary and its Global Polio Eradication Initiative partners have established, particularly in insecure and inaccessible areas,” said Michael K. McGovern, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee. “While this progress is promising, it’s time to redouble our efforts so we can continue to maintain the political and financial support necessary to end polio for good.”

Rotary announces US $96.5 million to end polio 2018-08-20 05:00:00Z 0

How we set up a Rotaract club in a refugee settlement


By Francis Xavier Sentamu, District 9211 (Uganda) governor-elect

When I first saw a story on BBC in the spring of 2016 about the Nakivale Refugee settlement, I didn’t give it much thought. It was distant to me. Somewhat coincidentally, I attended a “changemaker” event that November organized by the American Refugee Committee, where 13 youth from the Nakivale Refugee settlement were being honored for their project ideas to impact the refugee community.

Sam Owori (who passed away in July of 2017), was at the event as RI president-nominee and was so impressed by the enthusiasm and determination of these youth that he got the idea right at that moment of organizing them into a Rotaract club.

Together with Angela Eifert from the Rotary Club of Roseville, Minnesota, and staff at the American Refugee Committee, we took on the challenge. Both Angela and I began our Rotary journey as Rotaractors. And I saw the opportunity to impact and mentor youth who are critically in need.

I was even more encouraged by the zeal I saw in them. I must say, it was exciting to see young people who refused to be held back by their status as a refugee, but were determined to change their lives and serve their community.

How we set up a Rotaract club in a refugee settlement 2018-08-20 05:00:00Z 0

A princess, 3 prime ministers, and a former first lady join 25,000 in Toronto to celebrate Rotary’s good work and plan more of it

Toronto, the Capital of Nice, opened its arms this week to welcome 25,188 Rotarians from around the world, who came to Rotary’s annual convention looking for inspiration — and finding it.
Whether it was by seeing old friends in the hallways, making new connections in the House of Friendship, or listening to eloquent speakers at general sessions, attendees found plenty at the 109th Rotary International Convention to remind them of the fellowship that binds them and the diversity that Rotary embodies.
“Now, we are sisters forever,” said Rhonda Panczyk, of the Rotary Club of Rochester, Michigan, USA, after spotting and embracing Ijeoma Pearl Okoro, past governor of District 9141 (Nigeria). The two women had met at the West African Project Fair last year, partnered on an immunization drive, and kept in touch on Facebook.
First-time convention goer Serge Sourou OGA from Ghana said that meeting people from all over the world was definitely the highlight of the convention for him.
A princess, 3 prime ministers, and a former first lady join 25,000 in Toronto to celebrate Rotary’s good work and plan more of it 2018-07-07 05:00:00Z 0

RI President July Message

One year ago, your Rotary International Board of Directors adopted a new vision statement, reflecting our aspirations for our organization and its future. It reads, “Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.”

That simple sentence distills so much of what is essential about Rotary. We unite, because we know that we are far stronger together than we could ever be alone. We take action, because we are not dreamers, but doers. We work to create lasting change that will endure long after our involvement has ended – across the globe and in our communities. And perhaps most important of all, we work to create change in ourselves – not just building a better world around us, but becoming better people ourselves.

A quotation attributed to French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry goes: “If you want to build a boat, don’t begin by collecting wood, cutting boards, or assigning tasks. Begin by awakening in the souls of your workers a longing for the vast and boundless sea.” Each of us came to Rotary because we had a longing – to have an impact, to make a difference, to be part of something larger than ourselves. That desire, that vision for a better world and our role in building it, is what drives us in Rotary. It’s what made us become members, it’s what motivates us to serve, and it’s what led me to choose our theme for this Rotary year: Be the Inspiration.

RI President July Message 2018-07-07 05:00:00Z 0

Be The Inspiration 2018-19

Since Rotary was founded 113 years ago, its role in the world and in the lives of its members has been in a state of continuous evolution. In its earliest days, Rotary offered its members a way to find fellowship and friendship and to build connections within their communities. Soon after, service found a place in Rotary, and as our organization expanded, so did its influence. In time, Rotary’s service, supported by our Rotary Foundation, would change the lives of families and communities across the world. We formed partnerships and focused our service to increase our impact. We launched the world’s largest public-private health initiative, partnering with...
governments, international organizations, and countless local and regional health agencies to eradicate polio. More and more, our members came to us seeking not just friendship but a way to take action for good.
Be The Inspiration 2018-19 2018-07-07 05:00:00Z 0
Rotary News Network for June 2018-06-13 05:00:00Z 0
District 5750 May RNN 2018-05-19 05:00:00Z 0

RI President May Message

Rotary is a massive, and massively complex, organization. As this issue of The Rotarian goes to press, we have 1.2 million members in 35,633 clubs in nearly every country of the world. Hundreds of thousands of participants are involved in Rotary programs such as Rotaract, Interact, Youth Exchange, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, Rotary Community Corps, Rotary Peace Centers, and a host of local and Foundation-supported projects and programs at the national, district, and local levels. The name of Rotary is attached to countless projects every year, from blood banks to food banks, school sanitation to polio eradication. One hundred thirteen years after the first Rotary club was founded, Rotary service reaches literally around the globe.

What that service looks like on a daily and weekly basis can vary enormously by region, country, and club. Each club has its own history, priorities, and identity. It follows that the identity of Rotarians, and the purpose each Rotarian sees in his or her service, similarly has a great deal of variation. There's nothing wrong with that, as Rotary is by design a decentralized organization, intended to enable each Rotarian and each Rotary club to serve in the ways that suit them best.

Yet the diversity that makes us so strong can also pose challenges to our identity as an organization. It is no surprise that many people who have heard of Rotary still have little idea of what Rotary does, how we are organized, or why we exist at all. Even within Rotary, many members have an incomplete understanding of our larger organization, our goals, or the scope and breadth of our programs. These challenges have significant implications, not only for our ability to serve most effectively, but also for the public image that is so essential to our ability to build our membership, partnerships, and service.

Several years ago, Rotary launched a serious effort across the organization to address these issues, developing tools to strengthen our visual and brand identity. Today, we are using those tools to develop our People of Action public image campaign, which showcases the ability that Rotary grants each of us to make a difference in our communities and beyond. Last June, your Rotary International Board of Directors voted to adopt a new vision statement, reflecting our identity and the single purpose that unites the diversity of our work.

Together, we see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

Wherever we live, whatever language we speak, whatever work our clubs are involved in, our vision is the same. We all see a world that could be better and that we can help to make better. We are here because Rotary gives us the opportunity to build the world we want to see – to unite and take action through Rotary: Making a Difference.

RI President May Message 2018-05-19 05:00:00Z 0
Join Us at Topgolf! 2018-04-26 05:00:00Z 0
District News for April 2018-04-11 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary to host last event in peace series

Rotary International and the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy are conducting the last installment of the series: “Sustaining the Long Peace” on 10 April at Rotary’s World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois.

Join us to hear from the next generation of peace builders who are working in communities to address challenges from a record migrant population to increasing unrest with global institutions of governance.

Speakers at the TEDx style event include Abdikheir Ahmed, former Rotary peace fellow and director of Immigration Partnership Winnipeg Program; Susan Stigant, director of African programs at the United States Institute of Peace; Kristen R. Hajduk, adjunct counterterrorism fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies; and Hafsah Lak, deputy team leader, Chief Minister’s Strategic Reforms Unit in Pakistan.

Rotary to host last event in peace series 2018-04-11 05:00:00Z 0

RI President April Message

At the 1990 Rotary International Convention in Portland, Oregon, then President-elect Paulo Costa told the gathered Rotarians, "The hour has come for Rotary to raise its voice, to claim its leadership, and to rouse all Rotarians to an honorable crusade to protect our natural resources." He declared a Rotary initiative to "Preserve Planet Earth," asking Rotarians to make environmental issues part of their service agenda: to plant trees, to work to keep our air and water clean, and to protect the planet for future generations.
President Costa asked that one tree be planted for each of the 1.1 million members that Rotary had at the time. We Rotarians, as is our wont, did better, planting nearly 35 million trees by the end of the Rotary year. Many of those trees are likely still flourishing today, absorbing carbon from the environment, releasing oxygen, cooling the air, improving soil quality, providing habitat and food for birds, animals, and insects, and yielding a host of other benefits. Unfortunately, while those trees have kept on doing good for the environment, Rotary as a whole has not carried its environmental commitment forward.
That is why, at the start of this year, I followed Paulo Costa's example and asked Rotary to plant at least one tree for every Rotary member. My goal was to achieve a good beyond the considerable benefits that those 1.2 million (or more!) trees would themselves bring. It is my hope that by planting trees, Rotarians will renew their interest in, and attention to, an issue that we must put back on the Rotary agenda: the state of our planet.
Environmental issues are deeply entwined in every one of our areas of focus and cannot be dismissed as not Rotary's concern. Pollution is affecting health across the globe: More than 80 percent of people in urban areas breathe unsafe air, a number that rises to 98 percent in low- and middle-income countries. If current trends continue, by 2050 the oceans are expected to contain more plastics by weight than fish. And rising temperatures are well-documented: Global annual average temperatures increased by about 2 degrees F (1.1 degrees C) from 1880 through 2015. That this change was caused by humans is not a subject of scientific debate, nor is the likelihood of vast economic and human disruption if the trend continues unchecked. The need for action is greater than ever – and so is our ability to have a real impact.
As past UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon put it, "There can be no Plan B, because there is no Planet B." Our planet belongs to all of us, and to our children, and to their children. It is for all of us to protect, and for all of us in Rotary to make a difference.
RI President April Message 2018-04-11 05:00:00Z 0

RI President March Message

This month marks 50 years since the first Rotaract club was chartered, in 1968. In this special Rotaract issue, you'll meet some impressive Rotaractors from around the world and see some of the incredible ways they are Making a Difference.
In the half-century since Rotaract began, the world has seen profound changes, and young people have felt the greatest impact of those changes: the rise of technology and the information economy, the spread of education, and the tremendous influence of the internet. When Rotaract was founded, it would have been almost unthinkable for a teen or 20-something to have been an entrepreneur or a CEO. Today, young people have an unprecedented capacity to achieve – and Rotary needs their ideas and enthusiasm as never before.
For many years, Rotary has done Rotaract a disservice by looking at our youth and young adult programs as mere precursors to Rotary membership, and not as valuable and productive programs in their own right. But Rotaractors are truly partners in Rotary service.
Today, an estimated quarter of a million Rotaractors serve in over 10,000 clubs, in nearly every country where Rotary clubs exist. The impact of their service is particularly impressive when contrasted with their resources. Rotaractors achieve an amazing amount with far less money at their disposal than the average Rotary club. Their energy and vision bring something wonderful to our Rotary family and to our communities, and we value it very much.
Yet only 27 percent of Rotary clubs sponsor a Rotaract club, a figure that has remained fairly stable over time. And far too few Rotaractors ultimately do move on to Rotary membership. As we celebrate this anniversary with Rotaract, I encourage all Rotary clubs to consider sponsoring a Rotaract club or to strengthen their ties with the clubs they already sponsor. Schedule regular joint meetings, run joint service projects, and reach out to Rotaractors – not only to ask if you can help, but to find out how you can work together. Know your Rotaract clubs and their members – and make sure that every Rotaractor knows that a Rotary club is waiting to welcome them.
For half a century, Rotaract has given young people a way to find the same connections with their communities, and the same value in service, that Rotarians find in Rotary. Rotaractors are connecting us to the Rotary of our future, while helping us build the Rotary of today.
RI President March Message 2018-04-11 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary Theme 2018-19 Announced

RI President-elect Barry Rassin’s theme for 2018-19, Be the Inspiration, asks Rotarians to inspire change in the world and in each other. “I ask all of you to Be the Inspiration to help Rotary move from reaction to action — to take a hard look at the environmental issues that affect health and welfare around the world and do what we can to help.”

Barry Rassin

President 2018-19

Rotary Club of East Nassau

New Providence, Bahamas

Barry Rassin earned an MBA in health and hospital administration from the University of Florida, and is the first fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives in the Bahamas. He recently retired after 37 years as president of Doctors Hospital Health System and continues as an adviser. He is a lifetime member of the American Hospital Association and has served on several boards, including the Quality Council of the Bahamas, Health Education Council, and Employer’s Confederation.

A Rotarian since 1980, Rassin has served Rotary as director and is vice chair of The Rotary Foundation Board of Trustees. He was an RI training leader and the aide to 2015-16 RI President K.R. Ravindran.

Rassin received Rotary's highest honor, the Service Above Self Award, as well as other humanitarian awards for his work leading Rotary’s relief efforts in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake there. He and his wife, Esther, are Major Donors and Benefactors of The Rotary Foundation.

Rotary Theme 2018-19 Announced 2018-02-07 06:00:00Z 0

RI President February Message

One hundred thirteen years ago this month, the four members of Rotary's first club held their first meeting. Although no minutes were kept, it's unlikely anyone talked about service; the club did not begin focusing on the needs of the community for another few years.

The meeting was held not in a hotel or a restaurant, but in a member's office; there were, so far as we know, no agendas or announcements, no committee reports, speakers, or nametags. The meeting would have failed today's usual standards for a productive Rotary meeting most resoundingly. It was, of course, the most productive Rotary meeting ever held.

Today, as in 1905, many of us come to Rotary seeking what Paul Harris sought: friendship, connections, a place to feel at home. But today, Rotary gives us so much more than it could ever have given its earliest members in those earliest days. The Rotary of today, more than 1.2 million members strong, lets us feel at home not only in a small group of our peers, but also in our diverse clubs, across our communities, and indeed throughout the world. Today, Rotary connects us all in a way that Paul Harris could never have dreamed on that February evening so long ago. Not only can we go anywhere in the world there is a Rotary club and feel at home, but we can reach out to anywhere in the world there is a Rotary club and make a difference.

In the 113 years since that first meeting, Rotary has become far larger, and more diverse, than those founding members could have conceived. We have gone from an organization that was all white and all male to one that welcomes women and men of every possible background. We have become an organization whose stated purpose is service, reflected in our motto, Service Above Self. And we have become not only an organization that is capable of changing the world, but one that has already done so, through our work to eradicate polio.

None of us can know what lies ahead for Rotary. It remains for all of us to continue to build on the solid foundations that were laid for us by Paul Harris and his friends: to forge and strengthen the bonds of service and friendship through Rotary: Making a Difference.

RI President February Message 2018-02-07 06:00:00Z 0

RI President January Message

In Rotary, our diversity is our strength. This idea dates back to the earliest years of our organization, when the classification system was first proposed. The idea behind it was simple: that a club with members who had a wide variety of backgrounds and abilities would be capable of better service than one without.

In the years since, the idea of diversity in Rotary has come to be defined more broadly. We have discovered that a club that truly represents its community is far better able to serve that community effectively. Looking ahead, it is clear how essential diversity will remain in Rotary: not only to strong service today, but to a strong organization in the future.

One of the most pressing aspects of diversity to address in our membership is the age of our members. When you look around at almost any Rotary event, it becomes immediately obvious that the age range in the room does not promise a sustainable future for our organization. Our membership is near a record high, and we are bringing in new members all the time – yet only a small minority of those members are young enough to have decades of Rotary service ahead of them. To ensure a strong and capable Rotary leadership tomorrow, we need to bring in young and capable members today.

We also cannot discuss diversity in Rotary without addressing the issue of gender. It is difficult to imagine that just three decades ago, women could not join Rotary. Although we have come a long way since then, the legacy of that misguided policy is still with us. Far too many people continue to think of Rotary as an organization only for men, and that idea has had a detrimental effect on both our public image and our membership growth. Today, women make up just over 21 percent of Rotary's membership. While this is certainly a great improvement, we have a long way to go to meet what should be the goal of every club: a gender balance that matches the balance of our world, with as many women in Rotary as men.

Whatever brought each of us to Rotary, we stay because we find value in Rotary membership and believe that our service has value to the world. By building clubs that reflect that world in all its diversity, we will build even more enduring value in Rotary: Making a Difference.

RI President January Message 2018-02-07 06:00:00Z 0
January Rotary News Network (RNN) 2018-02-07 06:00:00Z 0
February Rotary News Network (RNN) 2018-02-07 06:00:00Z 0
December Rotary News Network (RNN) 2017-12-01 06:00:00Z 0


Habitat for Humanity and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness join with Rotary to improve lives 

Rotary has added two service partners that offer clubs new ways to collaborate with other organizations and strengthen their projects: Habitat for Humanity and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).
Habitat for Humanity has a long history of working with Rotarians and Rotaractors to build the types of low-cost shelters that now qualify for global grant funding, under a recent Board decision. It’s also a natural fit for Rotary’s approach to vocational service, which encourages members to use their professional skills to help others.
When the Rotary Club of Alpharetta, Georgia, USA, participated in a Habitat home building project in the Atlanta area earlier this year, members showed up ready to work and lend their professional expertise. Randy Schiltz, who owns a construction firm, helped the new homeowners pre-drill holes to prepare for installing siding. Interior decorator Glennette Haynes, who works with people in transitional housing, was there to offer advice on furnishing and decorating their homes.
Habitat for Humanity International Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Reckford is a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta. During the 2017 Rotary International Convention there, volunteers gathered on-site to help construct the wood framing for a home.
Habitat for Humanity and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness join with Rotary to improve lives 2017-11-29 06:00:00Z 0

RI President December Message

Seventy-two years ago, the United Nations was founded "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war ... [and] to practice tolerance and live together in peace with one another as good neighbors." Despite those worthy aspirations, and generations of investment in achieving them, the "scourge of war" is still with us: Last year, more than 102,000 people died in 49 armed conflicts around the world. Some of those conflicts were in their fifth decade or beyond. Terrorism, intolerance, and extremism; the refugee crisis; and environmental degradation are now global challenges.

