R. I. President & Trustee's Theme & Message

Aug. 2016 President John's Message
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RI President's Message - August 2016

Dear Fellow Rotarians,

Forty years ago, a man named George Campbell, the owner of the company I worked for, invited me to join Rotary. Back then, that was a common practice in the United States. Your boss invited you to join Rotary because he thought it would be good for business and good for the community, and you said yes. It’s not surprising that our membership surged during that period.

George warned me not to use Rotary as an excuse to slack off at work. Even so, I always had time to attend lunch meetings and serve on committees. I never had to worry that taking a long lunch once a week would hurt my advancement, or what my boss would think about the occasional Rotary phone call at work.

Today, things are different. Companies are less generous about time, and not every manager looks favorably on community service. It’s hard to enjoy a Rotary meeting when you’ve got emails piling up on your phone. It’s harder than ever to balance work with Rotary – and the model that gave us so much growth a few decades ago is part of what’s holding back our growth now.

That’s why the recent Council on Legislation adopted some innovative measures that allow clubs to vary their meeting times and expand their pool of prospective members. Clubs have more flexibility now to respond to the needs of their members and to clear away as many barriers to membership as they can. But there’s one barrier to membership that only you can remove, one thing that every prospective member needs to become a Rotarian: an invitation to join a Rotary club.

Whenever I tell a group of Rotarians that we need more willing hands, more caring hearts, and more bright minds to move our work forward, everyone applauds. But those hands, hearts, and minds won’t magically appear in our clubs. We have to ask them to join. And an invitation to Rotary is something that only you can give. An invitation is a gift. It’s saying to someone, “I think you have the skills, the talent, and the character to make our community better, and I want you to join me in doing that.”

I’m the president of Rotary International, but the only club I can invite someone to join is the Rotary Club of Chattanooga, Tenn. I can’t make your club or your community stronger. Only you can do that – by inviting the qualified people you know to join you in Rotary Serving Humanity.
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John F Germ, President, Rotary International

.John F. Germ, President, Rotary International 2016-17

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Aug. 2016 Trustee Chair's Message

Kalyan Banerjee

Trustee Chair 2016-17

July 2016

  1. Our Rotary Foundation depends on a strong and thriving Rotary membership. It is, after all, our members who provide the generous support that enables our Foundation to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. As important as that support is, it’s not the only contribution Rotarians make to our Foundation.

    The Rotary Foundation has an unusual business model. Like many charities, we receive donations that we use to address a host of critical issues. Unlike most other nonprofit organizations, we depend on our members to develop relevant and effective service projects. Your volunteer labor stretches our contribution dollars and helps The Rotary Foundation to do much more with less.

    The typical global grant requires hours of planning and budgeting before even one dollar is received or spent. Then the sponsors must purchase supplies, seek donated goods, set up bank accounts, organize volunteers, write reports, and monitor the project’s progress, all while working with Rotarians in another part of the world.

    Fortunately, our clubs have a wide variety of professional skills and talents to call upon throughout this process. Smaller clubs may not have the financial or human resources to sponsor a global grant, even if their members share a strong commitment to the Foundation’s mission. Imagine what those clubs could accomplish with two or three times as many members.

    As we celebrate Membership and New Club Development Month in August, let’s not forget the importance of quickly engaging new members in Rotary service. Make sure they know about the many opportunities our Foundation offers members to pursue their service interests, from promoting better health to providing training and education to bringing peace and stability to communities in need.

    Through The Rotary Foundation, our members have a chance to use their skills to make a real difference. First, we need to bring those talented people into our ranks and engage them in our Foundation’s vital work to create a better world. And only we, the Rotarians, can bring in those new members. So it is up to us, really, isn’t it?
    them.


- Kalyan Banerjee, Trustee Chair 2016 - 17

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