Governor’s Message

Increasing Membership by Increasing Service

Rotary clubs are always looking for ideas on how to increase membership and develop meaningful service projects.  Sometimes, the answers lie outside our own club or organization. Partnering with other local charities, or joining a service project already in progress, are excellent ways of furthering our mission of Service Above Self.

Look around for organizations that share similar goals as Rotary. Invite someone from their group to come and speak to your club. In doing so, you develop an immediate contact that can be built into a deeper relationship.

The Central Ocean Rotary Club of Toms River, New Jersey, has been doing this for a long time. Directors and board members of about two-dozen organizations are on a first name basis with at least one of their members. About half of the club members either run a local non-profit organization or serve on a charity’s board. Some of this has evolved organically over time, but this year it has been a focus of the club. The opportunities for service this has opened up are outstanding.  The Central Ocean Rotary Club has plenty of activities to choose from for service. They also participate in about a dozen or more events, which continually puts Rotary front and center in the community at large.

How can you go about creating service connections in your community? Contact non-profits in your area about opportunities to serve them. Assign one of your members to create a relationship with a representative from their organization, and invite them to speak to your club. Ask your club members to participate as board members for other charities that they feel passionate about. This creates a link between the two organizations and makes the member feel engaged by acting as liaison for Rotary and the other non-profit.

Co- sponsor a fundraiser or event with a local organization. By sharing the event, the public relations opportunities for Rotary become more far reaching, especially if the charity is widely known. This is not an overnight process. But in time, you will find community leaders coming to your Rotary club looking to get something accomplished. Your Rotary club can become the hub of community activity, maximizing the potential to perform Service Above Self.

Thanks to the Central Ocean Rotary Club for this innovative idea!

A Message from RI President John Germ

Dear Fellow Rotarians:

end-polio-nowRotary launched our PolioPlus campaign 31 years ago in a worldwide effort to rid the world of this paralyzing disease. Last July, we celebrated a milestone: Nigeria had gone one year without a new case of polio. But only a year later, three new cases of wild polio have been reported in that country and Nigeria has been reclassified as polio endemic.

The response to these cases has been swift; the Government of Nigeria – in partnership with the Global Polio Eradication Initiative – has already begun taking the necessary steps to prevent further spread of the disease both in Nigeria and the surrounding countries. After immediately approving $500,000 with a “rapid response” grant, Rotary is continuing to help mobilize support for the outbreak response on the ground in Nigeria. We have released $8 million in funds to support response efforts in the Lake Chad basin, which will deploy new strategies to reach every child.

This may seem like a setback to many, but we are prepared now more than ever to continue the fight against polio, until no child is at risk and the world can be declared polio-free. We have overcome obstacles and outbreaks throughout the years. Polio can and will be eradicated in Nigeria. With your continued support and dedication, we can make that a reality.

In light of these recent developments, World Polio Day (October 24) is an important event that gives us the opportunity to discuss the main issues at hand: focusing our efforts on ending the outbreak in Nigeria, reaching every last child in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and protecting the progress made in polio-free regions.

World Polio Day is everywhere. We hope to see scores of events around the globe. If you haven’t already done so, register your event and download the World Polio Day resources to help make the event a success.

Rotary will also host its fourth annual World Polio Day event in Atlanta, Georgia, USA at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Clubs and districts are encouraged to watch our live-streamed global status update at 6 p.m. EST or anytime after. Spread the word in advance with the help of our social media messaging and share graphics. Donating to our campaign will be matched two to one by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and help reach every child with the polio vaccine.

On November 19, a team of Rotary staff will join Rotary senior leaders, club members from District 5500 (Arizona), and around the world in El Tour de Tucson to raise funds for polio eradication. Last year, the combined efforts of Rotary members and staff raised $4.4 million.

As fear of polio wanes, so does awareness of the disease. It’s our responsibility to keep that awareness high and keep polio eradication at the top of public and government agendas. We must finish the job and End Polio Now, through Rotary Serving Humanity.

Rotary International Convention in Atlanta

June 10-14, 2017, will be an exciting week for Rotarians from around the world as the Rotary International Convention takes place in Atlanta. The Host Organizing Committee has put together a fun collection of events to enhance the convention. Over the next several months I’ll highlight some of the events here, but for full information, visit the HOC website:

braves“Strike Out Polio” – Hank Aaron and RI President John Germ will host this Rotary night at the Atlanta Braves. The event will take place Thursday, June 8 at 7:30. Plans are being completed at this time, and ticket prices will be announced soon. This event is open to the public. Check the website above for details.

bluesBlue Jeans and Bluegrass – Centennial Olympic Park will come alive Saturday evening, June 10, as Rotarians join for an evening of food, friends, festivities, and a special bluegrass music performance by the legendary Ricky Skaggs & The Kentucky Thunder. Tickets are $50 per person, and the event is open to convention registrants, their registered convention guests, and members of their immediate families. Go to the website above to purchase tickets.

gwtwGone with the Wind – Join with Rotarians from around the world to view the timeless classic movie Gone With the Wind at the historic Fox Theatre on Sunday, June 11. Tickets for this event are $20 per person. Host event tickets may only be purchased by convention registrants for themselves, their registered convention guests, and members of their immediate families.

Remember, you can travel to Atlanta with your fellow Rotarians from District 7550 if you Get on the Bus! The District has reserved a luxurious motor coach for the trip to Atlanta, and the cost is just $100 round trip. You couldn’t park your car for five days in Atlanta for that price! Go to for details of the trip and for the links to register for the Convention.

District Conference

Mark your calendars and plan to attend the District 7550 Conference at Glade Springs Resort on May 19-21, 2017. Details and registration will be available in early 2017.

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