Collectively, we seem further than ever from achieving the goals that were set with such ambition and optimism in 1945. Yet hope endures, as long as there are people willing to work for a more peaceful future – not only through their governments, but also beside them and beside each other. Today, Rotary is better placed than ever to have a real and lasting impact for peace: through our peace-focused programs, such as Rotary Peace Fellows, and through every area of our service. Water, sanitation, health, education, and economic development are all interrelated and part of the complex interactions that can lead to conflict – or avert it. To best leverage our service in all these areas, and to maximize their impact for peace, it is essential to understand these interactions and plan our service accordingly.

For these reasons, we have scheduled a series of six presidential peacebuilding conferences between February and June in Canada, Lebanon, the UK, Australia, Italy, and the United States. These conferences will focus not on peace but on peacebuilding: We will share ways that we can work to build peace through the service of our Rotary clubs and districts. Five of the one-day conferences will illuminate the connections between peace and another area of focus. The first conference, in Vancouver, B.C., will explore the link between peace and another sphere of great concern to us in Rotary: environmental sustainability. You can view the full schedule and register at .

The goals are simple: to help Rotarians find new ways to advance peace through their service, to learn from experts, and to strengthen our abilities to build peace. It is my hope and belief that these conferences will help us move closer to a more peaceful world, through Rotary: Making a Difference.

RI President December Message 2017-11-29 06:00:00Z 0
2018 District Conference...You'll Be Amazed! 2017-11-29 06:00:00Z 0
District November Rotary News Network 2017-11-08 06:00:00Z 0

RI President November Message

In many ways, The Rotary Foundation is an invisible presence in our clubs. Most of what we do in our clubs and our districts, on a weekly basis, we do without the active involvement of the Foundation. But our Foundation is invisible in our clubs in the same way the foundation of a building is invisible when you're in it: Just because you don't see it doesn't mean it's not holding you up.
The Foundation that enabled Rotary to take on polio is, in many ways, the foundation upon which our Rotary service is built. For 100 years, since it came into existence with a first donation of $26.50, the Foundation has supported and strengthened our service, enabled our ambitions, and allowed us to be the organization that we are. Because of the Foundation, Rotarians know that if we have the ambition and put in the work, very little is truly beyond us.
It is an incredibly effective model that we have here in Rotary, one that no other organization can match. We are completely local and completely global: We have local skills, connections, and knowledge in over 35,000 clubs, in nearly every country of the world. We have a deserved reputation for transparency, effectiveness, and good business practices, and because we are highly skilled professionals as well as volunteers, we achieve a level of efficiency that very few other organizations can approach.
To put it simply, a dollar given to The Rotary Foundation has a great deal more muscle than a dollar given to most charities. If you want to spend a dollar on Doing Good in the World, you can't do better than to spend it with the Foundation. That is not just me speaking out of pride; it is verifiably true and is reflected in our rankings by independent organizations.
In the Foundation's centennial year, Rotarians surpassed our goal of raising $300 million. If you were part of that achievement, you have been part of something tremendous. Somewhere in the world, someplace you have probably never been, people you may never meet will lead better lives because of you. Ultimately, it is our Foundation that lets us make good on our core beliefs: that we can make a difference, that we have an obligation to do so, and that working together, as well and as efficiently as we can, is the only way to effect real and lasting change.
RI President November Message 2017-11-08 06:00:00Z 0
Classen SAS Interact Club - Sponsored by OKC Sunrise Rotary Bob Frakes 2017-10-06 05:00:00Z 0
RNN October Message 2017-10-05 05:00:00Z 0
District 5750 Rotary News Network September 2017 2017-09-28 05:00:00Z 0

RI President October Message

RI President RiseleySome years ago in the Melbourne, Australia, museum where my daughter used to work, an iron lung was on display. For most people my age who remembered the terrifying polio epidemics of the 1950s, that iron lung was a testament to how far vaccination had brought us: to the point where that once-critical piece of medical equipment had literally become a museum piece.

For much of the world, the story of polio is a simple one: After years of fear, a vaccine was developed and a disease was conquered. But for some of the world, the story was different. In so many countries, the vaccine wasn’t available, mass vaccination was too expensive, or children simply couldn’t be reached. While the rest of the world relegated polio to its museums, in these countries, the disease continued to rage – until Rotary stepped forward and said that all children, no matter where they lived or what their circumstances, deserved to live free of polio.

In the years since PolioPlus was launched, the combined efforts of Rotary, the governments of the world, and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative have brought the number of cases of polio down from an estimated 350,000 per year to just a few so far in 2017. But we must reach zero cases, and stay there, to achieve eradication. To do that, we need everyone’s help.

On 24 October, we will mark World Polio Day. It is a day to celebrate how far we have come and an opportunity for all of us to raise awareness and funds to complete the work of eradication.  I ask every Rotary club to participate in some way in World Polio Day activities, and I encourage you to visit for ideas and to register your event. Whether you host a silent auction, a virtual reality viewing, a fundraising walk, or a Purple Pinkie Day, your club can make a real difference.

This year, our World Polio Day livestream event will take place at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters in Seattle; you can watch it on beginning at 2:30 p.m. Pacific time. As many of you know, Rotary has committed to raising $50 million a year for the next three years. This amount will be matched 2-to-1 by the Gates Foundation – effectively tripling the value of all money Rotary raises on World Polio Day and throughout the year. Let’s all make a difference on World Polio Day – and help End Polio Now.

RI President October Message 2017-09-28 05:00:00Z 0

RI President September Message

One of the best parts of any Rotary convention is the sheer diversity of the people you see there. Whether you're heading into a breakout session, exploring the House of Friendship, or sitting down for a bite to eat, you'll meet people from every corner of the world, in all kinds of national attire, speaking just about every language. It's a lot of fun, and it's a big part of what makes Rotary great: that we can be so different and still find ourselves so at home together.

That spirit of warm community that is so central to Rotary also defines Toronto, our host city for the 2018 Rotary International Convention. Toronto is one of my favorite cities. It's a place where half the population is from another country, where over 140 languages are spoken by 2.8 million residents, and where no one ever seems to be too busy to be helpful. In addition to being clean, safe, and friendly, Toronto is a wonderful place to visit, with its attractive Lake Ontario waterfront, great restaurants, one-of-a-kind museums, and interesting neighborhoods to explore.

The 2018 convention already promises to be one of our best ever. Our Convention Committee and Host Organization Committee are hard at work lining up inspiring speakers, great entertainment, fascinating breakout sessions, and a wide variety of activities across the city. There will be something for everyone in Toronto, and Juliet and I encourage you to do what we'll be doing – bring your families along for the fun. If you plan early, your convention experience will be even more affordable: The deadline for discounted early registration (there is an additional discount for registering online) is 15 December.

As much as Toronto offers to Rotarians, the true draw is, of course, the convention itself. It's a once-a-year opportunity to recharge your Rotary batteries, to see what the rest of the Rotary world is up to, and to find inspiration for the year ahead. Find out more at – and find Inspiration Around Every Corner at the 2018 Rotary Convention in Toronto.

RI President September Message 2017-09-06 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary...People of Action

Rotary is where neighbors, friends, and problem-solvers share ideas, join leaders, and take action to create lasting change.
Rotary...People of Action 2017-08-22 05:00:00Z 0

RI President August Message

When someone asks you, "What is Rotary?" what do you say? I think we've all had the experience of being asked that deceptively simple question and finding ourselves suddenly at a loss for words. Even the most articulate among us have a hard time capturing the essence of our organization in just a few sentences.

As an organization, Rotary has always had a difficult time conveying the scope of our work: not just what we do, but how we do it, and the value of what we contribute to the world.

As an accountant, I like numbers. They work in every language, and often they communicate complex information much more effectively than words. That is why, in this Rotary year, I am asking each club to provide Rotary headquarters with two numbers: the amount of money, both in cash and in kind, spent on humanitarian service; and the number of hours of work performed in Rotary's name.

If we want these numbers to be useful, they have to be accurate. That means beginning now to accurately track the hours and the money that our clubs spend on their service.

The simplest way for clubs to provide this information at the end of the year will be by entering it every month on Rotary Club Central – a tool that has been completely rebuilt and relaunched to be significantly more useful, and user-friendly, than it has been in the past. If for some reason (for example, limited internet access) your club is not able to connect to Rotary Club Central, please be in touch with your district governor, who will ensure that your information can be submitted through other means.

I cannot emphasize strongly enough that the goal of this effort is not getting the largest and most impressive numbers. There is not going to be any competition, recognition, or public use whatsoever of the numbers reported by any individual club. The goal is accurate and reliable numbers that we can present confidently in our public image work, in our membership materials, and to our partners – numbers backed by specific data, on the club level, that answer not only the question, "What is Rotary?" but the question, "What does Rotary do?"

I strongly believe that with these numbers, we will be better able to demonstrate the value of Rotary: Making a Difference – which in time will enable us to make more of a difference, for more people, in more ways, than ever.

RI President August Message 2017-08-07 05:00:00Z 0
Rotary News Network - August Edition 2017-07-31 05:00:00Z 0

Service Project: School Uniforms

OKC Sunrise teamed up with other organizations to help the OKC Dream Center Back 2 School Splash on July 8. The club provided over 200 school uniforms, prepared backpacks and helped with eye testing. Big thanks to Rotary District 5750 with a district grant! Super event for the children in the SW OKC area to prepare for school: immunization shots, hearing test, eye test, dental care, backpacks with school supplies, school uniforms and even a haircut! Big thanks for all the hard work: Roxy Butler and her grandsons, Larry & Joyce Hopper, Wylie Briggs II, Bob Frakes, Lance Singleton, Laura Singleton and Jeff Gabelsberg. For more pictures, click here.

Service Project: School Uniforms 2017-07-19 05:00:00Z 0

Positive Tomorrows - NBC Report

Positive Tomorrows is a private, non-profit organization that provides school to homeless students in the greater Oklahoma City area. OKC Sunrise is proud to work with the school; and recently NBC Nightly News ran a story on the school.
Positive Tomorrows - NBC Report 2017-07-19 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary President-elect Sam F. Owori dies

Rotary International President-elect Sam F. Owori died unexpectedly on 13 July due to complications from surgery. Sam was a member of the Rotary Club Kampala, Uganda, for 38 years.

“Rotary has become a way of life for me – with the intrinsic value and core belief in mutual responsibility and concern for one another as a cornerstone,” Sam said when he was nominated last year. “I feel immense satisfaction knowing that through Rotary, I’ve helped someone live better.”

Sam's term as Rotary’s 108th president would have begun on 1 July 2018.

“Please remember Sam as the outstanding, hardworking Rotarian he was,” said Rotary International President Ian Riseley. “In this difficult time, I ask you to keep his wife, Norah, the Owori family, and Sam’s millions of friends around the world in your thoughts.”

Under Sam's leadership, the number of clubs in Uganda swelled from nine to 89 over the course of 29 years. 

Sam saw in Rotary members "an incredible passion to make a difference," and wanted to "harness that enthusiasm and pride so that every project becomes the engine of peace and prosperity."

Sam was the chief executive officer of the Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda, whose mission is to promote excellence in corporate governance principles and practice in the region by 2020. Previously, he was executive director of the African Development Bank, managing director of Uganda Commercial Bank Ltd., and director of Uganda Development Bank.  He has also served as corporate secretary of the Central Bank of Uganda.

He served as member and chair of several boards including FAULU (U) Ltd., (now Opportunity Bank), the Uganda Heart Institute, the Centre for African Family Studies, Mulago Hospital Complex, Mukono Theological College, and the Kampala City Council.

Sam also was the vice chair of Hospice Africa Uganda, and board member and chair of the Audit Committee of PACE (Programme for Accessible Health, Communication, and Education) in Uganda.

“Sam was a special person in so many ways, and his unexpected death is a huge loss to Rotary, his community, and the world,” Riseley said. “We are establishing details on plans to celebrate his life as they become available.” 

Rotary is establishing a memorial fund in Sam's honor and will provide details soon.

Rotary President-elect Sam F. Owori dies 2017-07-17 05:00:00Z 0
Come Play @ and Drive Out Illiteracy! 2017-07-17 05:00:00Z 0

RI President July Message

There are as many reasons to come to Rotary as there are Rotarians – maybe even a few more. But each of us has stayed in Rotary because it adds something to our own lives. Through Rotary, we are Making a Difference in the world; and the more involved we become, the more of a difference Rotary makes to each of us. Rotary challenges us to become better people: to become ambitious in the ways that matter, to strive for higher goals, and to incorporate Service Above Self into our daily lives.

What kind of difference Rotary clubs and individual Rotarians make through their service will always be their own decision. As an organization, we are guided by the three strategic priorities our Board has set in our strategic plan: to support and strengthen our clubs, to focus and increase our humanitarian service, and to enhance Rotary's public image and awareness.

In the year ahead, our clubs will have the support of a greatly augmented array of online tools, including a refreshed Rotary.org, a simplified Rotary Foundation grant application process, an improved My Rotary experience, and a rebuilt Rotary Club Central. As we look to strengthen our clubs, two specific challenges stand out in our membership: our gender balance and our average age. To keep our clubs strong, we need to build a membership that reflects the communities we serve and that will continue to develop knowledgeable leaders for generations to come.

For many years, one idea has stood at the heart of all our service: sustainability. Sustainable service means our work continues to have a positive impact long after Rotary's direct involvement has ended. We don't dig wells and walk away; we make sure communities can maintain and repair those wells. If we build a clinic, we make sure that clinic has a way to keep running without ongoing support from us. And when it comes to polio, we aren't working to contain it; we're working to end it.

Eradicating polio is the ultimate in sustainable service. It is an investment that will yield not just a long-lasting but a permanent benefit, on a global scale. It is and must remain our No. 1 priority until the job is done.

For 112 years, Rotary has made a difference to more lives, in more ways, than we can ever count or will ever know. Today, each of us bears a torch, its flame lit by Paul Harris, that has been passed forward from generation to generation, in Rotary: Making a Difference.

RI President July Message 2017-07-17 05:00:00Z 0
Drive Out Illiteracy Fundraiser 2017-06-16 05:00:00Z 0

RI President June Message

Growing up in Chattanooga, Tenn., my brothers and I learned young to work hard. It was a lesson taught to us by our father, who had come to the United States, alone, as a teenager. He wanted our lives to be better and easier than his had been; he wanted to give us the education and opportunities that he had missed. We always knew, when he came home at 8 o'clock in the morning after working a night shift at the paper mill, that he was doing it for us.

Looking back, through the prism of many years, I see in my father's hard work not only an expression of his love for us, but the universal desire of each generation to care for and lift up the next. And looking back at this year of service in Rotary, I see that desire reflected in each of us who have chosen to be part of this great organization. It is natural for parents to want to make things better for their children. Through Rotary, we can do so much more: We can make things better, not only for our own children, but for all children. We have the opportunity to care for and lift up those who need us the most – whether they are in our own community or on the other side of the world.

As Judy and I have traveled the world for Rotary over the last two years, we've been reminded, again and again, of what motivates us in Rotary: the simple desire to be of assistance, to give a helping hand to those who need it. Whether it means building a blood bank in Uganda, delivering an X-ray machine to a village in Guatemala, or taking care of refugees in Lebanon, Rotarians are doing what is needed most for the people who are most in need. They're working hard for the communities they care about, helping the people of those communities lead better lives.

To me, that is the essence of Rotary: that desire to be of assistance, that willingness to work for the good of others. In Rotary, when someone needs help and you can give that help, you don't walk away. You don't turn your back. You say, I'm here for you. I'll do whatever I can. And I know that whatever I do, I'm not doing it alone – I'm doing it with Rotary Serving Humanity.

RI President June Message 2017-06-16 05:00:00Z 0
Help Us Help Kids 2017-05-04 05:00:00Z 0

RI President May Message

As you read these lines, final preparations are well underway for our 108th Rotary International Convention, 10-14 June in Atlanta. We're looking forward to one of the biggest and best Rotary conventions yet, as we celebrate not only a wonderful year of Rotary Serving Humanity, but a full century of Doing Good in the World through The Rotary Foundation.

If you haven't already made plans to attend, it's not too late to register at riconvention.org. There is simply no better way to round off another great year in Rotary than by coming together with 40,000 or so of your fellow Rotarians to share ideas, find inspiration, and have a great time together.

We're excited to have Bill Gates, a friend and partner in our work to eradicate polio, speaking at our convention this year. And it's worth arriving early to attend a special Presidential Peace Conference, scheduled for 9-10 June and featuring Bernice A. King, daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King.

I'm proud to host a convention that is practically in my own backyard: Atlanta is a vibrant, modern state capital just a two-hour drive from my home city of Chattanooga, Tenn., and it's a great place to experience the famous hospitality of the American South. Our Host Organization Committee has a great week planned, starting with the "Blue Jeans and Bluegrass" kickoff event on Saturday night.

Come on over to Centennial Olympic Park, right across from the House of Friendship, and get in a dancing mood with Grammy Award winner Ricky Skaggs and his Kentucky Thunder band. Meet up with friends old and new at the Centennial Celebration Block Party or on the Peace Tour of Atlanta. Roll up your sleeves for the Habitat Home Build, or tie up your laces to take part in the 3K Walk/Run to End Polio Now. And before you say goodbye, come back to the House of Friendship for one more party: our Foundation's 100th birthday party, with (of course!) cake and ice cream.

It's going to be an incredible experience, and Judy and I are looking forward to celebrating with you – or, as we say in the South, with y'all! See you in Atlanta!

RI President May Message 2017-05-04 05:00:00Z 0
Ready for Fun...golf and fellowship! 2017-04-13 05:00:00Z 0

RI President April Message

Globally, in developed as well as in developing countries, child mortality is on the decline and life expectancy on the rise. In 1960, 182 of every 1,000 children born died before turning five; today, that number is down to 43. A child born in 1960 could expect to live an average of just 52 years; by contrast, a child born this year can expect to live to 71.

Then as now, the factors most likely to determine a child's fate are set at birth: where he or she is born, the educational and economic condition of the family, the availability of medical care. Yet one of the most important advances in public health has reached every country and must now reach every child: immunization.

