Innovative effort sparks two new clubs

By Yvonne Kumoji, 2020-21 governor of District 9102

As an incoming district governor, my training at Rotary’s annual leadership event in January 2020 in San Diego, California, included information on forming new clubs and new club models. Words that then-President-elect Holger Knaack had shared with us resonated in my mind, words like innovation, adaptation, change, being different. Then I thought about Toastmasters, and wrestled with how those thoughts fit together.

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Why our e-club is focused on WASH

E-club member Geoff Elliott at a water intake project in Ecuador.

By Chris Bloore, inaugural President, E-Club of WASH District 9980 (New Zealand)

A decade ago, Rotary water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) projects were having mixed results and limited sustainability. Establishing an e-club dedicated to WASH was a way to apply the discipline of humanitarian work psychology to volunteer-based aid programmes to address these issues. By carefully matching volunteers’ skills, experience, and personality to the real needs of sustainable water and sanitation projects, Rotary projects could give better value for the time, money and effort expended.

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Myanmar refugees charter new club in Indiana

Members of the Southport International Rotary Club in Indianapolis load boxes of food for a food drop.

By Jeff Lake, Rotary Club of Indianapolis, Indiana, USA

I began to work with the nonprofit organization Chin Community of Indiana in 2016 after our club’s foundation granted them $250,000 over five years, with a three-year extension through 2023. Many Burmese Chin, fleeing persecution in their home country, have chosen Southport as their new home. Almost 20,000 Chin live on the south side of Indianapolis, making it one of the largest concentrations of Chin people outside of Myanmar.

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How we use our social media accounts matter

Jeffry Cadorette

By Jeffry Cadorette, past RI director and chair of Rotary International’s Communications Committee

Most of us have social media accounts that we use to promote Rotary. In our network are Rotary friends, but also family, friends, and colleagues outside of Rotary. This is all very good.

Many of our profile banners include a stamp that says “Proud Member” or “End Polio Now” along with our mark of excellence, the Rotary logo. We have photos of club events we attended (from the time when we could attend events in person). Our posts go to both members and those outside the Rotary family.

What could be wrong with that? Continue reading

Italian Rotarians spread joy of giving

Trustee Chair K.R. Ravindran (bottom left) takes part in a virtual major donor event organized by Rotary District 2060 in Venice, Italy.

By Omar Bortoletti, Endowment/Major Gifts Adviser for Zone 14

The Rotary Foundation reminds us constantly why we are here. It reminds us who it is we serve. It reminds us that these days, these hours, while we yet walk this earth – that this is our time and we must grasp it.” These were the words of K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran, Trustee chair of The Rotary Foundation, during the recent major donor event organized by District 2060 in northeastern Italy.

Rotarians in Venice, Italy (under the leadership of District Governor Diego Vianello), had long planned to host Ravindran during Foundation Month last November, but when the pandemic persisted, we found ourselves organizing a virtual event in lieu of an in-person dinner to recognize new major donors. Continue reading

Nigeria conference celebrates youth, collaboration

By Christian Stephen, Elelenwo Rotaract Club, Nigeria

Recently, a friend asked me what Rotaract was all about, and what benefit it provided. It gave me a moment to reflect. Having been a Rotaractor for more than six years, I can boldly say that there has never been a better time than now to embrace the responsibility that Rotaract offers, and to use it to create innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Continue reading

3 ingredients to keep members happy

Members of the Metro Bethesda Rotary Club enjoy a service project.

By Barton Goldenberg, member of the Metro Bethesda Rotary Club, Maryland, USA

I had the pleasure to be invited recently to an online Rotary discussion regarding member apathy. We were two past district governors, an assistant governor, two past club presidents – one from a large club and one from a smaller club— and a community service chair from a large club.

The topic was why some (many?) Rotarians are reluctant to participate or get involved in Rotary activities. Based on a district-wide survey of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic I facilitated in June at the end of my governor year (results are posted on our district website), we knew we would be facing membership challenges this Rotary year, particularly around member engagement. Continue reading

RYLA fuels creation of new clubs

Jeffrey Thompson, Elizabeth Piwonka, Madalyn Smith, and Sarah Jenkins were motivated to create a new club from their experience leading RYLA camps in District 5830 in 2019 and 2020.

By Sarah Jenkins, president of the E-Club of Leaders in Service (District 5830), Texas, USA

In 1996, Rotary District 5830 held its first ever RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards). On the 25th anniversary, a group of alumni decided it was time to start our own Rotary club. Rather than creating a traditional club, we decided to be innovative and chartered the Rotary E-Club of Leaders in Service in February 2020 with 22 Rotary program alumni, all former participants and staff from RYLA 5830. Continue reading

3 ways to create a harassment-free zone at Rotary

Katey Halliday

By Katey Halliday

We have no place for harassment in Rotary. People won’t join or stay if they are exposed to harassment.

Rotary’s policy on maintaining a harassment-free environment at meetings, events, and activities makes it clear that harassment will not be tolerated. It even stipulates that all Rotary leaders, including club presidents, shall be provided with annual training on Rotary International’s policies on the topic. Continue reading

Pursuing our mentoring moments

Elizabeth Usovicz

By Elizabeth Usovicz, Rotary International director-elect

When I speak with Rotary members about the importance of mentoring future leaders, I often hear, “I would love to be a mentor, but I don’t have the time.”

My response is a question and this story. Continue reading