By David Harmon, president, Rotary Club of Ballina on Richmond, New South Wales, Australia
If we want to reverse the decline in membership that many clubs have been experiencing the last 10 years, we need to have a cause that engages our members and communities. With this in mind, our Rotary club created a focus group three years ago that searched for an issue that would make a real difference in our community. After carefully consideration we decided to adopt a project to address domestic violence and family abuse. Since our involvement in this project, we have grown from 31 members to 76 members.
Editor’s Note: In September 2020, Rotary formed a taskforce charged with assessing the current status of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in Rotary and shaping a comprehensive action plan to help us further value and live those principals throughout the organization. This is the first installment of a series of blog posts from DEI Taskforce members reflecting on their work on the committee and why it is critical for the organization.
Katey Halliday is a past president and founding member of the Adelaide City Rotaract Club, and a member of the Rotary Club of Adelaide Light. She initiated her district’s first-ever participation in the local Pride March celebrations and is a member of her Rotaract club’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) working group. Professionally, she is a diversity and inclusion project officer and training facilitator for South Australia Police (read her full bio). We asked Halliday the following questions about DEI and Rotary.
By Alex Johnson, President of Rotary Club of Plano West, Texas, USA
From my town of Plano, a suburb of Dallas, Texas, we see the virus devastating lives in India. Last year, COVID-19 affected people overseas, and then took hold in America. We can counter the threat and stay safe by getting people vaccinated.
Most people have access to information on COVID-19 vaccines. But we discovered many minority residents do not. Motivated by a wish to help our fellow citizens, we partnered with our city government to inform this group.
Every month in Rotary magazine, we showcase answers to ethical questions that members might face in their Rotary clubs, to help members share best practices with each other as they make their clubs stronger. Below is the ethical challenge we will tackle in the September issue of the magazine.
You’ve been asked to promote resources for service and to get club members more involved in projects. To succeed, you realize you’ll need to work with the chairs of your club’s Rotary Foundation, membership, public image, and club administration committees. But when you contact them, they don’t seem interested. You believe it’s vital that you all work together, but they want to focus on their own goals. What would you do?
By Tom Gump, governor of Rotary District 5950, member of the Rotary Club of Edina/Morningside, Minnesota, USA
My district has several new and vibrant clubs. They are all flourishing. Not just because they formed, but also, because they keep on growing.
A majority of charter members, about 88%, are new to Rotary. So, we need to nurture these new clubs as they don’t all know the Rotary way. How do we do this most effectively? It’s simple, we: give them a cause, stay flexible, add diversity, and have fun!
By DaveRhylander, president of the Rotary Club of Collierville, Tennessee, USA
Is it possible to grow your club in the midst of a pandemic? We have found the answer to be a resounding yes. Despite all the challenges that COVID-19 has presented to Rotary clubs and the entire world, really, there are ways to excite members, engage in service, and through creativity attract people who are interested in joining us as people of action.
Every month in Rotary magazine, we showcase answers to ethical questions that members might face in their Rotary clubs, to help members share best practices with each other as they make their clubs stronger. Below is the ethical challenge we will tackle in the August issue of the magazine.
Your club has been flexible in finding ways to meet and participate in service virtually. Your club president wishes to continue to innovate and has tasked a committee that you chair with creating a new service opportunity each month for club members to take part in, either virtually or in person if it is safe. However, there is reluctance among your fellow committee members, who wish to wait until after the pandemic has ended to work on creating new opportunities for engagement and volunteering. What would you do?
By Paul Elsley, Rotary Club of Kingston, Ontario, Canada
A little over a year ago, my club could not have foreseen that we would add 18 new members during 2020 and do so in the midst of a global pandemic. There are silver linings in just about everything.
At the beginning of that year, we were planning to celebrate a century of Rotary in Kingston with other Rotary clubs in the city when COVID-19 struck in March. We watched as service organizations and agencies began to shut down or go into emergency mode and knew a celebration was out of the question. But it also became clear that there was a huge service gap and that Kingston was in great need.
By Jim Marggraff, Entrepreneur and Member of the Rotary Club of Lamorinda Sunrise, California, USA
Four years ago, my wife MJ surprised me with an unearthly question. “How can we keep Mars-bound astronauts connected with their loved ones on Earth?”
This question sparked a journey, though not yet to Mars… Instead, I embarked on a journey to understand social isolation on Earth, to develop new ways to connect remote loved ones using advanced technologies, to found another company, my seventh, Kinoo.family, and to become even more deeply engaged with Rotary!
ByYvonne Kumoji, 2020-21 governor of District 9102 (Benin, Ghana, Niger, and Togo)
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.