Happy Thanksgiving – It’s not what we say about our blessings…


Read that one more time. Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our Thanksgiving.  Are you using your blessings to make other lives better?  Since you are receiving this it means most likely you are in a Rotary club.  Are you doing more than just attending your club meetings?  Are you participating in your club’s programs?  Are you serving humanity?  Are you a Rotarian?

Membership has its privileges, but with it comes responsibility.  We all know how it usually works, somewhere around 20% of the people end up doing 80% of the work.  It shouldn’t be that way.  Yes, we know people sometimes join Rotary to network.   To those people I say, what better way to network than working side by side with other club members on your fundraisers?

Imagine if we could flip that to say that only 20% are not participating.  Can you imagine how much we could achieve if we had 80% of members working side by side?   Some may say that is very utopian in thinking, but WE ARE ROTARIANS.  We make great things happen.
Now you may think that I’m throwing some of our members under the bus, but hear me through.  I will take blame right next to each in club and committee leadership in saying that maybe it’s our fault for not asking each person to help in a specific way.  A lot of times I’ve seen leadership just make a blanket call from the podium that some help is needed.  What about asking individuals how specifically they can help on the project?  Engagement works both ways.
We’ve been proud to tout our individual attendance numbers throughout the history of Rotary.  Heck, I’ve had perfect attendance since the day I joined Rotary.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of that, but, I’m much more proud of the fact that I try to be at every program or fundraiser that’s been available to me through my club during my years of membership.  And I try to involve my family where appropriate.
Let me be clear, I want you to attend Rotary meetings.  If you had to choose, I’d much rather you participate in your club’s functions and programs though.  That is where the rubber meets the road.  Building that house, passing dictionaries out, gathering items for your club’s auction; this is where we could give out participation awards that we could really be proud of.

We just had our mid-year conference this past weekend.  I can’t say thank you enough to everyone that helped make it a great success.  A special thanks to Rotary Coordinator PDG Brent Rosenthal and Rotary Regional Foundation Coordinator PDG Richard “Big Rich” Churchman for leading our membership and foundation seminars.  Rotarian Suzy Lindsey worked so hard behind the scenes to make sure everything ran smoothly and I want to publicly commend her for her service to our district.  DGE Jerome Bannister is getting prepared for his year as District Governor, if his preparation is any indication of how next year will turn out, trust me when I say that we have a bright future ahead.

I’m also so thankful that I was able to complete my PHF, that’s Paul Harris Family, this weekend when Judy Tyree presented my youngest two their Paul Harris Fellowships.  Amy and I were also inducted into the Bequest Society, it’s great to know that even after we’re gone, we’ll still be able to help Rotary serve humanity.

We had at least 5 people indicate that they would like to join the Bequest Society as well.  If you have any questions about joining, please contact our District Rotary Foundation Chair Judy Tyree or myself.  It’s really easy and will leave a lasting legacy.

I hope you make The Rotary Foundation your charity of choice.  Our foundation was just recognized by the Association of Fundraising Professionals with its annual Award for Outstanding Foundation.

The award honors organizations that show philanthropic commitment and leadership through financial support, innovation, encouragement of others, and involvement in public affairs. Some of the boldest names in American giving – Kellogg, Komen and MacArthur, among others, are past honorees.

“We are honored to receive this recognition from the AFP, which gives us even more reason to celebrate during our Foundation’s centennial year,” Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Kalyan Banerjee said. “The continued strong support of Rotary members will help us keep our promise of a polio-free world for all children and enable the Foundation to carry out its mission of advancing world understanding, goodwill and peace. We look forward to another 100 years of Rotary members taking action to make communities better around the world.”

We celebrated our Foundation’s centennial on Friday evening with our annual Rotary Foundation Dinner.  We had a packed house as we share our Rotary Foundation birthday cake.  “Big Rich” Churchman was our keynote speaker for the evening sharing some news and information on our efforts to end polio.

I presented a check of $33,333.34 to Rich representing just over 20% of our District Designated Funds (DDF) that we chose to put towards the Polio Plus program.  With a 50 cent on the dollar match from the World Fund and the 2 to 1 match from the Gates Foundation, our contribution will equal $150,000 to fight polio.  That is something we can all be proud of.

A lot of our clubs in D6760 just count on their members to donate to the Rotary Foundation out of their back pocket.  It’s great and wonderful that we do personally choose to donate on our own to the foundation, but think about taking a percentage of your club’s fundraisers and earmarking that portion to the Rotary annual fund or Polio Plus.  Remember donations that go to the annual fund are invested for 3 years, half of that is then returned to the district to distribute in local district grants.  This will also help your club reach 100% Paul Harris Fellow status.

From my family to yours, I’d like to wish each of yours a Happy Thanksgiving.  I encourage you to use your blessings to make the world and our communities a better place for all.

Forever in Rotary Service,

Chuck Barnett
District Governor
Rotary District 6760