The use of vaccines has, in many parts of the world, nearly eliminated diseases that once were widespread, such as diphtheria, tetanus, and rubella. Thanks to vaccines, 20 million lives have been saved from measles since 2000. Smallpox has been eradicated – and polio is next.

Thirty years ago, there were an estimated 350,000 cases of polio per year worldwide. As this issue of The Rotarian went to press, only 37 cases of polio had been recorded in 2016 – the lowest number in history. All of the other cases, and the paralysis and death they would have brought, were prevented through the widespread use of a safe, reliable, and inexpensive vaccine.

Overall, the World Health Organization estimates that immunization prevents an estimated 2 million to 3 million deaths every year. It also averts a tremendous burden of disability and economic loss. Yet we could be doing so much better: An additional 1.5 million deaths could be avoided by improving vaccine coverage worldwide.

This month, from 24 to 30 April, we join WHO, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in celebrating World Immunization Week, raising awareness of the incredible impact that vaccines have had on global health. This year's theme is "Vaccines Work" – and they do. Increased use of vaccines has broader repercussions for public health: controlling viral hepatitis, reducing both the need for antibiotics and the development of antibiotic-resistant microbes, and reaching more children and adolescents with essential health interventions. In every part of the world, routine immunization is as crucial as ever to ensure that all children have the best chance at a healthy future.

In an uncertain world, vaccines offer something remarkable: a way to protect our children throughout their lives. By working together to safeguard all children against polio and other preventable diseases, Rotary is truly Serving Humanity – now and for generations to come.

RI President April Message 2017-04-13 05:00:00Z 0
There's no limit to what we can do...Rotary 2017-03-15 05:00:00Z 0

2017-18 Rotary: Making a Difference 

In 2017-18, we’ll answer the question “What is Rotary?” with RI President-elect Ian H.S. Riseley’s theme, Rotary: Making a Difference. “Whether we’re building a new playground or a new school, improving medical care or sanitation, training conflict mediators or midwives, we know that the work we do will change people’s lives — in ways large and small — for the better.”
2017-18 Rotary: Making a Difference 2017-03-15 05:00:00Z 0

RI President Elect Ian H.S. Riseley

President 2017-18
Rotary Club of Sandringham
Victoria, Australia

Ian H.S. Riseley is a chartered accountant and principal of Ian Riseley and Co., a firm he established in 1976. Prior to starting his own firm, he worked in the audit and management consulting divisions of large accounting firms and corporations.

Riseley has been a member of the boards of both a private and a public school, a member of the Community Advisory Group for the City of Sandringham, and president of Beaumaris Sea Scouts Group. He has been president of Langi-Taan Ski Club as well as honorary auditor or adviser for a number of charitable organizations.

Riseley’s honors include the AusAID Peacebuilder Award from the Australian government in recognition of his work in East Timor, the Medal of the Order of Australia for services to the Australian community, and the Regional Service Award for a Polio-Free World from The Rotary Foundation.

A Rotarian since 1978, Riseley has served as treasurer, director, Foundation trustee, and member and chair of numerous RI and Foundation committees.

He and his wife, Juliet, a past district governor, are Major Donors and Bequest Society members of The Rotary Foundation. They live on seven hectares at Moorooduc, where they practice their personal philosophy of sustainable and organic living. They have two children and four grandchildren.

RI President Elect Ian H.S. Riseley 2017-03-15 05:00:00Z 0

RI President March Message

Forty years ago, the Rotary Club of Duarte, Calif., admitted three women members, in violation of the Rotary International Constitution. As a result, the club's charter was terminated by RI.
Undeterred, the club's members continued to meet. They put an X over their Rotary insignia, made themselves new pins, and dubbed themselves the Ex-Rotary Club of Duarte as they continued to fight for the right of women to serve as Rotarians. Ten years later, a restored Rotary Club of Duarte sent Sylvia Whitlock, Rotary's first female club president, to a presidents-elect training seminar. Not long after that, in 1989, Rotary's Council on Legislation permanently ended Rotary's status as a men-only organization.
Today, with more than 240,000 women in our clubs, Rotary is stronger than ever. We are women and men from nearly every country of the world, serving our communities in more than 35,000 clubs. At the club level, we need men and women of all backgrounds, ages, cultures, and professions; internationally, we need clubs in every city, country, and region of the world. The better our clubs reflect their communities, the better we can serve them. Our diversity is our strength.
It is difficult for most of us to imagine today why anyone argued so strongly against the idea of women in Rotary. Looking back, I think that opposition came from a simple resistance to change. Rotarians loved Rotary the way it was and couldn't imagine it any other way.
We still love Rotary as much as we ever did. We love the friendships and connections we make there, and the ability Rotary provides us to serve humanity. We believe Rotary has tremendous value in our own lives and in the world at large. And we recognize, more than ever, that for Rotary to continue to grow, it needs to embrace the world it serves – in all of its diversity, all of its variety, and all of its evolving needs for service.
The Rotarians of today owe a debt of gratitude to the Rotarians of Duarte 40 years ago. Their determination, persistence, and enduring goodwill set the stage for the organization we have become: Rotary Serving Humanity. 
RI President March Message 2017-03-15 05:00:00Z 0

RI President February Message

On 23 February, we will mark 112 years since the founding of Rotary. It is incredible to think about how much has changed, in our world and in our organization, since the first Rotary club met in Chicago with Paul Harris as a founding member.

Some things are easy to compare between now and 1905. There have been changes in technology, medicine, and society. When we look at a map of the world in 1905 and a map of the world today, we can see what’s different. What we can’t do is compare what is with what might have been. There is no way to compare our world as it exists now with the world as it would have been without Rotary.

Rotary has risen to so many challenges in its 112 years. We’ve answered conflict with peace, and poverty with education. We’ve responded to a lack of basic health care with projects large and small, from equipping clinics in tiny villages to eradicating polio across the globe.

We will never know how different the world would have been if Rotary had never been founded; if any one Rotary club had never been chartered; or if any single Rotarian had declined the invitation to join a Rotary club.

But I will say, with absolute faith and complete confidence, that the world is a far, far better place now than it would have been without Rotary and that Rotary itself is stronger because of every one of you.

The world needs Rotary more than ever. It needs our courage, our optimism, and our idealism. It needs the voice of tolerance, cooperation, and hope that we can offer. It needs the example of an organization that has proven that the citizens of all countries can work together successfully, gladly, and in friendship.

None of us ever knows the full impact of our actions. None of us knows the effects that will ripple out from the things we do and say, the decisions we make, the opportunities we seize, and those we let pass. But I think we all know that when we choose to do good, good will follow; and that when we choose Service Above Self as our life’s path, the direction it will take us will be a good one.

No one can see the future. No one knows what changes lie ahead. But I have faith in Rotary, and in Rotarians, that with every passing year, you will make our world a better place through Rotary Serving Humanity.

RI President February Message 2017-03-15 05:00:00Z 0

RI President January Message

As we enter 2017, we also enter the second year of the initiative known as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. These goals, usually referred to as the SDGs, pertain to a list of 17 areas where the people of the world can come together to address our most pressing economic, political, and social challenges. It is a hugely ambitious list, and it has to be. The ultimate aim of these goals is nothing less than peace, prosperity, security, and equality for all of humanity.
How do you even begin to tackle such a project? At Rotary, our answer is simple: one step at a time. These goals are nothing new for Rotary: They're already reflected in our areas of focus. We also understand that all of these 17 goals, just like our six areas of focus, are interrelated. You can't have good health without clean water. You can't have clean water without good sanitation. Good sanitation in turn helps keep children in school, which improves education, which improves economic prosperity and health. When you are talking about the advancement of an entire planet, no one indicator, no one goal, no one country, exists in isolation. To make real and lasting progress, we must all move forward together.
The idea of sustainability is key to the SDGs – and to our service in Rotary. Sustainability simply means making progress that will endure. It means not just digging a well, but being sure that a community can maintain it. It means not just running a health camp for a week, but training local health workers. It means empowering families and communities to take charge of their own futures by giving them the tools they need to succeed.
Sustainability has always been at the heart of our thinking in Rotary. We've been around for nearly 112 years and intend to be around for many more. We've already seen the difference our work has made: in health, in education, in water and sanitation, and of course in our efforts to end polio.
Polio eradication is the ultimate in sustainable service: a project that, once completed, will benefit the world forever. And those benefits will go far beyond the eradication of a single human disease. The estimated cost savings we will see once polio is eradicated are about $1 billion per year. That is money that can be returned to public health budgets and directed to other pressing needs, carrying the good work of today forward for many healthier tomorrows.
RI President January Message 2017-01-10 06:00:00Z 0

Get Ready for RYLA 2017!

Calling high school students...all expense paid adventure in leadership!
When:                 July 14-18, 2017
Where:                Central Christian Camp
                           1 Twin Cedar Lane
                           Guthrie, OK
Apply:                  https://goo.gl/forms/ry83jcKDRZGAKnvk1
Get Ready for RYLA 2017! 2016-12-09 06:00:00Z 0

December RI President's Message

I joined Rotary as an engineer. There are almost as many classifications in the profession of engineering as there are in Rotary, but I happen to be a mechanical engineer. A mechanical engineer calculates the heating and cooling loads for a new building, makes sure the right lights are in the right places, and plans the plumbing so your hot water pipe doesn’t end in a drinking fountain.

Mechanical engineers don’t stand out in a crowd, and they don’t call attention to themselves with what they do. You probably haven’t thought much about the engineers who designed the buildings you use, the car you drive, or the traffic patterns you follow. But every time you get in an elevator, turn the key in your ignition, or cross the street when the light says go, you are entrusting your life to an engineer somewhere whom you’ve never met. You trust that your elevator will open at the floor you want it to. You trust that your car will start and stop as it should. You trust that the traffic light is going to turn red before the walk light goes on. Every day, you put your life in the hands of people whose names you do not know and whom you might never meet. You might not think about them at all – but they touch your lives every day.

I could draw the same parallel to any number of other vocations – ordinary occupations with the same kind of life-changing impact. In so many ways – some of which we see and some we don’t – our vocations allow us to help other people live better, safer, and healthier lives.

Just like the work we do in Rotary.

Through our vocations and in our clubs, in our communities, and across continents, we are touching the lives of people we don’t know and might never meet. And in every part of the world, every single day, whether they know it or not, people are living better, safer, and healthier lives because of the work of Rotary.

The people we help might not have met a single Rotarian. They might not even know that Rotary exists. But they are drinking clean water from a bore well that Rotary dug. They’re learning to read with books that Rotary gave them. They’re living lives that are better, happier, and healthier – because of Rotary Serving Humanity.

December RI President's Message 2016-12-09 06:00:00Z 0

Funds for EPN

Thanks to all that joined us at S&B's Burger Joint for the EPN (End Polio Now) fundraiser. $281.29 was raised over a 4 hour period! A special thanks to S&B's for their "Pay It Forward" program that allowed us to raise these funds.
We enjoyed the company of Pam Henry, former OKC TV broadcaster and poster child for the March of Dimes. Pam is a great champion in the efforts to End Polio Now!
Funds for EPN 2016-11-15 06:00:00Z 0


Through a District Grant, the OKC Sunrise Rotary Club has shared “Andy & Elmer’s Apple Dumpling Adventure” – a reading and coloring book promoting the Four-Way Test, with second graders at John Glenn Elementary School. Club members read the story to 118 students at the school and then distributed copies of the book to each of them. As part of the learning program, the club will return to the school in the Spring with a coloring book for each student along with a Four-Way Test bookmark to reinforce the use of the Four-Way Test in the things they each think, say or do.

Rotary Zone 21b-27 Guinness World Record and Refugee Event

On October 29, 2016, Rotarians, friends, refugees, and participants of the RI Zone 21b-27 Institute joined together to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the Rotary Foundation, earn a Guinness World Record for the largest human image of a cog (Rotary Wheel) and reach out to the local Salt Lake City refugee community to find ways that we can support our newest Americans.
Rotary Zone 21b-27 Guinness World Record and Refugee Event 2016-11-14 06:00:00Z 0

RI President November Message

Looking back at the momentous 1917 Rotary Convention in Atlanta, it is difficult to see what could have been contentious about the words of then-President Arch C. Klumph: “It seems eminently proper that we should accept endowments for the purpose of doing good in the world.” Yet, at the time, support for the idea was far from unanimous. Some thought an endowment fund would create more trouble than it was worth. But Klumph’s idea received the support it most needed in the form of an initial donation of $26.50 from the Rotary Club of Kansas City, Mo.

Nearly 100 years later, we recognize Klumph’s idea as not only visionary, but revolutionary: It set in place the mechanism that allowed Rotary to become the vast force for “doing good in the world” that it is today.

In many ways, our Rotary Foundation is the foundation of Rotary as  we know it. It has created a mechanism for cooperation and partnership among clubs and between Rotary and other organizations; it has enabled us to  be ever more ambitious in our work and to reach for goals of historic proportions, such as the eradication of polio. It is impossible to quantify the  good that has been done over the last century as a result of The Rotary Foundation. All we can know for sure is that Arch Klumph, if he could see it, would be proud.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you at our international convention in Atlanta: the city where our Foundation was born. I hope a record number of Rotarians will be there to celebrate the centennial of our Foundation. In the meantime, there are plenty of other ways to celebrate! I encourage you to read more about the Foundation centennial at . There, you’ll learn about the history of our Foundation and find ideas for events and projects in your clubs and your community.

One of the most important ways we are celebrating the Foundation centennial is with a fundraising goal of $300 million. Your gift to your Foundation is the best way of ensuring a strong second century for Rotarians Doing Good in the World and for Rotary Serving Humanity.

RI President November Message 2016-11-03 05:00:00Z 0

RI President October Message

In 1979, James Bomar Jr., the president of Rotary at the time, traveled to the Philippines as part of Rotary’s earliest work to immunize children against polio. After he had put drops of vaccine into one baby’s mouth, he felt a child’s hand tugging on his trouser leg to get his attention. Bomar looked down and saw the baby’s brother looking up at him, saying earnestly, “Thank you, thank you, Rotary.”

Before Rotary took on the task of polio eradication, 350,000 people – nearly all of them children – were paralyzed by polio every year. That child in the Philippines knew exactly what polio was and understood exactly what Rotary had just done for his baby brother. Today, 31 years after the launch of PolioPlus, the children of the Philippines – and of nearly every other country in the world – are growing up without that knowledge, and that fear, of polio. Instead of 1,000 new cases of polio every day, we are averaging less than one per week. But as the fear of polio wanes, so does awareness of the disease. Now more than ever, it is vitally important to keep that awareness high and to push polio eradication to the top of the public agenda and our governments’ priorities. We need to make sure the world knows that our work to eradicate polio isn’t over yet, but that Rotary is in it to end it.

On 24 October, Rotary will mark World Polio Day to help raise the awareness and the funding we need to reach full eradication. I ask all of you to take part by holding an event in your club, in your community, or online. Ideas and materials are available for download in all Rotary languages at , and you can register your event with Rotary at the same link. You can also join me and tens of thousands of your fellow Rotarians for a live-streamed global status update at 6 p.m. Eastern time at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. I’ll be there along with CDC Director Tom Frieden, other experts, and inspirational presenters, sharing an inside look at the science, partnerships, and human stories of polio eradication.

It is an incredibly exciting time to be a Rotarian. We are gathering momentum for the final race to the finish: to the end of PolioPlus and the beginning of a polio-free world. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime chance to End Polio Now, through Rotary Serving Humanity.

RI President October Message 2016-11-03 05:00:00Z 0


OKC Sunrise Rotary Club is teaming up with our friends at S&B's Burger Joint, 5929 N. May Ave, OKC, OK to EndPolioNow. 10% of the proceeds will be donated to Rotay's fight against polio. Join us for the best burger, brew and our fight to EndPolioNow!
EndPolioNow 2016-11-03 05:00:00Z 0

Girl Scouts Get Uniforms

Special Thanks to our partners at OKC Sunrise Rotary! They awarded us a grant to support 3 of our community programs, providing curriculum and uniforms for our ...girls! Just look at the faces of our girls in Troop 7000 at Oak Grove! They IMMEDIATELY put on their uniforms, and looked at their Girl Guides before the meeting started! Thank you so much for supporting these girls of Courage, Confidence and Character who will make the world a better place! #GratefulGSWESTOK
Girl Scouts Get Uniforms 2016-09-27 05:00:00Z 0

RI President September Message

In the summer of 1917, only a few months after the United States entered the first world war, Rotary held its eighth annual convention in Atlanta. Although many Rotarians at the time thought the convention should be canceled, the Board of Directors ultimately agreed with Paul Harris that it should continue as planned. In the midst of such uncertainty and fear, Harris penned, as part of his convention greeting, some of the most-quoted words in Rotary:

Individual effort when well directed can accomplish much, but the greatest good must necessarily come from the combined efforts of many men. Individual effort may be turned to individual needs but combined effort should be dedicated to the service of mankind. The power of combined effort knows no limitation.

Fittingly, it was at this convention that then-President Arch C. Klumph proposed a Rotary endowment fund “for the purpose of doing good in the world.” The power of combined effort was joined by a new power: that of combined resources. It was a combination that has proved unstoppable and has been behind so much of Rotary’s work for the last 100 years. Today, it is difficult to imagine Rotary without its Foundation. It was the Foundation that turned Rotary from an organization of local clubs into an international force for good with the power to change the world.

In this Rotary year, we are marking the centennial of our Rotary Foundation in the city where it all began: Atlanta. Our 108th Rotary International Convention promises to be one of the most exciting yet, with inspiring speakers, great entertainment, and a wide array of breakout sessions to help you move your Rotary service forward. And of course, we’ll be celebrating the Foundation’s centennial in style.

Whether you’re a regular convention goer, haven’t been to one in a few years, or haven’t yet attended your first, the 2017 convention will be the one you won’t want to miss. Atlanta is a great destination in its own right, with great food, friendly people, and many local attractions to enjoy. But the real reason to come to the convention is always the convention itself, and the people, ideas, inspiration, and friendship you’ll find there. To learn more, and save money on registration, visit www.riconvention.org. See you in Atlanta!

