It’s been a pleasure serving as District Governor for the 2020-21 Rotary year! My family and I have enjoyed meeting new and existing members of our great District. Although our year brought many challenges, changes, and hurdles to overcome, I’m happy we did it together! Together is the only way we can continue to make the world a better place. Despite our differences and opinions, Rotarians have answered the call to serve with excellence. I cannot think of a better organization to serve where members strive to align themselves with the 4-Way Test and the Object of Rotary. Our guiding principles keep us grounded, help us self-reflect, and build a better environment for those we encounter.
This was not the Rotary year any of us expected. However, I’ve been inspired each step of the way. Witnessing “People of Action” in action has kept me focused on the bigger picture when the going got tough. Did we execute flawlessly? Heck no! Any leader will tell you that missteps are a part of the role. However, my team and I tried to cover as much ground as possible despite the challenges. For that, I would like to thank each director, officer, Assistant Governor, Club President, and member for your contributions in navigating our District during a historic year. Your council, guidance, and support have meant so much, and I will carry this year and the lessons learned for the rest of my life.
So, what exactly did we accomplish? Here are just a few highlights:
District Town Hall Events - Virtual
Did you know the original plan was to go around to each area and host in-person town hall-type meetings? The original name was “Rotary Round-Up.” Due to COVID-19, we took the show on the road (virtually) and saved gas, time, and money. The town halls served as a way for Rotarians to see old friends, meet new ones, listen to dynamic speakers, and learn about upcoming events hosted by neighboring clubs. You can view recordings of each town hall via the District 5840 YouTube Page.
City of San Antonio “World Polio Day” Declaration
October 24 of every year has now been declared “World Polio Day” by the City of San Antonio, Texas. During an October town hall event, Mayor Ron Nirenberg read a proclamation that highlights the work accomplished by Rotarians and supports the ongoing efforts to eradicate the deadly disease. This declaration supports our public image campaign and spreads the messages of the work we do in our great organization.
District-wide Mini-Library Project Challenge
At the start of the new year, we announced a district-wide service impact project benefiting education and literacy! Our goal was to build 100 mini-libraries around D5840 South Central Texas to inspire and promote the love of reading. Several clubs work together to support this initiative, and for their work/contributions, many will benefit from a lifelong gift. We will tally the remaining libraries at the end of the year and provide a special gift to those clubs who participated smiley.
District 5840 Speaker’s Bureau
Finding speakers for your club can become a daunting task. However, when 50+ clubs and 2,000+ members in our district share resources with one another, the tasks become so much lighter. This year, we developed a way to share speaker resources via a database on our website. Now, clubs can find a speaker they’ve never heard of before, and submitting speakers is so easy! Check it out via the link below and add or view a speaker:
Rotary Superhero Challenge
We kicked off our Rotary Superhero Challenge at the tail-end of 2020 with the hopes of maximizing membership, public image, and support of The Rotary Foundation. Clubs were asked to complete several tasks for each mission and, if complete, were added to a drawing to win $500! In the end, three clubs were selected each round, and more than 30 clubs participated, winning a combined $6500. Is it fun? I would say so.
Winter Storm Uri Relief
Winter Storm Uri began to hit parts of Texas on February 13, and its onslaught left close to 4.5 million homes and businesses without power at its peak, killing more than a hundred people while producing an estimated $295 billion in damage. District 5840 sent a call out to fellow Rotarians across the U.S. to support those affected. Within days, we were able to procure funds in support of those in need. Starting with members within our District and then working to support organizations who could help distribute to families in need.
Global Grant Scholarship Awarded: $30,000
District 5840 awarded Montana Meeker, a UTSA Graduate Student, The Rotary Foundation Global Grant Scholarship for post-graduate studies in solid waste management at National Chengchi University in Taipei, Taiwan. A big note of appreciation for Jane Burton (Fair Oaks Ranch RC) for leading the district program that annually identifies our candidates and Jim Montgomery (San Antonio at the Dominion RC) for sponsoring her. The $30,000 scholarship will be used for academic fees, airfare, living expenses, etc. Taiwan is a world leader in waste management, and the university faculty are among the best in the business. Meeker interned with the City of San Antonio Waste Management Division and intended to return to Texas with better ways to care for our environment.
$409,522 Raised in Total Giving (through May 2021 & There’s Still Time To Give!)
Collectively, we have raised $409,522 (as of May 2021) in total giving to The Rotary Foundation! Let’s face it has been a very challenging year. Although we saw a decrease in membership from 2019-20 and a very challenging year due to COVID-19, Rotarians within District 5840 stepped up to the challenge to ensure that TRF was still supported. With only a -6% drop (and there’s still time), I do not doubt that the ongoing years will see more support from members like each of you. THANK YOU for your contributions to The Rotary Foundation.
Time will not permit me to provide every accomplishment that we, as a district, accomplished together. I want to thank you all for making this Rotary a special one. More importantly, thank you for joining hands and accomplishing your service with great passion and persistence! We all have come out of this year with new perspectives and greater skillsets that will benefit not only ourselves but our organization. Let’s continue to grow, learn, and give as we head into the new Rotary year!
We will recap our accomplishments through service and recognize those who went above and beyond at our Fall District Conference. Be sure to mark your calendars for November 12-13, 2021! Details to follow.