Virtual Rotary Choir keeps the music going

Members of the IFRM Virtual Rotary World Choir during a recent online concert.

By Bonnie F. Sirower, past district governor of District 7490 (New Jersey, USA) 

A lot of Rotary members are not aware of the opportunities they have to dramatically increase their friendships and connections through a Rotary Fellowship.

I first joined the International Fellowship of Rotarian Musicians (IFRM) at the 2005 Rotary International Convention in Chicago. I was drawn to their booth in the House of Friendship by the number of people having fun singing to the accompaniment of a pianist. I joined the fellowship right then and there and for several years, participated in the Rotary World Choir at conventions during the Interfaith Service on Sunday mornings. What a beautiful way to be together – making gorgeous music with people who had previously been strangers. Continue reading

Public image in the age of COVID-19

By Laura Spear, assistant Rotary Public Image Coordinator for Zone 32

How can your club promote your activities and service projects if almost all of it is virtual today? Your club’s website and social media channels are now more important than ever.

Many clubs are meeting virtually, using tools like Zoom, WebEx, and GoToMeeting. Capture a screen image of your members and post it on your digital channels to show that your club remains active. Post club bulletins and newsletters to update your members and community on your club’s activities, even if you aren’t meeting in person. Consistent communication with both members and the public is essential for keeping your club visible in your community. Continue reading

Raise for Rotary: your new tool for doing good in the world

Donor engagement manager Stephanie Adomaitis and her son, Danny, learning to ride his bike.

By Stephanie Adomaitis, manager of donor engagement for The Rotary Foundation

In my position at Rotary International, I have seen the importance of strengthening our Rotary Foundation. Funds we raise support grants that allow Rotary members to take action to solve complex issues in their communities and around the world.

I’m excited to share about a new online tool, Raise for Rotary, that will give individuals another powerful means to raise the funds necessary to support our Foundation. Continue reading

Month by month, pillar by pillar: Engaging my club in Positive Peace

KC Williams

By KC Williams, president, Rotary Club of Maryville, Tennessee, USA

I absolutely love being a member of Rotary. My Rotary membership experiences both in the United States and in the Caribbean over the past 15 years have created a lasting impact on my life choices and experiences. So, it is not lightly that I admit that I have successfully avoided serving as president of a Rotary club until now and, as usual, my timing is impeccable. Continue reading

5 ways to support education during the pandemic

Hero imageBy Rotary Voices staff

The COVID-19 crisis has created significant challenges in education. Developing remote learning plans and using new technology compounds the already complex task of teaching children and achieving the desired educational outcomes. Rotarians are quick to want to help, but not all responses have the same kind of impact. Read these suggestions for Rotary clubs wanting to support education sustainably through a global grant project. Continue reading

The magic of Rotary: touching lives in Indonesia

Eva harvests paddy field

Eva Kurniaty harvests a paddy field that was turned into productive land through a global grant.

Eva Kurniaty

Eva Kurniaty

By Eva Kurniaty, Rotary Coordinator, Past District Governor, and member of the Rotary Club of Jakarta Sunter Centennial, Indonesia

When I was a district governor in 2013, there was a Rotary club in my district, in Cilacap, Central Java, that only had a few members. My senior leaders advised me to terminate the club since they were inactive, held no meetings, conducted no projects, and never contributed to The Rotary Foundation. But I was determined not to end it; I knew it was possible to revive it. Continue reading

No use crying over spilled milk

Martin Cohn holds up containers of Green Mountain Yogurt made from surplus milk.

By Martin Cohn, past president of the Rotary Club of Brattleboro, Vermont, USA 

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vermont dairy farmers were in trouble. With the close of colleges and restaurants, there was too much supply of milk. This excess was headed to be spilled into mudholes. At the same time, the need to help food-insecure families was increasing. How could food that was being wasted reach people who needed food?

That’s when I heard about a project where the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets was coordinating an effort to recover raw milk from being disposed of while creating a new, temporary food supply for Vermont Foodbank. In collaboration with the Vermont Community Foundation, $60,000 was made available to purchase this milk for the benefit of Vermonters. These efforts were particularly important as Vermont’s dairy industry, like all sectors, had been challenged by COVID-19 but remain essential to the state’s food supply. However, more money was needed. Continue reading

How to plan a virtual World Polio day event

2019 WPD event

Local civic and government officials and representatives from ten Rotary clubs at the 2019 World Polio Day event. Photo by David Andrews

By David F. Andrews, three-time past president, Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood, Ontario, Canada, and chair of District 7070’s Public Image Committee

After many years of celebrating World Polio Day with proclamations, updates from Rotary and health leaders, and flag-raising ceremonies, the 10 Rotary clubs in District 7070 (Ontario, Canada) took a different course in 2018. An in-person event held in a new global classroom and simultaneously streamed live is now serving as a great model as we approach holding our first World Polio Day live event in a COVID-19 world.

Continue reading

Peacebuilding during a time of upheaval

Global Cyber Peace Conference

A delegation of 30 Papua New Guinea participants funded by the Evangelical Lutheran Church take part in the Global Cyber Peace Conference.

Elaine Pratley

Elaine Pratley

By Elaine Pratley, Rotary Peace Fellow

This has not been an easy year. I attended my first virtual funeral because of local lockdowns due to COVID-19. Friends have lost jobs and loved ones, and the news about the global recession remains bleak. And to think that it was only three months ago when I thought the Australian bushfires were the biggest disaster to hit us this year! I feel the word “upheaval” would be an understatement, but I cannot think of a better word.

As a peacebuilder, conflict is at the core of my business. Peacebuilders do not consider conflict as inherently bad but recognize its potential for growth and positive change. Continue reading

Promoting peace on the Pakistan-India border

Rotary members at Kartarpur Sahib

In March, members of Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact from both Pakistan and India gathered together at Kartarpar Sabib a shrine holy to Sikhs.

By Sajid Pervaiz, past governor of District 3272, member of the Rotary Club of Ruryila, Pakistan

In March, members of Rotary, Rotaract, and Interact from both Pakistan and India gathered together at a holy shrine on the border for an afternoon of food, fun, and fellowship. It was a small, but significant step toward building peace between our two countries. Continue reading