RI President September Message 2016-09-01 05:00:00Z 0

How to make the most of your Rotary membership?

August is Membership Month, a time to celebrate your club, your members, and the good you do in your community and around the world. Many Rotarians join Rotary to give back locally and globally. Rotary allows members to make a difference while building friendships and fostering international understanding.

We offer many programs that allow you to engage with fellow members and make new connections outside your club and district. Here are just a few ways you can get more involved:

Rotary Friendship Exchange

Through the Rotary Friendship Exchange program, you can discover new cultures and make new friends from all over the world. Read the exchange stories below to learn more about the program and contact your district’s Friendship Exchange Chair to get involved.


How to make the most of your Rotary membership? 2016-08-23 05:00:00Z 0

10 Reasons to Love Rotary Right Now

Reasons to love Rotary right now

1. Because we are about to eradicate a disease, and you can be a part of it

We are 99.9 percent of the way toward ending polio. As of early June, there were only 16 cases of wild poliovirus in the world, and many think this could be the year we see the last naturally occurring case of polio.

As Rotary and our partners work to eradicate the poliovirus in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the remaining endemic countries, we also continue immunization campaigns in other high-risk countries to ensure that the disease remains gone for good. You can participate on the ground. Email polioplus@rotary.org to connect with Rotarians leading upcoming trips. 

Also consider using your network to spread the word and make sure polio stays on the global agenda. Provide a link to endpolio.org in your email signature. Follow End Polio Now on Facebook and Twitter and share the story of polio eradication with your social networks. When your legislators speak at club meetings, make sure you bring up polio funding. “The fact we are grassroots enables us to have a tremendous amount of influence,” says International PolioPlus Chair Michael McGovern. Host a community event to celebrate World Polio Day on 24 October; register your event and download resources at endpolio.org.

Donate now and your contribution will be matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Go to www.endpolio.org.

10 Reasons to Love Rotary Right Now 2016-08-22 05:00:00Z 0

Member interview: Chris Clemens, 'homeless Rotary club president'

From the September 2016 issue of The Rotarian

Chris Clemens would make a splendid case study in the liberating influence of decluttering. In recent years, he has gone from sharing a five-bedroom house with roommates to living out of an 80-square-foot Volkswagen van. The freelance marketing professional and web designer now has taken downsizing a step further by spending much of the year backpacking around the globe. Untethered, but rooted in Rotary (at age 29, he was elected president of the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara, Calif., its youngest ever), Clemens, 32, maintains contact with club members over the internet, typically from Wi-Fi hotspots in hostels. Checking in from Ecuador, where he had just spent a week hiking and snorkeling in the Galápagos Islands,  he jokes, “I might be one of the first homeless Rotary club presidents.” But to borrow from T.S. Eliot, home is simply where one starts from.

THE ROTARIAN: Have you  always had wanderlust, or  was there a transformative  experience that kindled your new lifestyle?

CLEMENS: I grew up in Berne, Ind. My dad did some international travel for work, and my aunt and uncle introduced me to national parks – the Grand Canyon, Yosemite. But hiking the Appalachian Trail – 2,184 miles, Georgia to Maine – with a friend  in 2012 was a big change. We lived with only what we could carry for six months. Coming back to the apartment and seeing all that stuff that was unnecessary made me want to make a change. It helps that my marketing skills set me up for a more mobile lifestyle.

TR: Do you have any advice for people who want to live lighter?

CLEMENS: Start small. If people just saw, all of a sudden, Chris living out of a van, that’s a huge change and they might think something was wrong. But as people started seeing the change little by little, it made more sense. I get a lot  of messages from people who  follow me on social media  asking for help. It’s just done in small steps. I didn’t end up living out of a backpack in Ecuador overnight.

TR: Was it difficult parting with nearly all your worldly goods?

CLEMENS: A lot of the stuff, like furniture and the things you acquire when you live in a house or apartment, was easy to get rid of. Family heirlooms were harder. I had over 100,000 baseball cards between me and my brother, and our grandpa helped us collect them over the years. That emotion was the investment. But once I started, it was easy. Once I got rid of them, I felt better. If I wasn’t using something, it would be better if someone else could use it.

TR: Have you tapped your Rotary connections on your travels?

CLEMENS: Being in Rotary is an incredible opportunity for international travel. I have a Rotary patch on my backpack. I’ve been to meetings in small towns, like Cuenca [in the  Andes Mountains of Ecuador]. After the meeting, one of the members drove me around. So I saw the town from a local’s perspective and I got away from all the touristy stuff. I gave them one of our club banners; I’m carrying 10 and have given away three so far. I’ve put so much work into Rotary in California, it would be silly to not continue with that momentum, even out on the road. It’s amazing to take a bus into a new town and see a Rotary wheel on a sign or a placard. It makes the world feel smaller and makes me feel at home.

The Rotarian

Member interview: Chris Clemens, 'homeless Rotary club president' 2016-08-22 05:00:00Z 0

Young member uses leadership positions to promote diversity, inclusion

The way Rotary member Todd Jenkins puts it, he's the first generation in his family "to do everything": first to go to college, first to fly on a plane, first to visit another country, and the first to live across state lines.
Jenkins, 28, grew up in a low-income neighborhood in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. His family worked hard just to make ends meet. So travel and college seemed out of reach.
The eldest of ten children, Jenkins says his goal was to break out of the family status quo and set a positive example for his siblings. He credits his mother with helping him avoid falling into the cycle that was common for young African-American males in his community.
"For a lot of poor minority young men without hope, there were three paths: gangs, jail, or death," says Jenkins, who is a member of the Rotary Club of Fayetteville, Arkansas. "My mom wasn't going to have that for me, so she made sure my time and focus were on education and productive activities. It was all about the books and church activities for me."
With that support and his own dedication, Jenkins excelled in school, earning merit-based scholarships to the University of South Carolina for his undergraduate degree and Illinois State University for his master's.
The impact of being the first in his family to achieve success can't be overstated, he says.
"You don't have a path in your life painted for you. You can create your own path," says Jenkins, who earned master's and doctoral degrees with a focus on minority professional development. "I had to learn how to utilize every resource. I had to break down barriers. If I didn't, I would have gone into a shell of what society thought I should be. I hope I provided a platform for my family members to branch out as much as possible to become what they hope to be."
Young member uses leadership positions to promote diversity, inclusion 2016-08-22 05:00:00Z 0

RI President's August Message

Forty years ago, a man named George Campbell, the owner of the company I worked for, invited me to join Rotary. Back then, that was a common practice in the United States. Your boss invited you to join Rotary because he thought it would be good for business and good for the community, and you said yes. It’s not surprising that our membership surged during that period.

George warned me not to use Rotary as an excuse to slack off at work. Even so, I always had time to attend lunch meetings and serve on committees. I never had to worry that taking a long lunch once a week would hurt my advancement, or what my boss would think about the occasional Rotary phone call at work.

Today, things are different. Companies are less generous about time, and not every manager looks favorably on community service. It’s hard to enjoy a Rotary meeting when you’ve got emails piling up on your phone. It’s harder than ever to balance work with Rotary – and the model that gave us so much growth a few decades ago is part of what’s holding back our growth now.

That’s why the recent Council on Legislation adopted some innovative measures that allow clubs to vary their meeting times and expand their pool of prospective members. Clubs have more flexibility now to respond to the needs of their members and to clear away as many barriers to membership as they can. But there’s one barrier to membership that only you can remove, one thing that every prospective member needs to become a Rotarian: an invitation to join a Rotary club.

Whenever I tell a group of Rotarians that we need more willing hands, more caring hearts, and more bright minds to move our work forward, everyone applauds. But those hands, hearts, and minds won’t magically appear in our clubs. We have to ask them to join. And an invitation to Rotary is something that only you can give. An invitation is a gift. It’s saying to someone, “I think you have the skills, the talent, and the character to make our community better, and I want you to join me in doing that.”

I’m the president of Rotary International, but the only club I can invite someone to join is the Rotary Club of Chattanooga, Tenn. I can’t make your club or your community stronger. Only you can do that – by inviting the qualified people you know to join you in Rotary Serving Humanity.

RI President's August Message 2016-08-01 05:00:00Z 0

John Germ: Champion of Chattanooga

Just before John Germ dropped by, Rick Youngblood took a deep breath. “You want to match his energy,” he says, “but he makes it hard to keep up.” Youngblood is the president and CEO of Blood Assurance, a regional blood bank in Chattanooga, Tenn., that Germ helped found in 1972. After his visit with Youngblood, Germ strode between mountains of empty bottles and cans at Chattanooga’s John F. Germ Recycling Center at Orange Grove, which he designed, before he drove to a construction site and popped a cork to dedicate a Miracle League field where special needs children will play baseball – all before zipping to the airport for a flight to Chicago and a cab ride to Rotary International World Headquarters, where he takes office as president of RI this month.
Why the breakneck pace? “I don’t have hobbies,” he says. “Civic work is my recreation.”
John Germ: Champion of Chattanooga 2016-07-20 05:00:00Z 0
What is Rotary? 2016-06-21 05:00:00Z 0
Foundation's Achievements and Future Spotlighted at Korea Convention 2016-06-13 05:00:00Z 0

Buddy Benches for Positive Tomorrows

OKC Sunrise Rotary Club completed its service project for the Positive Tomorrows school. Two buddy benches were installed so children will have a place to make friends and enjoy each other's company. "This is such a great project that improves the well-being of children", said President Roxy Butler. "Our club will strive to offer a buddy bench each year to schools in our area of reach".
OKC Sunrise Rotary club's primary focus is education and literary.
Buddy Benches for Positive Tomorrows 2016-06-13 05:00:00Z 0

RI Presidents June Message

British writer and Royal Air Force pilot Roald Dahl was also an avid photographer who carried his beloved Zeiss camera on his many adventures. At a time when each photograph had to be laboriously developed by hand, on film or glass plate negatives, he amassed a collection of hundreds of images. In later years, these photographs served as a visual record of his travels, a way to document his experiences and share them with others. Yet he always spoke of his memories as being far more vivid than the photographs could ever reflect. So many events and experiences, he said, were simply impossible to capture; they could not be adequately conveyed in images or words.

Language may fail, and photographs fade; minds are fallible, and details are lost. But some experiences, as Dahl said, never dim; they stand out in our memories, even after decades, as a wall of flame. They rear up forever over the landscape of our past, dividing our lives into what came before and what came after.

That metaphor has stayed with me throughout the past year as I have traveled the world for Rotary. For indeed, this entire year has stood, and will always stand, as a wall of flame in my mind, dividing my life into before and after.

When I think back over these 12 months, I see a bright kaleidoscope of images cascading before my eyes, day after day, week after week. The anxious parents in Chandigarh, India, hovering at the bedside of the child recovering from lifesaving heart surgery. The bright flags of Nepal fluttering over an entire village that had been rebuilt after the devastating earthquake. The feeling of awe in St. Peter’s Square at the Jubilee of Rotarians celebrated by Pope Francis. Joyful gatherings around the world, in so many countries, in so many languages – with friends I had never before met, my brothers and sisters in Rotary.

To serve as president of Rotary International is a colossal undertaking, one that cannot be truly conveyed in images or words. It is a wall of flame that will burn forever in my memory, dancing with light, shifting in shadow. A thousand images jostle together in my mind, a thousand recollections, a thousand emotions. Together, they form a great mosaic; together, they show the bright and glorious work of your hands.

As this Rotary year draws to a close, I am prouder than ever to be part of this great organization: one that makes the world not poorer, but richer; replaces despair with hope; raises up those whom fate has brought low; and is a gift to so many, while allowing each of us to Be a Gift to the World.

RI Presidents June Message 2016-06-13 05:00:00Z 0

RI President May Message

Some years ago, in the Kano plains of Kenya, a well-meaning development agency took on the task of improving water availability to a rural community. Committees were formed, meetings were held, and the local people were consulted. The main need the community identified was improved delivery of water for irrigation and livestock. A plan to meet this need was created, and the work was soon begun, exactly as the community representatives had requested.
Yet once construction began, it was met by immediate protest from groups of community women, who came to the site and physically blocked workers from building diversion channels. Upon further investigation, the agency realized that the water it was diverting for farming came from the only source, for dozens of families, of water for cooking, drinking, and washing. The entire project had to be scrapped.
RI President May Message 2016-05-06 05:00:00Z 0

Pope welcomes Rotary to Jubilee audience

Thousands of Rotary members, motivated by a special invitation from Pope Francis, gathered at the Vatican in Rome on Saturday to celebrate a message of compassion, inclusiveness, and service to humanity.
At midmorning, the group -- numbering some 9,000 members from 80 countries -- made its way through the congested streets of Rome, past the tight security surrounding St. Peter's Square, and settled into the area reserved for Rotary in front of St. Peter's Basilica for the Jubilee audience.
Francis, a 79-year-old Argentine, urged the crowd of more than 100,000, which included members of the police and armed forces from around the world, "to build a culture of peace, security, and solidarity around the world."
His message of peace resonated with Rotary members, including R. Asokan from Tamil Nadu, India. "His message about peace is about accepting. Rotary, which accepts all walks of life, can carry his message to all our clubs, therefore carrying his message to all our communities," says Asokan.
Pope welcomes Rotary to Jubilee audience 2016-05-06 05:00:00Z 0

OKC Sunrise Awarded Governor's Citation

OKC Sunrise Rotary was awarded the Governor's Citation - Bronze Level for their efforts during the 2015-16 Rotary year. Each year the District Governor sets criteria and goals for clubs to achieve in the all facets of Rotary. Areas include participating in the Paul Harris Society, increase membership, participate in a District and Global Grant, donate to PolioPlus to name a few. Roxy Butler, 2015-16 Club President received the award during the recent District Conference held earlier in April.
OKC Sunrise Awarded Governor's Citation 2016-04-26 05:00:00Z 0

RI President's April Message

Many years ago, in Kolkata, India, I had the chance to meet Mother Teresa. She was an incredible woman with an incredible force of personality. When she walked down the street, the crowd parted in front of her like the Red Sea. Yet when you talked to her, if you mentioned the tremendous things she had done, she almost did not engage in this topic at all. By many reports, if you asked her what her greatest achievement was, she would answer, "I am an expert in cleaning toilets."
The answer was both humorous and absolutely serious. Her business was caring for others. Toilets had to be cleaned, so she cleaned them. There was no question of a job being beneath her. Helping people who needed help was her work, and there was nothing higher, nothing in the world more important than that.
So one day, when an elegantly dressed man came to Kolkata looking for Mother Teresa, the nuns who answered the door informed him that she was at the back of the house, cleaning the toilets. They pointed the way, and indeed he found Mother Teresa scrubbing the toilets. She said hello, assumed he was there to volunteer, and began explaining to him how to hold the toilet brush correctly and how not to waste water. Then she put the brush in his hand and left him standing there, in his expensive suit, alone in the lavatory.
RI President's April Message 2016-04-05 05:00:00Z 0

Council on Legislation to meet in Chicago

Representatives from Rotary clubs worldwide will gather in Chicago 10-15 April to consider changes to the policies that guide Rotary International and its member clubs.

The Council on Legislation meets every three years and is an essential part of Rotary's governance. The representatives -- one from each Rotary district -- review and vote on proposals that seek to change Rotary's and on resolutions that express an opinion or make a recommendation to the Rotary International Board of Directors.

on My Rotary beginning 11 April.

Council on Legislation to meet in Chicago 2016-04-05 05:00:00Z 0
Check out these items for auction 2016-03-22 05:00:00Z 0

Take action with Rotary to create access to clean water.

