Rotary Member Census deadline nears

Have you completed the 2020 Rotary Member Census?

By now, all Rotarians whose email addresses are on file with Rotary International should have received copies of the survey, which is open only until this coming Friday, January 15. The email is from RI General Secretary John Hewko.

It takes less than 10 minutes to complete the electronic form. And, you can decide not to answer sections or specific questions the survey poses if that improves your comfort level.

RI incoming president not who we expected

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Holger Knaack

German Rotarian Holger Knaack is expected to take office on July 1 as president of Rotary International for 2020-21 after an unusual set of circumstances.

The Nominating Committee’s decision to select him follows the April resignation of President-nominee Sushil Gupta due to health reasons.

Michael McGovern, chair of the Nominating Committee, issued a statement explaining the process for selecting a new presidential nominee. It also addresses some controversy in the use of social media to perhaps try to influence the committee’s final decision. Interesting reading.

Knaack, a member of the Rotary Club of Herzogtum Lauenburg-Mölln, Germany, says to build a stronger membership Rotary must focus on increasing the number of female members and transitioning Rotaractors into Rotarians.

Knaack says he believes the People of Action campaign offers new public awareness possibilities for Rotary. “This campaign conveys our global image while still respecting differences in regions and cultures,” he says.

A Rotary member since 1992, Knaack has served Rotary as treasurer, director, moderator, member and chair of several committees, representative for the Council on Legislation, zone coordinator, training leader, and district governor.

He is an endowment/major gifts adviser and was co-chair of the Host Organization Committee for the 2019 Rotary International Convention in Hamburg.

He is the CEO of Knaack KG, a real estate company. He previously was a partner and general manager of Knaack Enterprises, a 125-year-old family business.

Knaack is a founding member of the Civic Foundation of the City of Ratzeburg and served as president of the Golf-Club Gut Grambek. He also is founder and chair of the Karl Adam Foundation.

He and his wife, Susanne, are Major Donors to The Rotary Foundation and members of the Bequest Society.


Honolulu convention registration is open

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On a rainy, dreary day like today, one’s imagination often turns to visions of sunny places. How about Hawaii? It’s worth thinking about since that’s where the Rotary International Convention will be held in Honolulu on June 6-10, 2020.

Registration already is available online for Rotarians and Rotaractors alike, and earlybirds always are rewarded with discounted fees. Here are the key dates:

• December 15: Last day for early-registration discount.
• March 31, 2020: Last day for preregistration discount.
• April 30, 2020: Last day to request to cancel registration or tickets.
• June 10, 2020: Last day for online registration.

Undecided about attending Toronto convention? Read this

Screen Shot 2017-11-18 at 12.06.35 AMBy John Mucha
7190 Past District Governor

We are about 10 months away from a very exciting opportunity for Rotarians and friends from District 7190 to attend an RI Convention close to home.

The convention will be held in Toronto, Canada, less than a day’s drive from anywhere in District 7190. No need for plane tickets, or long international flights. No language issues. This chance likely will not come again in many years.

The District is encouraging all Rotarians to make the effort to attend this event. Many Rotarians believe you cannot truly understand the worldwide impact of Rotary without attending a convention. You can simply register online for a fee of just $345 per person until December 15 when the price will increase.

Perhaps more important than registering now is securing a place to stay in Toronto. Many hotels already are sold out or are close to it. District 7190 has designated the Courtyard Marriott Downtown, on Yonge Street, as the District hotel.  Staying there will allow our District folks to be together if they wish.

You can register for a hotel on the website by clicking on “Convention Hotels.” There are rooms available at the “official” hotel as of this writing. Or you can, of course, register for any other hotel or any other housing you prefer. The important thing is to attend the convention. You won’t regret it!

Rotary partnering with Habitat for Humanity to expand reach

Screen Shot 2017-10-19 at 1.25.54 PMMore than 1 billion people around the world live in inadequate housing according to the United Nations Center for Human Settlements. Now, through a partnership between Rotary and Habitat for Humanity, more will have access to safe and affordable housing.

The partnership will facilitate collaboration between local Rotary clubs and local Habitat for Humanity organizations, enabling Habitat to extend its volunteer pool by tapping into Rotary’s 1.23 million members in 200 countries and regions.

“Habitat’s aim to bring people together to build homes, communities and hope aligns perfectly with Rotary’s commitment to make positive, lasting change in communities around the world,” said Rotary General Secretary John Hewko. “With Habitat’s expertise and the power of Rotary’s volunteer network, we will help build the foundation for stronger communities.”

“The values of our organizations are so closely aligned, and the desire to help others runs deep for both groups. That makes us such a perfect match,” said Habitat for Humanity International CEO Jonathan T.M. Reckford. “So many Rotarians have worked alongside Habitat and the knowledge, experiences and connections that are so strong in local Rotary clubs will make them valuable Habitat partners in many communities worldwide.”

Rotary members develop and implement sustainable projects that fight disease, promote peace, provide clean water, support education, save mothers and children and grow local economies. These projects are supported by more than $200 million awarded through Rotary’s grants programs.

