How do we innovate at Rotary?

By John Hewko, Rotary International General Secretary

Innovation and flexibility. Those are two words you hear a lot today when we think about any organization adapting to a rapidly changing environment.  But what do those two words mean for Rotary?

In short, they will define Rotary’s future, because they are fundamental pillars of our strategic plan for enhanced impact, reach, engagement and adaptability. Continue reading

What a Rotary club can do with even a little bit of money

Burton at well

Joi Burton takes a drink from a new well during a trip to Kenya. A grant project between District 5790 and Homa Bay, Kenya, provided the well.

By Joi Burton, International Service Chair for District 6170 and member of the Rotary Club of North Garland County, Arkansas, USA

I have always had a dream of going to Africa. Soon after I joined Rotary in 1991, I noticed an article in The Rotarian that a Rotary club from Eugene, Oregon, was going to Kenya to work on some projects. They were inviting people to go with them, and when I contacted them they accepted my offer. We visited several Rotary projects and a Rotary Club in Nairobi. That was the beginning of a long and productive relationship between my club at the time, Arlington South, Texas, and the people of Kenya that demonstrated the impact even a small club can have through the magic that is Rotary. Continue reading

7 tips for creating compelling social media content

Harvard Community Garden

Elizabeth Sanchez and her mother, Reina Montes, harvest vegetables from a community garden in Harvard, Illinois, a  project of the local Rotary club. Use photos like these in your social media posts to show Rotarians as People of Action, and clearly address the problem, solution, and impact. Photo by Monika Lozinska/Rotary International

By Ashley Demma, social & digital specialist for Rotary International

It’s hard to believe that social media has been around for more than twenty years. From the early days of crafting the perfect AIM away message in the late ‘90s to the rise of sharing photography on Instagram … social media has certainly come a long way and continues to evolve. It’s important to remember why we started getting “social” in the first place: to connect with one another.

Sharing stories that show Rotarians as People of Action on social media is an easy and effective way to amplify your club’s success to the world and build awareness and understanding of what we do. Below are 7 tips to create engaging social media content: Continue reading

How to improve your photography: telling Rotary’s story in pictures

Rotarians and Rotaractors plant mangrove trees at Bonefish Pond National Park in Nassau.

By Alyce Henson, Rotary International staff photographer

Over the last year, I have worked on a few assignments highlighting club projects in Nassau, Bahamas, and Seattle, Washington, USA. Each project demonstrates how Rotarians take action to solve problems in their own communities. These type of projects translate well into visual storytelling content.

My approach to photography remains consistent with the Rotary brand: I strive to make authentic images that represent the values and personality of Rotary. Because of this, I am able to create appealing images that tell a bigger story – one that reflects the projects and people who make the world a better place.

Using photography to tell a story can become complex and challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. By following a few guidelines, having a focused mindset, and applying a bit of confidence, you can take great pictures with less intimidation. Below are some photo tips based on recent images I took in Nassau and Seattle. Try these, and you might be surprised what you can capture. Continue reading

Firefighter exchange builds bonds

Firefighter exchange

Firefighters from Argentina and Florida, USA, share techniques during an exchange sponsored by Rotarians in both countries.

By Celia Giay, past RI vice president and a member of the Rotary Club of Arrecifes, Buenos Aires, Argentina

The idea for our firefighter exchange was born when my club received a visit from local volunteer firefighters. Club members listened attentively as our guests explained their dream of continuing to learn better ways to protect their community, and on that very night we set a goal to organize an international exchange to make that possible. Continue reading

Changing public perception of homelessness

Rotaractors deliver Bento Boxes

Rotaract members in the Taipei Tin Harbour club talk with a homeless person as they deliver a single-meal home-packed “Bento Box.” Members are trying to change people’s stereotypes of the homeless.

By Elyse Lin, Rotaract Club of Taipei Tin Harbour, Taiwan

Being a part of the Rotary family for years, I’ve learned to be more aware of social issues in our community. Having taken part in a number of service projects, I started to think about what we could do to make sustainable change in the city.

Homelessness is a complicated issue in Taipei. Most people have a stereotype of the homeless that makes it difficult for them to find a job or break out of the vicious cycle they are in. We decided to take action to meet the basic needs of people living on the street and change people’s perceptions about the homeless. Continue reading

Rotary’s Intellectual Property team wins award

RI’s Intellectual Property team with the Trademark Review Industry Award. From left: Melinda Torres; general counsel assistant; Jomarie Fredericks, deputy general counsel; Beth Wollar, IP paralegal; Steven Routburg, general counsel; Angela Baluk, assistant general counsel; and Chris Cardenas, licensing specialist.

By Jomarie Fredericks, deputy general counsel, Chief Intellectual Property Counsel for Rotary International 

We’re very excited to let you know that RI’s Intellectual Property team won the World Trademark Review Industry Awards for Best Nonprofit Team 2018, beating out the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, the American Red Cross, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH and the Scotch Whisky Association. Please share in this recognition with us because the trademark protection effort extends to each and every one of the members!

Did you know that the name “Rotary” and the Rotary Wheel are registered trademarks? That’s right. The “Rotary Marks” are owned by Rotary International and used by the clubs and districts under guidelines set forth by the RI Board. Trademark ownership is a property right – sort of like owning a house or a car!  Continue reading

Why you want to risk

Visalia Rescue Mission in Visalia, California, USA.

By Ryan Stillwater, a member of the Visalia County Center Rotary, California, USA

On my walk to work on a recent morning, air crisp and clear after an overnight rainstorm, I walk past a man sitting on the street corner. I immediately recognize him as a former resident in our Life Change Academy, who left early on in the program. I nicknamed him Logan, due to his striking resemblance to one of my favorite X-Men comic book characters — with his muscular frame and prominent dark sideburns and stubble. This morning, he is angry and making loud threats against a man (not present) who had very personally wronged him. “Are you ok?” I ask. “No!” he screams, eyes fixed on an invisible enemy. I am standing with Wolverine – the enraged persona of the gentle man I had known. Continue reading

Thousand Flags event connects community

High school students work on posting flags for the event.

By Cheryl M. Scott, a member of the Bakersfield Breakfast Rotary Club, California, USA

Imagine a sparkling lake, surrounded by rolling hills dotted with red, white, and blue flags flapping in the gentle breeze. Picture a three-year-old boy with a miniature flag, running beside the patriotic spectacle…or a high school senior in cap and gown, smiling proudly for her picture-taking mom in front of the colorful backdrop. Now, imagine an Army veteran, dressed in a beret and fatigues, leaning on his cane for support in his slow, deliberate walk among the sea of American flags. Continue reading

Together we transform, one mangrove at a time

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By Hope A. Sealey, president, Rotary Club of East Nassau, Nassau, Bahamas. Photos by Alyce Henson, Rotary International.

Storm damage and coastline erosion are threatening many shores around the world, especially islands in the Caribbean. On top of these concerns, climate challenges are vastly affecting the natural ecosystems of these islands. And the island of New Providence, Bahamas, is no exception.

Bonefish Pond National Park, which was established in 2002, has one of the last remaining mangrove systems on New Providence island. During the time of its establishment, part of the park was a dumping ground but the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) – a non-profit organization that manages the country’s national parks – has been working ever since to clean up the park and turn it into a thriving mangrove area.

Some people might ask, why mangrove trees? Continue reading