Investing in clean water could save 2.5 million lives a year. We can't afford not to protect the world's water supply. Take action with Rotary to create access to clean water.
Worldwide, more than 748 million people live without access to clean water and at least 3,000 children die each day from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe water. Rotary is working to change that. For example, members used a Rotary grant to drill more than 20 clean-water wells and to repair another 30 in villages across Ghana. The project also included education about and treatment of Buruli ulcer, a debilitating infection that if untreated can lead to disability and death. Nearly 70,000 people will benefit from this initiative.
Take action with Rotary to create access to clean water. 2016-03-22 05:00:00Z 0

Succesful Women Mentor Youth Through Rotary

When Clara Montanez was a student, she never heard the word mentoring. The idea of having a role model help you pursue your ambitions was unfamiliar to her.
"You basically chose your career based on personal interest and hoped you could find a job," says Montanez, senior director of investment for Oppenheimer & Co., Inc. "I went the route of getting married and having children first, and started my career later in life. I had no model for how to do that."
That changed for Montanez the day a friend invited her to join Rotary.
"Frankly, I was dragged into Rotary. I didn't see a connection at first," says Montanez, who's been a member of the Rotary Club of Washington, D.C., since 2003. "But then I met several women, including Doris Margolis, who took me under her wing and started mentoring me on how to get more involved. I began seeing the value in having someone I could count on as a mentor, and I have become more of a leader in our club, in my community, and at work."
Succesful Women Mentor Youth Through Rotary 2016-03-15 05:00:00Z 0

RI President March Message

Some years ago, I was asked to speak at an Interact club in my home city of Colombo, Sri Lanka. I have always taken my interactions with Rotary youth very seriously, so I prepared my remarks carefully and put the same effort into my presentation that I would for any other event. After the meeting, I stayed to chat with a few of the Interactors, answering their questions and wishing them well.
I came out of the classroom where we had met into the autumn afternoon. The bright sun was shining directly into my eyes, so I found a bit of shade behind a pillar where I could wait for my ride.
As I stood there, hidden from view, I overheard a group of the very Interactors who had just listened to my speech. Naturally I was curious: What would they be saying? What had they taken away from my presentation? I quickly realized that what they had taken away was not at all what I had intended.
RI President March Message 2016-03-15 05:00:00Z 0

Smart Art...Join Us March 31


Join us for an entertaining and fun event..and a worthy cause!
Thursday March 31, 2016
Preview:  6:30 pm  Auction:  7:30 pm
Hidden Trails Country Club
6501 S. Country Club Dr (Penn and SW 62nd St)
Oklahoma City, OK
Reserve your tickets today! Only $25 pp or $40 couple
All proceeds for projects supporting education and literacy in the Greater OKC area.
Smart Art...Join Us March 31 2016-02-08 06:00:00Z 0

RI President February Message

In life, sometimes the experiences that matter the most are the briefest. They pass in the blink of an eye: a few days, a few hours, a few moments. They are the experiences that illuminate the landscape of our memory, shining brightly even years later. They are the moments in which we see, suddenly, something we had not seen; we understand something we had not understood; we forge a connection we had not expected.
For me, this has been a Rotary year like no other. I have been around the world, traversing countries and continents. I have been to places I had never seen before, and I have returned to familiar places and seen them, as for the first time, through the lens of Rotary.
When you travel for Rotary, you travel with a different sense of perspective and a different sense of purpose. There is an awareness of being part of something larger than yourself. When you board a plane or a train, or leave your home in the dark hours of early morning, you may be leaving for lands unknown – but at your destination, there will be no strangers. There will be Rotarians, waiting and welcoming. There will be work to do, something to learn, and perhaps something to teach.
There will be connections to forge, friendships to build, and memories to carry for a lifetime.
This year, I have been the traveler, and I have been welcomed by Rotarians around the world. A few months from now, from 28 May to 1 June, I invite you to step into my experience: allow me to welcome you to Seoul for our 107th International Convention.
RI President February Message 2016-02-08 06:00:00Z 0

2016-17 Theme Announced "Rotary Serving Humanity"

RI President-elect John F. Germ chose Rotary Serving Humanity as his theme for 2016-17. Noting Rotary’s unique ability to bring together committed professionals to achieve remarkable goals, Germ believes that “now is the time to capitalize on our success: as we complete the eradication of polio, and catapult Rotary forward to be an even greater force for good in the world.” Watch his speech here.
Meet John Germ:
John F. Germ is board chair and chief executive officer of Campbell and Associates Inc., consulting engineers. He joined the firm as an engineer in 1965 after four years in the U.S. Air Force. He serves on the boards of several organizations, including the board and executive committee of the Public Education Foundation, Orange Grove Center Inc., and as board chair of Blood Assurance Inc. He also is founder and treasurer of the Chattanooga State Technical Community College Foundation and president of the Tennessee Jaycee Foundation.
2016-17 Theme Announced "Rotary Serving Humanity" 2016-02-08 06:00:00Z 0

Alumna honoree creates opportunities for the poor

For her work to mitigate extreme poverty around the world, Susan Davis has received many honors. But the 2015-16 Rotary Global Alumni Service to Humanity Award has special significance.
“It feels like a circle of completion,” says Davis, who was a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar in 1980-81, doing graduate studies in international relations at Oxford University in England. “Rotary invested in me when I was young, and now is celebrating the harvest.”
A decade ago, Davis co-founded BRAC USA to advance the mission of BRAC -- Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee -- the world's largest nongovernmental development organization, which was founded after Bangladesh’s partition from Pakistan in the 1970s. The U.S. branch is dedicated to fighting poverty and to creating opportunities for the poor in Africa and elsewhere.
Alumna honoree creates opportunities for the poor 2016-01-16 06:00:00Z 0

RI President January Message

There is a story told in my Hindu tradition of two sages, Shaunaka and Abhipratari. They were worshippers of Prana, the wind god. One day, the two men were about to sit down to lunch when a poor student knocked on their door, asking for food.
"No, boy, do not bother us at this hour," was the reply. The student was surprised but very hungry, so he persisted.
"Tell me, honored sirs, which deity do you worship?"
"Prana, the wind god," they answered impatiently.
"Do you not know that the world begins and ends with wind, and that wind pervades the entire universe?"
The two sages were by now very irritated by their impertinent guest. "Of course we know it!" they replied.
"Well, then," continued the student, "if Prana pervades the universe, then he pervades me also, since I am but part of the universe. He is also in this hungry body, which stands before you begging for a bite to eat! And so in denying food to me, you deny it to the very deity whom you say you serve."
The sages realized the student spoke the truth and invited him to enter and share their meal. For they understood, at that moment, that by opening the door to one who sought their help, they were not only serving that individual – but reaching toward a larger goal.
Our experience of Rotary is, for the most part, based in our own communities. We meet every week in our clubs, in the same places, with the same familiar friends. While almost all of us are involved in some way or other in international service, the Rotary we see and share from day to day feels very local. It can be easy to lose sight of the larger picture – of what our service truly means.
Every impact you have as a Rotarian, individually and through your club, is multiplied by the power of our numbers. When you feed one person who is hungry, when you educate one person who is illiterate, when you protect one child from disease, the impact may seem small. It is anything but. For it is only through the power of numbers, through the power of our individual actions and gifts, that we can have the impact we seek: to truly Be a Gift to the World.
RI President January Message 2016-01-06 06:00:00Z 0

RI President December Message

When the Canadian army liberated the Netherlands in 1945, they found the country on the brink of starvation. Seeing the suffering of so many, and especially moved by the faces of the children, four Canadian privates stationed near Apeldoorn that year decided to make that Christmas special for as many Dutch children as they could.
Together, they made the rounds among their fellow soldiers, collecting chocolate bars and chewing gum, candy and comic books. In their spare moments, they built toy trucks out of wood and wire, sawed scrap lumber for building blocks; one, risking the military police, sold his cigarette ration on the black market, using the money to buy rag dolls. Each thought longingly of his own family at home; each channeled his energies instead toward the children whose Christmas they knew they could brighten.
By 1 December, four sacks of gifts lay ready; the soldiers eagerly looked forward to the 25th. But two days later, they learned the date they were to depart for Canada: 6 December, long before Christmas. With mixed emotions, the soldiers decided that the best plan simply would be to take their sacks over to the local orphanage and leave them there to await Christmas.
The night before they were to leave the Netherlands, the four set off for the orphanage, one of them in a makeshift white beard and red cap. On their way, they were surprised to hear church bells ringing and see houses lit brightly, with Christmas still some weeks away. As they approached the orphanage, boots crunching in the snow, they saw through the windows that the children, two dozen girls and boys, were gathered at their evening meal. Only a few months after the war's end, food was still scarce; the meal was small, and the children's faces pale and thin.
"Santa Claus" raised the knocker on the door and knocked three times, hard. As if by magic, the chatter of young voices inside fell silent; a priest opened the door. His polite expression gave way to one of shock, as the children behind him erupted into cheers, rushing forward and swarming the private who had dressed for Christmas three weeks early – but exactly on time. For in the Netherlands, Sinterklaas comes on St. Nicholas Eve: 5 December.
For an hour, joyful chaos reigned as packages were opened and exclaimed over, sweets were tasted, dolls caressed. The last wooden truck, the last bar of chocolate, went into the hands of a little boy who had been waiting patiently all the while. After thanking the men, he turned to the priest and said something to him in Dutch, his face alight with happiness. The priest smiled and nodded. "What did he say?" one of the soldiers asked.
The priest looked at them with eyes full of tears. "He said, 'We told you he would come.'"
By sending joy out into the world, we do not sacrifice it for ourselves – we only multiply it. As we enter this season of giving, let us multiply the gifts we have been given by sharing them with others. Through acts of caring, kindness, and generosity, in our clubs and through our Foundation, we become and remain a gift to the world.
RI President December Message 2015-12-09 06:00:00Z 0

Areas of Focus

We have identified specific causes to target to maximize our local and global impact. At the same time, we understand that each community has its own unique needs and concerns.

Through and other resources, we help clubs focus their service efforts in the following areas.

Promoting peace

Today, 42 million people are displaced by armed conflict or persecution. Through our partnerships with several leading universities, Rotary Peace Fellows develop the skills to strengthen peace efforts, train local leaders to prevent and mediate conflict, and support long-term peace building in areas affected by conflict. We provide up to 100 peace fellowships per year at Rotary Peace Centers.

Areas of Focus 2015-11-16 06:00:00Z 0

Rotary's representative network puts books into the hands of children in Ecuador

Schoolchildren in Ecuador are improving their reading, and their teachers are receiving additional professional development through a collaboration between Rotary and the Organization of American States (OAS).
The effort began three years ago when Richard Carson, RI representative to the OAS, and other Rotary members met with staff at the agency to discuss a set of literacy requirements for schools. They briefed the ministers of education of Central and South American countries on an approach to improve reading skills. Ecuador adopted the plan.
“We flew to Ecuador and met with the vice president of the country, who happened to be a Rotarian, and with many different teaching professionals,” says Carson, a member of the Rotary Club of Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Maryland, USA. “It’s a very successful project involving three Rotary districts and eight clubs.”
Rotary's representative network puts books into the hands of children in Ecuador 2015-11-16 06:00:00Z 0

RI President November Message

One sunny morning at the end of June 1991, a van drove through the busy, rush-hour streets of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Winding through traffic to a northern suburb, the van arrived at the Forward Command Headquarters of the Defense Ministry. Security guards stopped it for inspection. When they did, the two suicide bombers driving the van detonated their cargo: thousands of kilograms of plastic explosives.

The roof of the building was blown off completely. Debris was strewn for blocks. In total, 21 people were killed and 175 people injured, among them many pupils of the girls' school next door. More than a kilometer away, the blast shattered every window in my home. My wife raced toward the sound of the explosion – toward our daughter's school.

Our daughter was then nine years old. That morning, she had forgotten her pencil case at home. At the moment of the blast, she was coming out of a stationer's shop, admiring her new pencils. Suddenly her ears were ringing, the air was filled with sand, and everywhere around her people were screaming, bleeding, and running. Someone pulled her into the garden of the badly damaged school, where she waited until my wife arrived to bring her back to our home – its floors still covered with broken glass.

Sri Lanka today is peaceful and thriving, visited by some two million tourists every year. Our war now is only a memory, and we as a nation look forward to a promising future. Yet so many other nations cannot say the same. Today, more of the world's countries are involved in conflict than not; a record 59.5 million people worldwide live displaced by wars and violence.

In Rotary we believe, in spite of all that, in the possibility of peace – not out of idealism, but out of experience. We have seen that even the most intractable conflicts can be resolved when people have more to lose by fighting than by working together. We have seen what can happen when we approach peace-building in ways that are truly radical, such as the work of our Rotary Peace Fellows. Through our Rotary Foundation, peace fellows become experts in preventing and resolving conflict. Our goal is that they will find new ways not only to end wars but to stop them before they begin.

Among the hundreds of peace fellows who have graduated from the program, two from Sri Lanka, one from each side of the conflict, studied together. In the first weeks of the course, both argued passionately for the rightness of their side. Yet week by week, they grew to understand each other's perspective; today, they are good friends. When I met them and heard their story, they gave me hope. If 25 years of pain and bitterness could be overcome by Rotary, then what, indeed, is beyond us?

We cannot fight violence with violence. But when we fight it with education, with understanding, and with peace, we can truly Be a Gift to the World.

RI President November Message 2015-11-16 06:00:00Z 0

Dictionaries for 3rd Graders

OKC Sunrise Rotary spent their morning meeting labeling 120 dictionaries, so they could deliver them to the 3rd graders of John Glenn Elementary, Western Heights School District. Upon arriving at the school, the members divided up into teams of two to make the presentation. The students learned about Rotary and our 4-Way Test; and each student spent a few minutes learning the basics of how to use a dictionary. The club will be providing dictionaries to four other elementary schools this year.
Members helping deliver dictionaries (L to R): Lance, Rob, Marty, Lisa, Mary Jane, Lisa, Roxy, Jeff, Walt and Jim.  Thanks to all our members who helped make this project successful!
Dictionaries for 3rd Graders 2015-11-05 06:00:00Z 0

RI President October Message

Last month, after confirming a full year without a single case of wild poliovirus, Nigeria was removed from the list of the world's polio-endemic countries. It was the last polio-endemic country in Africa. Today, only two countries – Afghanistan and Pakistan – harbor the world's final reservoir of endemic poliovirus. As this issue of The Rotarian goes to press, global cases of polio in 2015 number only a few dozen.

The scale of this achievement can hardly be overstated. Polio has existed for millennia; it has plagued humanity since our earliest civilizations. Today, because of Rotary's work and that of our partners, the end is in sight. We are counting down not in years, but in months.

And yet, our success is as fragile as it is monumental. We are moving forward, slowly, steadily, inexorably – thanks to colossal efforts that never cease. We continue to vaccinate hundreds of millions of children in vast synchronized campaigns; we constantly monitor environments to prevent new outbreaks. The sheer scale of the effort – the coordination, the cost, and the commitment – boggles the mind.


RI President October Message 2015-10-09 05:00:00Z 0

RYLA 2015

Rotarians across the district helped during the 2015 RYLA camp this year. Several members from our own club spent time with the students; and our President-elect's son, Brodie attended this year's camp. Here is a great highlight of this year's camp, students changed forever!
RYLA 2015 2015-10-05 05:00:00Z 0


Strangers still give John Ferguson that deja vu look, like they know him but they’re not sure why. "They get suspicious when I start talking to them,” he said. Some recognize his voice, others his face…sort of.
It’s because Ferguson is so good at bad, or at least acting that way. For decades, he was known for his alter ego, the sinister but strangely beloved local TV character Count Gregore. It was at 11:30 p.m. Saturday, May 10, 1958, that Count Gregore was first unleashed on Oklahoma. The mysterious and macabre yet chummy Dracula-esque fellow with a sense of humor struck a nerve with local audiences, that continues to this day.
COUNT GREGORE COMES TO SUNRISE! SEP 17 2015-09-08 05:00:00Z 0

Why Did You Join Rotary?


Jennifer Jacobson, a police constable in Chatham-Kent, Ontario, Canada, took part in a Rotary-sponsored Group Study Exchange (GSE) to Japan in 2009 after reading a post by a colleague and former participant.

“It was a life-changing experience, absolutely fantastic,” says Jacobson, who joined a physical therapist, a music therapist, and a retail manager on the trip. “Because they had limited translators, we went everywhere together and learned about each other’s professions. Our Japanese hosts made sure we experienced everything.

“What really hooked me on Rotary, though, was the experience I got from the Rotarians in Japan. The kindness and the support and the welcoming nature were overwhelming.”

A few years later, Jacobson was accepted into the three-month Rotary Peace Center program at . The experience cemented her decision to join Rotary.


Why Did You Join Rotary? 2015-09-01 05:00:00Z 0

Days of Wine and Rotary

I want to extend a special invitation for you to us for the  Days of Wine and Rotary on Thursday, September 17 from  6:30 to 9:30 at the Harn Homestead.  This lively evening under the stars will feature entertainment from the Super Sonic Love Club, delectable tastes from OKC’s best restaurants and plenty of delicious wines. New this year: a Kendra Scott jewelry pull and a live auction featuring some great trips!  The invitation below has all the details!
And here’s the best part – a discount on tickets!!
Receive $10 off every ticket (regularly $50) purchased for the Days of Wine and Rotary now until 11:55 pm on Wednesday, September 2.   Follow the link below and enter the code WINEWEEK to receive the discount! 
After September 2, tickets will be $50 in advance or $60 at the door.  Visit www.daysandwineandrotary.com for more information.
This is a GREAT fundraising party that allows our club to support local charities, like NewView Oklahoma, and missions around the world.  Please share this information with friends to encourage them to come and if you are a FB user, LIKE Bricktown Rotary and share posts about the event with friends!  Thanks for your support and we look forward to seeing you on September 17!
Sandy Wright
Bricktown Rotary
Days of Wine and Rotary 2015-09-01 05:00:00Z 0

RI President - September Message

There was once a strong young man who was offered a job as a woodcutter. He set about his task with energy: The first week, he turned 18 trees into firewood. The second week, he worked just as hard, but was surprised to find he had chopped only 11 trees. The third week, despite working nonstop from morning till night, the number was six, and he went despairingly to the foreman to offer his resignation. "I am losing my strength. I can no longer cut as many trees as I once could."
The foreman looked at the young man, who seemed to him in fine health. "Have you thought of sharpening your ax?" he asked.
"Sharpen my ax? Who has time to sharpen an ax?" the young man asked indignantly. "I have been too busy chopping wood!"
When we aren't making the kind of progress we feel we should be making, the natural response is to redouble our efforts. Sometimes, though, the better response is not to work harder, but to work smarter. Look at your tools. Analyze your processes. Are you directing your resources in the most effective ways? Or are you pouring all your strength into chopping wood with a dull ax?
For the last 20 years, we have relentlessly beaten the drum of membership in Rotary. We set goals and launch campaigns, all focused on bringing in more and more members. And yet, our overall numbers remain the same.
It is time to sharpen our tools. Instead of focusing on the question, "How can we bring more members into Rotary?" we should be asking ourselves, "How can we add more value to Rotary membership, so that more will join and fewer will leave?"
One way we are doing that is with the new Rotary Global Rewards program, which launched in July. This innovative program allows Rotarians to connect with, and receive discounts and concessions from, businesses and service providers around the world. Individual Rotarians may submit their own business to be included alongside those with which Rotary has already negotiated relationships; the most appropriate offers will be added to the listings. We have also created the option of allowing businesses to return a percentage of their profit on each transaction to our Rotary Foundation, and several companies have already been locked into this part of the scheme. Each month we will update the list with additional offers that we may receive. I urge all of you to try it out by signing up on My Rotary at Rotary.org now. The more Rotarians participate, the stronger, and more beneficial, the program will be.
Much more than another loyalty program, Rotary Global Rewards is a new way to benefit from being a Rotarian, and being part of the Rotary network. It is another way to combine business and service. And it is yet another way to add value to Rotary membership. We cannot forget that our potential members will be asking themselves, "What's in it for me?" We need to demonstrate the value of Rotary by showing that becoming a Rotarian will enrich their lives, as it has ours.
RI President - September Message 2015-09-01 05:00:00Z 0

RI President Message - August 2015

In the 1930s, Ole Kirk Christiansen, a Danish carpenter, had a wooden sign hanging on his wall that read, Det bedste er ikke for godt: "Only the best is good enough." Today, Christiansen is remembered as the inventor of Lego, the colorful plastic bricks beloved by children around the world. But in the early days of the Lego company, its signature product was a wooden duck – one built to the highest standards, out of aged beech, with three coats of clear varnish. Lego's company history tells how Christiansen used his ducks to teach a lesson in quality to his son, Godtfred Kirk:

One evening, when I came into the office, I said to my father: "It's been a good day today, Dad. We've earned a little more." "Oh," said Dad, "what do you mean?" "Well, I've just been to the station with two boxes of our toy ducks for the Danish Co op. Normally they get three coats of varnish, but since it's for the Co-op, I only gave them two. So I saved the business a bit of money." He looked at me in dismay. "Godtfred, fetch those boxes back. Unpack them and give the ducks another coat of varnish. You're not going to bed until the work's done – and you'll do it all on your own." There was no arguing with Dad. And it was a lesson for me about what quality meant.