Habitat for Humanity joins a list of Rotary service partners including, the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, Peace Corps, Dollywood Foundation, the Global FoodBanking Network, and Youth Service America (YSA).


RI President-elect, Sam Owori of Uganda, dies

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The late Sam Owori

From The Daily Monitor of Uganda

Rotary International President-elect Sam Owori has died in the United States due to complications after a leg operation.

RI President Ian H.S. Riseley, who took office on July 1, confirmed the news, saying Owori died Thursday night. “Sam had undergone some surgery in Texas that he had been planning for some time, and there were post-operative complications from which he couldn’t recover. I will provide appropriate details when they are known. In this time of great loss, I ask you to keep Norah, the Owori family and Sam’s millions of friends around the world in your thoughts,” Riseley in a statement.

“Sam was a special person in so many ways, and is a huge loss. From the perspective of Rotary administration, we in Evanston are looking at what needs to be done as a result of Sam’s passing,” Riseley added.

Owori was nominated last August to head Rotary International as president for 2018-2019. He was a professional banker in his native Uganda, only the second African to be nominated to Rotary International, the  body responsible for the administration, policy formulation and financial control of Rotary clubs worldwide.

After his election, Owori said he saw in Rotary “an incredible passion to make a difference.” As president, he planned to “harness that enthusiasm and pride so that every project becomes the engine of peace and prosperity.”

Owori was chief executive officer of the Institute of Corporate Governance of Uganda.
Before that, he was executive director of the African Development Bank, managing director of Uganda Commercial Bank Ltd., and director of Uganda Development Bank.
He studied law, employment relations, business management, corporate resources management, microfinance, and marketing at institutions in England, Japan, Switzerland, Tanzania, and the United States, including Harvard Business School.

Since becoming a Rotarian in 1978, Owori had served Rotary as regional Rotary Foundation coordinator, regional RI membership coordinator, RI Representative to the United Nations Environment Program and UN-Habitat, and RI director.
He was also a member or chair of several committees, including the International PolioPlus Committee, the Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force, and the Audit Committee.

Most recently, Owori served as trustee of The Rotary Foundation, chair of The Rotary Foundation’s Finance Committee, and a member of the Investment Committee, according to the Rotary website.


Registration already open for next RI Convention

Screen Shot 2017-06-15 at 12.55.56 PMThe 2017 Rotary International Convention has been over for only a single day, but the 2018 event — to be held in Toronto — already is being hyped by its organizers who are offering a deep registration discount for a limited time.

The convention, which will be held June 23 through 27, offers basic registration for $335 online or $345 by mail or fax through December 15. The price then rises incrementally in several steps as convention time nears. Just click here for full registration detail.


A Twitter post that actually may draw people closer together

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Twitter and its incessant tweets seem to have helped the world devolve into two opposing camps capable of little more than self-fueled indignation. No longer is rational discourse the norm. Now, if you disagree with someone, it is not a matter of philosophy. It must only be that they are evil.

However, this comment tweeted at the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta that wrapped up on Wednesday should be something that resonates positively with most people.

Rotary International President-elect Ian H.S. Riseley, who will become RI president on  July 1, presented his case that protecting the environment and curbing climate change are essential to Rotary’s goal of sustainable service. Riseley, a member of the Rotary Club of Sandringham, Victoria, Australia, will preside under the 2017-18 presidential theme “Rotary: Making a Difference.”

He also urged clubs to improve their gender balance and lower the average age of their members. Only 22% percent of Rotary’s members are women. Although that is well up from 13% a decade ago, Riseley said at that rate it will take another three decades for Rotary to achieve gender parity.

(Note: SRC membership is 26% female on the overall roster, although that percentage spikes much higher among our truly active, involved membership.)

Riseley also said he believes it is imperative that clubs find ways to attract and engage younger members. Today, only 5% percent of reported members are under 40, and a majority of members are over 60. “Consider what Rotary stands to look like 10 or 20 years from now if we don’t get very serious, very soon, about bringing in younger members.”

Uh oh, they’re on the loose in Atlanta

This is what it looks like when loooong-time Southern Rensselaer County Rotary Club members attend a Rotary International Convention. (Dick Drumm and Jim Leyhane and might-as-well-be-a-member Mary Drumm wait on line for a beverage.)

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And, this is what you get as your next club president if you don’t pay attention. (Roberto  Martinez flashes the bling.)


They all were spotted in the Coca-Cola area, a local “heritage” spot since Coke’s international headquarters is located in Atlanta. They’ll be back Wednesday night.



RI creates simplified Grants Center

Rotary Grants fund many undertakings.

Rotary International has just announced the debut of the new Grant Center, formerly known as the Grant Application Tool.

The new site, says RI, “has a fresh look and better organization. The grant application includes clearly defined steps so it’s easier for you to track your progress.

“The Rotary Foundation offers grants that support a wide variety of projects, scholarships, and training that Rotary members are doing around the world. Explore the grant types and find one that’s right for your project.”

Details are available online.