Today, Lego's quality standards are legendary, and its products are the most popular toys in the world: Lego pieces outnumber humans 86 to 1.

We all recognize that this success stems directly from Lego's business practices – its insistence on quality, efficiency, and innovation. I compare this with our efforts in governance and accountability in Rotary, and realize that sometimes we fall short of the standards expected.

The leaders at the Rotary International, zone, district, and club levels have to maintain the highest standards in governance. The RI president and directors must serve the membership in a meaningful manner; zone leaders must deliver on the investment Rotary makes in them; district leaders must provide dynamic leadership in the district and focus on transparency in accounting and timely reporting of financials; and club leaders must adhere to proper reporting functions and get their clubs onto Rotary Club Central.

Just as Christiansen refused to consider sending a lesser product to any of his clients, so should we refuse to consider giving a lesser effort to any of our work. We must always demand the best of ourselves – in our professional lives, and especially in our Rotary work.

For in Rotary, what is our product? It is not wooden ducks or plastic bricks. It is education, water, health, and peace. It is hope, and it is life itself. For this work, only our best is good enough. I ask you all to remember this – and to do your very best to Be a Gift to the World.

RI President Message - August 2015 2015-08-07 05:00:00Z 0
Welcome to the new Rotary year 2015-08-05 05:00:00Z 0

Nigeria on the brink of becoming polio-free

Nigeria has gone almost one year — longer than ever before — without a case of wild poliovirus. The last case was reported on 24 July 2014 in Kano state. Once the gateway to polio in Africa, Nigeria is paving the way to eradicating the disease on the continent.

But reaching the milestone is only one step on the final road to ending polio and it is too soon to celebrate victory. Until polio is eliminated everywhere, it can return to Nigeria and the rest of Africa. Less than a decade ago, in 2006, polio paralyzed 1,000 people in Nigeria.

For the African region to be certified polio-free, including Nigeria, there must be no polio cases for two more years. To do this, all children in Nigeria and throughout Africa — including those in hard-to-reach and underserved areas — must continue to be protected against the disease. 


Nigeria on the brink of becoming polio-free 2015-07-21 05:00:00Z 0
Sunrise Welcomes 3 Members 2015-07-21 05:00:00Z 0

Co-Rotarians of the Year

OKC Sunrise Rotary recognized two well-deserving members as Co-Rotarians of the Year for their distinguished service. In recognition of their service the club awarded Roxy Butler, 2013-14 and Jeff Gabelsberg, 2014-15 a Paul Harris Fellow (PHF). Both members were new to Rotary, but since joining each has fully embraced Rotary's motto, "Service Above Self", and have given their full commitment to serving.  We thank both members for their contributions!
Co-Rotarians of the Year 2015-07-06 05:00:00Z 0

RI President Message - July 2015

We in Rotary aspire to great deeds. We admire those who gave great gifts to humanity: Abraham Lincoln, who gave the gift of human dignity to the downtrodden; Mother Teresa, who gave the gift of compassion to the forgotten; Mahatma Gandhi, who gave the gift of peaceful change to the oppressed. Their very lives became gifts to the world.

We can be inspired by their example. We can be inspired to ask, how can I, in the life that I live – without neglecting the responsibilities that are so dear to me – how can I, too, become a gift to the world? As I considered my theme, I thought of the lessons I have learned through my Hindu faith. I thought especially of the story of Sudama.

Sudama was a poor child and a bosom friend of Krishna, who was born in a royal lineage as an avatar – an incarnation of the divine. As the two boys grow up, they drift apart, and while Krishna becomes a military leader and king of great repute, Sudama remains a humble villager.

The years go by and Sudama's poverty deepens. Finally, he lacks even food to feed his children. His wife reminds him of his childhood friendship with Krishna: Perhaps it is time to go to the mighty ruler for help. Reluctantly, Sudama agrees, but resolves that he will not go empty-handed. He gathers together a few handfuls of rice – all the food his family has left – and wraps them in a piece of cloth as a gift for his friend.

When Sudama enters the palace, he is overwhelmed by the grandeur and by Krishna's gracious welcome. His meager gift, so carefully prepared, seems a humiliating reminder of his poverty. Krishna embraces Sudama, who hides the hand holding the rice behind his back. Krishna asks what he is holding.

Far from being disdainful, Krishna accepts the rice with gratitude and consumes it with joy as the two sit and talk together. Hours pass, during which the pleasures of their rekindled friendship push all thoughts of his desperate plight from Sudama's mind. When evening falls, Sudama sets out for home – and only then realizes that he has neglected his task. He is returning with nothing, and Krishna has eaten his family's last grains of rice.

Sudama steels himself to return to his hungry children. But standing before his gate, as dawn begins to break, he sees that the hut he left yesterday has become a stately home, and waiting to greet him is his own family: well-dressed, and well-fed by the baskets of food that appeared in their kitchen as Krishna ate each grain of Sudama's rice.

Krishna understood what Sudama had brought him: everything he had to give. In return, Krishna gave him everything he needed. It is never the material value of a gift that matters – it is the love that comes with it. Just as Sudama's gift to Krishna became a gift to Sudama, what we give through Rotary becomes a gift to us. And we all have a choice: whether to keep our gifts to ourselves or give them to others, and Be a Gift to the World.

We have only one chance at our lives. And we will have only one chance at this new Rotary year. This is our time. Let us grasp it. Let us Be a Gift to the World.

RI President Message - July 2015 2015-07-06 05:00:00Z 0

Sunrisers Become PHF

Today, the club celebrated 3 members becoming Paul Harris Fellows (PHF); and our President, Bob Frakes received his PHF +3. The presentation of the Paul Harris Fellow recognition is the The Rotary Foundation's way of expressing its appreciation for a substantial contribution to its humanitarian and educational programs. OKC Sunrise Club heartily congratulates you and thanks you for your commitment to the Rotary Foundation programs.
Sunrisers Become PHF 2015-06-18 05:00:00Z 0

Sunrisers Serving at Food Bank

Another great project for the Regional Food Bank...several OKC Sunrise Rotarians joined forces to pack 490 cases of bread that will serve 6,942 meals to our fellow Oklahomans.
See the gang hard at work by clicking here!
Sunrisers Serving Again!
Sunrisers Serving at Food Bank 2015-06-10 05:00:00Z 0

Member benefits program unveiled as convention draws to a close

RI President-elect K.R. Ravindran introduced a member benefits program at the 9 June closing session of the 2015 Rotary International Convention, saying that many more hands are needed to continue Rotary’s work around the world.

The program, , aims to boost membership and enhance member satisfaction. It will debut on 1 July.

“This innovative new program will allow Rotary members to connect with nearly 700 businesses and service providers from around the world -- and that number is growing,” said Ravindran. “These establishments will offer Rotarians discounts and concessions on the everyday business that you do. And, in many cases, not only will you benefit, but our Foundation will as well, by receiving a contribution with each transaction.”

The program will include discounts on car rentals, hotels, dining, and entertainment. Discounts on more products and services from companies worldwide are expected to be added throughout the year.

“It will be another way to benefit from being a Rotarian and being part of the Rotary network,” said Ravindran, whose presidential theme for 2015-16 is Be a Gift to the World. “I urge all of you to become a part of that scheme.”

Member benefits program unveiled as convention draws to a close 2015-06-09 05:00:00Z 0

Meet RI President 2015-16, K.R. "Ravi" Ravindran

President 2015-16 Rotary Club of Colombo, Sir Lanka

K.R. "Ravi" Ravindran is CEO and founder of a publicly listed company with a worldwide clientele in the tea packaging industry. His company, Printcare Plc, is the winner of national and international awards of excellence. He also serves on the board of several other companies and charitable trusts. He is the founding president of the Sri Lanka Anti-Narcotics Association.

A Rotarian since 1974, Ravindran has served RI as treasurer; director; Foundation trustee; committee member, vice chair, and chair; task force member; RI training leader; and district governor.

As his country's national PolioPlus chair, Ravindran headed a task force consisting of the government, UNICEF, and Rotary and worked closely with UNICEF to successfully negotiate a ceasefire with the northern militants during National Immunization Days. He also chaired the Schools Reawakening project, sponsored by Rotary clubs and districts in Sri Lanka, to rebuild 25 tsunami-devastated schools to benefit 15,000 children.

Meet RI President 2015-16, K.R. "Ravi" Ravindran 2015-06-02 05:00:00Z 0

RI President June Message

When I began this Rotary year as your president, I wanted us, above all, to Light Up Rotary. I wanted us to share with the world how many wonderful friendships and experiences we have found in Rotary, and how Rotary has transformed and enriched our lives. I knew that by telling others about Rotary, we would increase membership, build stronger clubs, and improve our ability to help people in need.

As we end this 2014-15 Rotary year, I am honored by your response and will always be grateful for how you have risen to this challenge. You have answered my call to Light Up Rotary by holding many successful Rotary Day celebrations in your communities; you have outdone yourselves in your contributions to our Rotary Foundation; and you have moved all of Rotary forward with new members and new clubs.

RI President June Message 2015-06-02 05:00:00Z 0

Polio vaccine celebrates 60th anniversary

This past April marked 60 years since the Salk polio vaccine was declared safe, effective, and potent. In that time, the number of polio cases has dropped by 99 percent worldwide. With just three countries remaining polio-endemic, we are closer than ever to eradicating this crippling disease.

Jonas Salk’s inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) has been crucial in helping us reach our goal of a polio-free world. Before the vaccine was widely available, in the United States alone, polio crippled more than 35,000 people each year. By 1957 -- two years after the introduction of Salk’s vaccine -- cases in the U.S. had fallen by almost 90 percent, and by 1979, polio had been eradicated there.

Polio vaccine celebrates 60th anniversary 2015-05-27 05:00:00Z 0

Rotary members in Nepal reach out for help

In Bhaktapur, part of the Kathmandu Valley, a UN World Heritage Site in Nepal, thousands of houses have collapsed, and many of the heritage buildings have been destroyed by the major earthquakes and aftershocks that have devastated the country. Rotary members in Bhaktapur, one of the most densely populated towns in Nepal, are asking the international Rotary community for help and resources.
Learn what Rotary’s partner ShelterBox is doing in Nepal
Rotary members in Nepal reach out for help 2015-05-15 05:00:00Z 0

RI President May Message


One of my favorite parts of a Rotary convention is the House of Friendship. In Chinese, we say: 有朋自遠方來,不亦樂乎. "To have friends come together from faraway places is a wonderful thing."

At the 106th annual Rotary International Convention, 6-9 June, the House of Friendship will reflect the excitement and the diverse blend of cultures of São Paulo, the host city.

In between general sessions, you can relax and enjoy all that Brazil has to offer – sample the cuisine, browse locally made gifts, and take in top-quality entertainment. You also can get ideas for service and find partners at booths showcasing Rotary projects and Rotarian Action Groups.

And best of all, you'll have the opportunity to spend time with old friends and make many new ones.

The House of Friendship is a wonderful place to bring your convention guests – your family and your friends from home. By attending conventions with me, my family experienced the true internationality of Rotary. Eventually my wife, Corinna, and all three of my children joined Rotary clubs.

You and your guests will want to be sure to come early for World Water Summit 7, on 4 June, sponsored by the Water and Sanitation Rotarian Action Group, or for the Rotary Peace Symposium, 4-5 June.

This year we are honored that Dr. Oscar Arias, former president of Costa Rica, will be the keynote speaker at the Rotary Peace Symposium. Arias received the Nobel Peace Prize for brokering a peace agreement that ended the brutal civil wars in Central America.

Other events 4-5 June include the Rotaract Preconvention Meeting, the International Institute, and the Youth Exchange Officers Preconvention Meeting.

When the convention is over, spend time exploring all that Brazil has to offer – pristine beaches just a few hours away, the excitement and glamour of Rio de Janeiro, and the wonders of the Amazon rain forest.

Every year, I return from the Rotary convention inspired to do more, to give more in Rotary service throughout the year. Register today at . I look forward to seeing you in São Paulo!

RI President May Message 2015-05-09 00:00:00Z 0

OKC Sunrise Donates Audiobook

OKC Sunrise Rotary Club donated 112 audiobooks to the Hayes Elementary School, Oklahoma City District last fall to help students with their reading skills. Working in conjunction with the Hayes staff titles were selected to benefit grades Kindergarten through 3rd. Principal Shaun Ross stated "This will definitely be a great value to our student, especially those that might not yet use English as their primary language." Students are able to check-out the audiobooks from the media center and take to read and practice.
Education and literacy is a primary focus for the club;so we are grateful to use grant dollars combined with our own dollars to enhance student learning opportunities in our community.
OKC Sunrise Donates Audiobook 2015-05-09 00:00:00Z 0

Buddy Bench Installed at Hayes Elementary

Some good 'ol manual labor and elbow grease got this service/grant project completed. The bench was purchased, delivered to the Hayes Elementary, OKC Public School and installed on the playground. A metal sign was manufactured to display the school’s mascot (the cardinal) and our club’s logo. Eight Rotarians assisted in the installation of the bench and the graphics, along with a decorative border and mulching.
The club combined their funds plus grant dollars awarded by the District 5750 to complete this project. The "Buddy Bench" project helps students who may feel lonely on the playground without anything to do. Another student will come to the bench and ask the student if they want to play or talk. The Buddy Bench is a simple idea to eliminate loneliness and foster friendship.
Buddy Bench Installed at Hayes Elementary 2015-05-09 00:00:00Z 0

Sunrise Launches 3rd Grade Dictionary Program

OKC Sunrise Rotary Club launched their 3rd grade dictionary program recently at the John Glenn Elementary, Western Heights School District. 125 personalized dictionaries were given to 5 classes of 3rd graders. Lisa Goodman, Bob Frakes, Jim Browning and Jeff Groves (prospective member) explained how to use the dictionaries and told the students the meaning of the Rotary 4-Way Test. The club even provided some exercises that will engage the students to learn how to use the dictionary. Both the students and teachers were very appreciative to receive their very own book.
"Our club has a primary focus on literacy and education, and this is one project we felt could make a positive and immediate impact on the local schools in our area," stated Bob Frakes, President of OKC Sunrise Rotary Club.
More schools are lined up to receive books to include Positive Tomorrows, Moore Public Schools and Oklahoma City Public Schools. Distribution will begin when the new school year begins this year.  If you know of a school be sure to let us know at service@okcsunriserotary.org.
Sunrise Launches 3rd Grade Dictionary Program 2015-05-05 00:00:00Z 0

True Grits...Jeff Bridges is determined to end hunger one breakfast as atime

May 2015 Rotarian Lead Article...The Rotarian Conversation: Jeff Bridges & Billy Shore

In the wealthiest nation on the planet, it takes more than food to end hunger.

Thirty years ago, Billy Shore sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic in Washington, D.C., honking his horn. Shore, a young political operative, was in a hurry to save, or at least improve, the world. He hoped to help his boss, the idealistic Colorado senator Gary Hart, become the next president. His mission would fizzle when the press caught Hart monkeying around extramaritally, but that traffic jam helped improve the world anyway.

While stuck on the road, Shore glanced at that day’s Washington Post. A front-page story told of a famine in Africa and how it had inspired Band Aid, a supergroup of pop stars, to record “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” Eventually, that song would raise $24 million for famine relief and the stars would move on, taking the world’s spotlight with them. By the time Shore finished the article, however, he would be dedicated to blowing the horn on hunger.

True Grits...Jeff Bridges is determined to end hunger one breakfast as atime 2015-04-28 00:00:00Z 0

Rotary Flame arrives in Evanston

The Rotary “Flame” arrived at RI World Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, on Tuesday, 14 April, on its journey from India to São Paulo, Brazil, site of the 2015 Rotary International Convention in June.

The flame was launched in Chennai, India, in December to celebrate India being polio-free and commemorate the 30th anniversary of PolioPlus. The torch has made its way through Colombo, Karachi, Kabul, Sydney, Taipei, Manila, London, and Lagos, and will make an additional stop in Toronto before the convention.

RI President Gary C.K. Huang lit the torch during a ceremony in front of the PolioPlus statue at One Rotary Center, attended by roughly 150 Rotary leaders, RI staff, community members, local Rotarians, and members of the Rotary Club of Madras, India, that created the flame.

Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair John Kenny noted the progress that has been made since Rotary launched the polio eradication campaign in 1985. “The fruits of our labor since that day are clear,” Kenny said. “Ninety-nine percent of the world’s population live in regions certified polio-free. The goal of eradication is closer than ever.”

The audience took a moment to sing happy birthday to Rotary member Mary Stitt, a  frequent participant in National Immunization Day trips, who turned 90.

Rotary Flame arrives in Evanston 2015-04-20 00:00:00Z 0

Making the most of Rotary’s online tools

By Himal Pandya, a member of the Rotary Club of Bhavnagar Royal, Gujarat, India

We conducted a digital workshop recently to give incoming leaders in Rotary District 3060, eastern India, hands-on training on how to use Rotary’s website and various other online tools to manage their clubs and publicize Rotary’s good works. It was my pleasure to walk participants through how to register on Rotary.org, edit their profiles, share a project on Rotary Showcase, and much more.

Making the most of Rotary’s online tools 2015-04-20 00:00:00Z 0
2015 - RI Convention - Be Inspired! 2015-04-06 00:00:00Z 0
Every Day Is World Water Day With Rotary 2015-04-06 00:00:00Z 0

District April Newsletter

District Governor Michelle Schaefer's April newsletter is now available online HERE.
Happy Spring & enjoy this weather!
District April Newsletter 2015-04-06 00:00:00Z 0

RI President's April Message

Today, there are so many more ways to communicate than ever before. In the age of video conferences and instant messages, we can work together from almost anywhere, and always be in touch; we can share our Rotary work on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Rotary.org. But there will always be a tremendously important role for the magazine that you are holding in your hands – or reading on an electronic device – right now.

The Rotarian is one of the oldest continuously published magazines in the world, with an unbroken publication history dating back to its first issue, featuring Paul Harris as a contributor, in 1911. Back then, the magazine was printed in black and white, and was only a few pages. The type was small, the pictures were few, and the advertisements were for piano dealers, haberdashers, and a hotel fully equipped with hot and cold running water!

Now, you can read The Rotarian on your phone or tablet, and regional magazines are published in 24 languages. Seventeen Nobel Prize winners and 19 Pulitzer Prize winners have written for the magazine, including Mahatma Gandhi, Desmond Tutu, George Bernard Shaw, and Nicholas Murray Butler. Every month, The Rotarian brings us a snapshot of the best of the Rotary world: It engages, entertains, enlightens, and inspires.

In an age of constant communication, with so many ways to find new information, do we still need a Rotary magazine? Absolutely. Because the magazine is now, as it has always been, one of the best ways to spread the word about Rotary. It has allowed me to share the fun and excitement of Rotary Days, it showcases the good work of Rotarians around the world, and it puts a spotlight on important issues affecting us all. The Rotarian isn't just enjoyable for Rotarians – it's a great way to boost Rotary's public image, and show the world the work that Rotarians do.

So when you're done reading this issue, pass it along. Ask yourself who might be particularly interested in this month's articles. Give the issue to a friend, a co-worker, or a colleague. Share it with someone you've invited to a Rotary club meeting. Visit www.therotarianmagazine.com to share stories on social media, or send links through email. Use it to Light Up Rotary – just as Rotarians have been doing for more than 100 years.

RI President's April Message 2015-04-06 00:00:00Z 0
Reaching Out To Rotaractors 2015-03-20 00:00:00Z 0

Flat Stanley Visits Our Club!

Flat Stanley Visitor
A special guest, Flat Stanley Lambchop attended our meeting today. Lisa B's grandson invited him. He even participated in the 4-Way Test!
Of the things we think say or do:
1. Is it the TRUTH?
2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Flat Stanley Visits Our Club! 2015-03-19 00:00:00Z 0

Highlighting outstanding members this International Women’s Day

Thousands of women across Rotary deserve recognition on International Women's Day, March 8, and while it isn't possible to highlight them all, we chose to profile several of them. These are women who work tirelessly on behalf of others, and whose efforts touch lives across the world, often in remote and inhospitable places. With projects focused on , , and other humanitarian concerns, these women are proof of Rotary's diversity and .
Highlighting outstanding members this International Women’s Day 2015-03-04 00:00:00Z 0

2015-16: Be a Gift to the World

RI President-elect K.R. "Ravi" Ravindran chose Be a Gift to the World as his theme for 2015-16. Ravindran urges Rotary members to give the gifts of time, talent, and knowledge to improve lives in communities across the globe. "Through Rotary, we can take these gifts and make a genuine difference in the lives of others and in our world."
2015-16: Be a Gift to the World 2015-03-04 00:00:00Z 0

RI President's March Message

In Rotary, we have the opportunity to build bonds of friendship with fellow Rotarians around the world. And once a year, at our international convention, we have the chance to get together with all of our Rotary friends, to share new ideas, plan new service, and just have fun.

What better way to celebrate the end of the 2014-15 Rotary year, and Light Up Rotary with your friends, than to travel together to the 106th annual Rotary International Convention in São Paulo, Brazil? Whether you have never been to a convention before or are an experienced convention goer, this will be one you won't want to miss. Preregistration pricing ends on 31 March, so plan now for the biggest Rotary party of the year.

The convention will begin on Saturday, 6 June, and after the opening ceremony there will be a traditional Brazilian Carnival party and a Samba School Parade at the Anhembi Sambadrome. Even if you think you have no rhythm or can't carry a tune, you will find yourself dancing, singing, and laughing all night long. The party and parade will feature the bright colors, feathers, and sequins of Carnival costumes as well as the sights and sounds of samba, the Afro-Brazilian music and dance, and the delicious food and drinks of São Paulo.

On Monday night, Ivete Sangalo, winner of two Latin Grammy Awards, will entertain Rotarians. And every evening of the convention, Rotary Restaurant Nights will let you enjoy discounts in the culinary capital of Latin America. Savor fish from the Amazon, sushi with a Latin flair, Brazilian beef, and other offerings from some of São Paulo's 30,000 restaurants and bars. Admission to several museums in São Paulo, including the excellent soccer museum, will also be free with your convention badge.

Brazil reflects a diversity almost as great as Rotary's: Paulistanos, as the people of São Paulo are known, have created a lively culture with influences from all over the world. One of the highlights of any Rotary convention is always hospitality night, where you can get to know local Rotarians. Monday night is your chance to experience the paulistano lifestyle with the Rotarians of Brazil – but be sure to book early, as numbers are limited.

In Rotary, service and friendship go hand in hand. As you focus on the work of this Rotary year, I ask you not to lose sight of the importance of international friendship, and to register for the São Paulo convention now, at .

RI President's March Message 2015-03-04 00:00:00Z 0

District February Newletter


District Governor Michelle Schaefer's February newsletter is now available online HERE. There are several important dates and reminders for PETS, Rotary Foundation Grant Writing Seminar, the Bi-District Foundation Banquet, the District Conference, and several other District and club opportunities. 

District February Newletter 2015-03-04 00:00:00Z 0

How Rotary can keep and recruit members



For more than a decade, Rotary's membership has lingered around 1.2 million. That means that for every person who joined during that period, another person left. Last year, membership hit a 10-year low, at 1,185,000, though we've since rebounded, raising the figure this year to 1,207,102.

For RI President Gary C.K. Huang, that's not good enough. He hopes to increase membership to 1.3 million by the end of his term.

"It's simple: The more members we have, the more people we can help," Huang says. "A stronger membership base will result in strong communities."

How can we reach his goal? And how can we keep the members we already have? Here's a look at regions and countries that have increased membership, as well as an overview of ways that Rotary leaders are working to grow our membership.

How Rotary can keep and recruit members 2015-02-12 00:00:00Z 0

Club Service Corner

Good Speakers Make for Good Meetings
I have never been one of those Rotarians who makes my meeting attendance decision based on what’s for lunch or who is our speaker. I go to Rotary meetings because, alas, I enjoy Rotary meetings. I do realize, however, that the day’s program does influence the number of members and guests at some meetings. I saw this first-hand when we had former Connecticut chief forensic guru Henry Lee as our featured speaker several years ago. We had members and guests materialize out of the woodwork! Folks just seem to love his tales of gore and the accompanying photos! The room was filled to capacity.
Clubs often struggle with the challenge of finding new and interesting speakers. And certainly not every presenter lives up to our hope that they’ll be both informative and entertaining. All we can do is our best to provide a creative schedule of diverse and entertaining programs for our members to enjoy.
Club Service Corner 2015-02-12 00:00:00Z 0

RI President's February Message

As president of Rotary, it's my job to encourage and inspire Rotarians wherever I meet them. It's also my job to listen to what they have to say. Whether it's a successful project or a challenge to overcome, a great Rotary Day or a new idea, I want to hear what Rotarians are thinking, doing, and planning. So whenever I travel, I ask my hosts to talk to me about their clubs. What's going well, where do they see a need to improve, and what can we at RI headquarters do to help?

The answers are always interesting and often surprising. Sometimes I have a suggestion or an idea to contribute; sometimes I am able to make a connection that will move a project forward. Often, I go back to Evanston with ideas and insights that help guide us in our decisions. But what I value most about these conversations are the stories I hear – the stories that, taken together, tell the story of Rotary.

In Atlanta, I attended a Rotary event honoring teachers and heard story after story about the gift of literacy and how it transforms lives. In Istanbul, I attended a wheelchair race and learned how Turkish Rotarians are working to improve the lives of people with disabilities. In Lima, Peru, I talked to a former Rotaractor who waited nearly 20 years to be invited to join a Rotary club, and heard about how returning to Rotary has transformed her life.

I've heard stories that have made me laugh, and stories that have moved me to tears. I've heard stories of how our service changes the lives of others, and how it changes us as Rotarians. When I hear these stories, I can't help but wonder: How many other lives could we change for the better by bringing more people into Rotary? And how many more people could we bring into Rotary simply by sharing our own Rotary stories?

In this Rotary year, I ask all of you to do just that: Share your Rotary stories. Tell them to your friends, on social media, and through Rotary.org. Our Rotary stories are what inspire us, and what encourage others to join us; they help light up our service, as we work to Light Up Rotary.

RI President's February Message 2015-02-11 00:00:00Z 0

RI President's January Message

At the beginning of this Rotary year, I asked Rotarians everywhere to Light Up Rotary by holding a Rotary Day. How you do this is something I'm leaving up to you: It can be a full day or just a few hours. It can be organized by your club, by your district, or even across your entire country. It can be a service project, a festival, or any kind of event you want. As long as it's open to the community, embraces the whole family of Rotary, and is fun, it's a Rotary Day.

The goal of a Rotary Day is to shine a light on Rotary. For many years, we in Rotary felt that it wasn't appropriate to boast about our good work. We felt it was best to serve quietly and let our work speak for itself. But today, in many communities, people aren't even aware that they have a local Rotary club. Not because the clubs aren't strong, or because they aren't serving well. They are. But if Rotarians don't talk about their work, people will never know about it.

It is time for us to Light Up Rotary and let people know what we are doing. In the first half of this Rotary year, I've been thrilled to see how many Rotarians have taken up my Rotary Day challenge. I've attended Rotary Days in so many places, including the Philippines, Korea, China, the United States, Turkey, India, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. Every one has been different, and every one has met the challenge to Light Up Rotary in its own way.

If you've organized a Rotary Day in your community, tell us about it: Email details and photos of your event to , with "Rotary Day" as your subject line. We'll do our best to feature as many Rotary Days as possible in the coming months.

And if you haven't planned a Rotary Day yet, why not? It's a great way to share your love for Rotary with your community. When we tell others about Rotary and let them know how membership can enrich their lives, we share a gift that was given to us when we were invited to join our clubs. By passing that gift on, we help ensure that Rotary, and its service, will endure for generations to come.

RI President's January Message 2015-01-29 00:00:00Z 0

Promoting membership with new ideas, even some that challenge tradition

Strengthening Rotary's membership is not just important for incoming district governors, it's critical. That's the message they received from several key speakers at their training event, the 2015 International Assembly in San Diego
For membership to grow, leaders must be willing, for example, to ease stringent club meeting protocols and make other efforts to accommodate a younger, digitally oriented demographic.
Seventy percent of Rotary members are 50 years or older, while half of the world's population is under 30, according to Rotary leaders. The contrast shouldn't be something to fear, but rather something to embrace, said Rotary member Michael McQueen, a bestselling author who studies social change, youth culture, and cultural issues and whose consulting firm, The Nexgen Group, specializes in demographic shifts and social trends.
Promoting membership with new ideas, even some that challenge tradition 2015-01-29 00:00:00Z 0

Intense Training Program Gives Teens New Perspecitves

Students from Israel and Palestine sat together at a local art studio in Encinitas, California, USA, one day last summer, drawing portraits of one another and learning how to live in peace.
Kelly Mellos, an organizer of the project from the Rotary Club of Encinitas Coastal, says that drawing someone who is sitting so close helps break down social barriers between the young people. "They see how many similarities there are between them," she says. "And they begin to understand we are all just people. There is a respect and trust that builds."
Intense Training Program Gives Teens New Perspecitves 2015-01-29 00:00:00Z 0

RI President December Message

If you take a look at the Rotary calendar, it's easy to see where our priorities as an organization lie. The Rotary year begins in July; in August we mark Membership Month, in September we celebrate New Generations, October is for vocational service, and so on, turning our attention to different topics that are important in Rotary.
It's a great idea to do this, because it reminds us to talk about subjects that we might otherwise overlook during our busy Rotary year. But we all know that every topic on our calendar – from fellowship to our Foundation – is important. All of them are part of what makes Rotary what it is, and what makes all of us Rotarians.
In Rotary, December is Family Month. Looking back on my years as a Rotarian, I have seen how important family is in Rotary – and how important Rotary can be to our families.
My wife, Corinna, chose to join Rotary just a few months ago, after many years as a Rotary spouse. All three of our children are also Rotarians. All of them joined their own club, in their own time. All of them have found unique interests in Rotary. As we have watched them find their own paths, we have been struck by how wonderful it is to have so many members of our family involved in Rotary service.
Rotary gives us something good that we can all do together. With Rotary, we always have interesting things to talk about at dinner. We are all involved in different service, in different clubs, so when we sit down together, we are talking about humanitarian needs of every kind, in every part of the world. There is always something new to learn.
Our conversations are also a wonderful way to teach our children, through our own actions, what is really important in life. They learn about what life is like in different parts of the world, and how all of us have an obligation to help others when we can. I can think of no better lessons to teach our families than the lessons of Rotary service.
I hope that in this Rotary year, many of you will encourage your family members to join Rotary, Rotaract, or Interact. Bringing your family into Rotary doesn't just Light Up Rotary – it lights up your own lives as well.
RI President December Message 2014-12-13 00:00:00Z 0

District 5750 4 Way Test VIDEO Scholarship Contest

The 4-Way Test is one of the world's most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics.  It asks the following four questions:

"Of the things we think, say or do:

1. Is it the Truth?
2. Is it Fair to All Concerned?
3. Will it Build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
4. Will it be Beneficial to All Concerned?"

The 4-Way Test was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor (who later served as RI president) and was adopted by Rotary in 1943 as a reality check for promoting high ethical standards in business, community and personal affairs.

The Video Contest:

New this year, we are seeking videos from high school students located within District 5750's boundaries of Oklahoma on how they apply the 4-Way Test to a common dilemma high schoolers currently face.

The rules are as follows:

Student Eligibility:

  • The student submitting the video must currently attend a school within Rotary's District 5750 and be a freshmen, sophomore, junior, or senior.  See map of District 5750 below.
  • The student cannot have been a past 1st place winner of the District 5750 4 Way Speech Scholarship Contest.
  • Relatives of Rotarians are eligible and encouraged to participate.

Video Specifications:

  • Only one video per student.
  • The video must be between 2 - 3 minutes in length.  Any portion of the video that extends past 3 minutes will not be considered.
  • The video must demonstrate the application of the 4 Way Test to a situation, dilemma, or problem today's high schoolers face.  This may be done with music, dance, etc. but the 4 way test must be included and applied within the video.  Be creative.  Be fun.  Be YOU!
  • All qualifying videos will be uploaded for voting.
  • Any video not in the spirit of the 4 Way Test will not be considered.  In such case, an email will be sent back to the student indicating this.

Video Submission for Consideration:  Please upload your video to YouTube then send in the link via email to 4waytestvideo@gmail.com by the deadline date of Friday, February 20, 2015 by 11:59 p.m.  Within the email, please also include student's name, school attending, grade/year in school, parent or guardian's name, phone number and email where student can be reached regarding the scholarship contest.  Please also list your local Rotary Club by name.


Scholarship Awards:  Three $500 awards will be presented on Saturday, March 7th at the President Elect Training Seminar in Stillwater, OK.  The three awards are as follows:

  • "People's Choice Award" will be given to the student whose video has the highest number of "likes" on the district website.  Anyone can vote, and students are encouraged to share through social media to encourage voting in their favor.
  • "Rotarian Spirit Award" will be judged only by District 5750 Rotarians based on the video that most encompasses the spirit of Rotary.  Rotarians will log into Clubrunner to cast this vote.
  • "Out of the Box Award" will be presented to the student who exhibits the most creativity in making this video.  This will be decided by a committee of Rotarians and non-Rotarians.

Not only is this contest a great way to engage the young people in your community, but this is also a great way to encourage local students to learn and utilize the 4 Way Test. Consider holding a local speech, video, or essay contest at a club meeting.

For more information, please contact Chair Jessica Sherrill at 405-365-0616 or jessicas@ossba.org.

District 5750 4 Way Test VIDEO Scholarship Contest 2014-11-13 00:00:00Z 0

Young Rotary leaders exchange ideas at two-day summit

A two-day Young Professionals Summit, held in Chicago in September, gave 32 Rotary leaders ages 25 to 40 the opportunity to share their thoughts about their Rotary experiences, reflect on their stories, and exchange ideas.
Although there are many young leaders within Rotary's global community, there are few opportunities for them to connect with other young professionals and to add their voices to the discussion. The aim of the Young Professionals Summit was to engage participants in open and candid discussions about what's working now in Rotary, ideas for improvements, and ways to extend positive experiences with Rotary to young professionals around the world. Organizers hope that the participants will hold similar events in their own cities to bring more young professionals' voices into conversations about membership, diversity, and the transition from Rotaract and Rotary.
Young Rotary leaders exchange ideas at two-day summit 2014-11-13 00:00:00Z 0

It Turns Out That Fighting Polio Is Good Training To Fight Ebola

Nigeria has been a stubborn hot spot of polio — and that turned out to be a good thing when it came time to fight Ebola.
In late July, a patient with the deadly Ebola virus arrived from Liberia. Health workers knew what to do. The country has created a massive public health effort to wipe out polio; institutions and strategies were repurposed to fight Ebola.
On the other hand, anti-polio efforts in the countries hit hardest by Ebola are on hold — and that could lead to disaster.
First, the good news, from Nigeria.
It Turns Out That Fighting Polio Is Good Training To Fight Ebola 2014-11-13 00:00:00Z 0

RI Presidential Message

November 2014

Four months into this year of working to Light Up Rotary, I am more excited about Rotary than ever before. I've been to 22 countries, visited dozens of cities, and met thousands of Rotarians. I've seen amazing projects and been inspired over and over again by the terrific work Rotarians do all over the world. And I've been privileged to be part of all kinds of Rotary events, from club meetings to Rotary institutes, from Rotary Days to Foundation dinners.

Every event is memorable. I feel especially honored when I am invited to share in club celebrations. To me, taking part in a Rotary club celebration as Rotary International president is like being invited to a family event as an honored guest. Indeed, Rotary is the biggest family in the world.

You could say that Rotary is built of service: Each project is another brick in the big building that is Rotary. If our service forms the bricks, then there is no question that friendship is the mortar that holds those bricks together. I see this every day, but nowhere more clearly than at some of the most special Rotary club events: their centennial celebrations.

Being president of Rotary International in its 110th year, I've been lucky to take part in a number of these. It is natural, when visiting long-serving clubs, to want to know what their secret is – because I have always noticed that the longest-serving clubs are also some of the most productive. They are large, they are active, and they do great work. Not only that, but they have a great time doing it.

Of course, that is their secret: In Rotary, strong friendships and great service go hand in hand. When we enjoy our work, we want to do it. We want to work harder, and we want to work better. We look forward to Rotary meetings. Even when our lives are busy, we make Rotary a priority – because we want to see our friends, and we want to serve.

That is why Rotary is still here, after more than 109 years. In Chinese, we say:


A life without a friend is a life without sun.

Our Rotary friendships give light to our lives, and it is Rotary friendship – as well as service – that lets us Light Up Rotary.

RI Presidential Message 2014-11-13 00:00:00Z 0
District Newsletter - October 2014-10-17 00:00:00Z 0
OKC Sunrise & S&B's Burgers Team Up 2014-10-06 00:00:00Z 0

RI President October Message

In October 1914, Jonas Salk was born – a man who would change world history by inventing the first effective vaccine against polio. When the vaccine was introduced in the United States in the 1950s, polls indicated that polio was one of the nation's two greatest fears, second only to the fear of atomic war. And with good reason: In the 1952 U.S. polio epidemic, 58,000 cases were reported, with 3,145 deaths and 21,269 instances of permanent, disabling paralysis. Globally, polio paralyzed or killed up to half a million people every year.
Soon after the Salk vaccine was created, Albert Sabin developed an oral version, allowing tremendous numbers of children to be immunized quickly, safely, and inexpensively. In 1985, Rotary's PolioPlus program was born, with a simple goal: to immunize every child under age five against this crippling disease. Thanks in large part to the initial success of PolioPlus, in 1988 the 166 member states of the World Health Assembly unanimously set the goal of global polio eradication.
At the time, the idea was breathtakingly ambitious, and many called it impossible. Today, we are closer to this goal than ever before, with only a few hundred cases of polio reported per year, and just three remaining endemic countries. We are on track to achieve full eradication by 2018 – if we can keep up the momentum that has brought us this far.
And this month, we will mark World Polio Day on 24 October, and celebrate the 100th anniversary of Dr. Salk's birth.
I ask you all to Light Up Rotary this month by doing whatever you can to shine a spotlight on our efforts to eradicate polio. Call your government officials and let them know that polio eradication matters to you. Go to endpolionow.org for inspiring stories about Rotary's work, and share them on social media. And make the best investment you'll ever make, by donating to polio eradication right on the endpolionow.org website and earning a two-to-one match on your contribution from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
When we eradicate polio – and we will – we'll have brought the world into a better future, and Rotary into a better future as well. We will have proved ourselves, as an organization, capable of great things. And we will have given our children and grandchildren a gift that will endure forever: a polio-free world.
RI President October Message 2014-10-04 00:00:00Z 0
A thank you from ALS 2014-09-26 00:00:00Z 0

One way how Rotary supports basic education and literacy

In Jamaica, 11-year-old Jordan Allwood reads his classmates a story about a lonely puppy who finds a new family.
The puppy grows into a big dog, enjoys walks along the beach, and survives a frightening autumn day when he is caught in a trap before being rescued by his family. Jordan's story is one of hundreds that were written by children ages 7-11 for a writing contest organized by the Rotary E-Club of the Caribbean 7020 and supported by clubs in 10 Caribbean nations.
The best stories, including Jordan's, were published in "The Butterfly StoryBook," produced by the club and sold through Amazon.com. Rotary members and others are encouraged to donate copies to school libraries. Proceeds are used to support other literacy efforts.
One way how Rotary supports basic education and literacy 2014-09-11 00:00:00Z 0

RI Presidential Message - Sep 2014

RI President Huang
One of the great privileges of being president of Rotary International is having the chance to visit so many parts of the Rotary world. Usually I travel to participate in Rotary events; speak at Rotary clubs, conferences, and institutes; and encourage Rotarians in their service. But as president, I am responsible for all branches of the Rotary family. This means that it is also my privilege to support the service of Rotary's youngest generations: our Rotaractors, Interactors, Rotary Youth Exchange students, and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards participants.
When I see the work Rotarians do, I am always impressed, always excited, and always inspired. When I see the work of our New Generations, I am all of this – and frequently I am surprised as well. Not by the quality of their work – for I have learned to expect great things from them – but by the creativity and ingenuity of their thinking. I look at what they have done and think not just "What a great job!" but "What a great idea!" Because every generation sees the world in a unique way, and every individual has a unique point of view. Faced with the same problems, we arrive at different solutions. This is why, in Rotary, our diversity – of culture, language, expertise, gender, and age – is our strength.
In Rotary, we try to take the long view in our service. We aspire to serve in ways that will make a lasting difference, that will continue to have an impact after our participation ends. Our younger generations, in my experience, share this sentiment, and apply it globally, by focusing on environmental issues in new and innovative ways. When I became a Rotarian, environmental issues were barely on our radar. To young people today, these concerns are front and center. Their perspective is a valuable contribution to the world of Rotary service, and it is one that we should all encourage and support. Just as they are learning from us, so should we be learning from them.
The young people who are serving in Rotaract and Interact, and participating in Youth Exchange and RYLA today, are the Rotarians of tomorrow. When we support them, we are supporting the future of our entire organization. We are helping to train the men and women who will be the club presidents, district governors, RI directors, and RI presidents of tomorrow.
RI Presidential Message - Sep 2014 2014-09-05 00:00:00Z 0

OKC Sunrise Rotary Meets the ALS Challenge!

We accepted the ALS Challenge issued by the South Oklahoma City Rotary Club.We had ELEVEN of our 16 members present! Now, we challenge the Del City Rotary Club, the Edmond Summit Rotary Club and the Stillwater Centennial Rotary Club, the only other District 5750 morning Rotary Clubs, as well as the OKC Midtown Rotary Club to accept the challenge. (NOTE: We had a blast!)
OKC Sunrise Rotary Meets the ALS Challenge! 2014-09-03 00:00:00Z 0

RI Presidential Message - August

In Rotary, we mark August as Membership and Extension Month. There is a good reason why we remind ourselves of the importance of membership early in every Rotary year: because the job of growing our membership is one that we can never begin too soon. It is also a job that we can never stop working on. In order to keep serving, Rotary always needs to be growing!
We have talked for many years about the importance of the family of Rotary. In this Rotary year, I want to make not just the family of Rotary, but our own Rotary families, a priority in our membership. After 37 years of following me in Rotary, my wife, Corinna, finally became a Rotarian last year. We attended the chartering of a new club in Taiwan together, and she said, "It's time for me to become a Rotarian too!" So she joined that club. And soon, so did a lot of other people. Now that club has 102 members, and it's the second-largest club in Taiwan.
Inviting our spouses into Rotary isn't just about getting our numbers up. It addresses the reality that Rotary still has far more men as members than it does women, and that is something we need to work on. When we bring more women into Rotary, our clubs become more appealing to prospective female members – and become more productive as well.
RI Presidential Message - August 2014-08-19 00:00:00Z 0
Rotary Trip Around the Word 2014-08-12 00:00:00Z 0

RI President Gary C.K. Huang's ambitious membership goal

Gary C.K. Huang never imagined he would become Rotary International's president when he joined in 1976, but now that he is in office, he hopes to increase membership to 1.3 million by the end of his term. Huang has a track record of improving membership development in Asia, adding 19 clubs when he was district governor for Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau.


RI President Gary C.K. Huang's ambitious membership goal 2014-08-05 00:00:00Z 0
July District Newsletter Now Available 2014-07-28 00:00:00Z 0
Polio Vaccinators Make Significant Headway In Nigeria 2014-07-28 00:00:00Z 0

Blown Away By The Realities Of Human Trafficking

At the age of 17, Jennifer was sleeping on the streets of Atlanta.
She'd felt abandoned most of her life, unprotected from her brothers and her mother's boyfriends, who physically and sexually abused her since she was five. And now, kicked out of her house, Jennifer - whose last name is withheld for privacy - was alone and vulnerable. She was soon lured into sex trafficking and was unable to escape for two years. Then she found Covenant House.
Blown Away By The Realities Of Human Trafficking 2014-07-28 00:00:00Z 0

Pedaling Coast-To-Coast For A Purpose

At the tender age of 50, he's set out on an eight-week, 4,400-mile bike ride across the U.S. to raise $25,000 for The Rotary Foundation.  He's also hoping to raise an additional $2,500 for Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport, Massachusetts, where a few years ago he was treated for a life-threatening heart condition.

"The trip is sort of my midlife crisis," he admits but it's not the first time he's pedaled across the country. He made the trek about 20 years ago, before he married his wife, Christina.

Pedaling Coast-To-Coast For A Purpose 2014-07-28 00:00:00Z 0

RI President's July Message

I find many traditional Chinese values reflected in Rotary: values of service and responsibility, of respect for family and for others. Sometimes I call Confucius the world's first Rotarian, because even though he died 2,500 years before Rotary was founded, his ideas are very much Rotary ideas. And one of the things he said was: 與其抱怨,不如改變.

In English, you say, "It is better to light a single candle than to sit and curse the darkness."

I think that one line sums up the way we in Rotary approach the problems of the world. There is so much difficulty. There are so many people who need help. Many people look at this and say, "There is nothing I can do." So they do nothing -- and nothing changes.

But this is not the Rotary way. The Rotary way is to light a candle. I light one candle, you light one candle -- and so do 1.2 million other Rotarians. Together, we can do so much more than we could ever do alone. Together, we can light up the world.

In 2014-15, I am asking each of you to light your own Rotary candle -- and Light Up Rotary together.

There are so many ways to Light Up Rotary. I hope many of you will choose to host a Rotary Day, to show your community what Rotary is and what we do. I hope you will involve your Rotaract and Interact clubs in your service, to bring the new generation of the Rotary family closer to Rotary membership. And I hope you will keep Rotary strong by inviting new members into Rotary – including your own spouse and family.

Perhaps the most important thing we can do to Light Up Rotary is to finish the job we've been working on for more than a quarter of a century: the eradication of polio. We are so close to our goal. But we will get there only if we keep up the fight, keep up the momentum, and close the funding gap for the polio endgame plan.

Light Up Rotary is our theme for this year, but it is more than just a theme. It is how we in Rotary see the world and our role in it. We believe that no one should sit alone in the darkness. Instead, we can come together, all 1.2 million of us, to Light Up Rotary. This is our goal -- and my challenge to you.

RI President's July Message 2014-07-24 00:00:00Z 0

Rotary breaks records, puts polio on notice at Sydney convention

Polio took a hit at this year's Rotary convention in Sydney, Australia.

First there was the record-breaking climb across the that raised enough money to protect 240,000 kids from polio. On 30 May, two days before the official opening of the convention, 340 participants ascended the bridge, eclipsing the record previously held by Oprah Winfrey for most climbers on the bridge. Waving 278 flags, they also broke the Guinness World Record for most flags flown on a bridge.

Rotary breaks records, puts polio on notice at Sydney convention 2014-07-24 00:00:00Z 0

Howard Buffet wants to end hunger by 2046

Howard Buffett is on deadline. In 2006, his father, U.S. investor and philanthropist Warren Buffett, challenged him to do something great in the world – and gave him $1 billion to do it. So he gave himself 40 years to spend every penny in a bold attempt to end global hunger.

Howard Buffet wants to end hunger by 2046 2014-05-19 00:00:00Z 0
Rotary Project creates cookbook for the visually impaired 2014-05-19 00:00:00Z 0

Rotary supports WHO's recommendation on recent polio transmission

Rotary supports the World Health Organization director-general's statement that polio is a public health emergency of international concern. Additionally, Rotary echoes WHO's recommendations for residents and long-term visitors in Pakistan, Cameroon, and Syria and in polio-endemic countries to receive immunizations against the disease before they travel.
Rotary supports WHO's recommendation on recent polio transmission 2014-05-12 00:00:00Z 0

District 5750 Conference This Week

It's once again time to celebrate the work we've done in our local and global communities! Join us for the District 5750 Conference in Midwest City and help us end the year with a bang! Rooms are available at a discounted rate at the Sheraton Midwest City Hotel under the group name 'Rotary District 5750 Conference'.

District 5750 Conference
May 15-17, 2014

Reed Center, Sheraton Hotel
5750 Will Rogers Rd
Midwest City, OK 73110



District 5750 Conference This Week 2014-05-12 00:00:00Z 0

Peace Corps and Rotary Kickoff Historic Collaboration

In an effort to promote global development and volunteer service, Rotary and Peace Corps have agreed to participate in a one-year pilot program in the Philippines, Thailand, and Togo. Under the agreement, Rotary clubs and Peace Corps volunteers are encouraged to share their resources and knowledge to boost the impact of development projects in these three countries.
Peace Corps and Rotary Kickoff Historic Collaboration 2014-05-12 00:00:00Z 0

RI President's Message

I've had a unique opportunity to be a part of the polio eradication campaign from its very beginnings, more than a quarter century ago, to where we are now, which is truly "this close" to the end.

None of us knew back then how long eradication would take, or how many obstacles we'd meet along the way. I'm not sure how we would have felt about taking on the challenge if we had known. But there is one thing I know for sure: that every single day of the last 29 years has been worth it. Because over those years, we have saved millions of children from being paralyzed by polio. There's no way to put a price tag on that. And today, we are closer than ever to a world in which no child will be paralyzed, ever again.

It's been a long race to the finish line. That line is now in sight. But we'll only cross it if we keep moving forward. And the only way to do that is with the help of every single Rotarian, everywhere in the world.

The first thing we need is your voice, and your advocacy. Think ahead to World Polio Day, on 24 October: What can your club and district do to raise awareness? Write letters to your elected officials, hold a purple pinkie fundraiser, plan an event with a local school. If you or someone you know has a story to tell about polio, share it at www.endpolionow.org/stories. The most important thing is to keep the momentum going. Let your community, and the world, know that the fight against polio is at its most critical stage yet.

I'm glad to report that the End Polio Now – Make History Today campaign is going well. Rotary met the terms of the new agreement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and received US$70 million in matching funds in January, which will be fully committed in this calendar year. We have four more years of this agreement remaining, during which the Gates Foundation will match two-to-one every dollar Rotary spends on polio, to a maximum of $35 million per year. I encourage all of you to do what you can to help us make the most of this opportunity. I know that together, we can engage Rotary to end polio – and change the world, forever.

RI President's Message 2014-05-12 00:00:00Z 0

How Rotary Ideas is changing the landscape of crowdsourcing

Rotary Ideas helps clubs connect for funding, volunteers, partnerships, and in-kind donations. Where once they had to rely on Rotary to make this connection -- either through ProjectLINK or by phone or email -- clubs can now post their needs and find projects to support themselves. More than 83 projects have been featured on Rotary Ideas since it launched in August 2013.

How Rotary Ideas is changing the landscape of crowdsourcing 2014-05-12 00:00:00Z 0

Reflecting on Peace

Recently, RI President Sakuji Tanaka visited District 5750 and District 5770 for our annual Bi-District Foundation Banquet. RI President-Elect Ron Burton, a fellow Oklahoman, took Mr. Tanaka to the Oklahoma City National Memorial. All Oklahomans know the importance of peace and understanding from this tragic moment in our history. However, through Rotary, we can make "Peace Through Service" a reality beyond our community, our great state, and our country. As President Tanaka said, "However we define peace, whatever peace means to us, we can bring it closer through service."
Reflecting on Peace 2014-04-16 00:00:00Z 0
April District Newsletter Now Available 2014-04-16 00:00:00Z 0

Polio milestone attracts media attention

The certification of the World Health Organization's Southeast Asia region as polio-free has led to many stories in the media highlighting Rotary's instrumental role in achieving this important milestone. General Secretary John Hewko joined Rotary member Devin Thorpe last week in a live Forbes.com interview to discuss how we will eradicate polio in the three countries where it still exists: Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Watch the video and check out these media mentions.
Polio milestone attracts media attention 2014-04-15 00:00:00Z 0
District International Projects for 2013 2014-04-04 00:00:00Z 0

RI President Ron Burton's Message

Fellow Rotarians,

Growing up in Duncan, Okla., USA, I took it for granted that everyone could read. In my own elementary school, not only were we expected to be reading by the age of seven or eight, we were expected to read upside down. We each took turns reading books to the entire class, and of course, if you want to read out loud to a group while you show them the pictures, you can't do it the right way up. All the way through elementary school, we did that every week, until it...

RI President Ron Burton's Message 2014-04-04 00:00:00Z 0