District 5630 “New Normal” Operations

District 5630 “New Normal” Operations

District 5630 “New Normal” Operations

As Rotarians across central and western Nebraska learn to adapt with varying degrees of how the NOVEL CORONAVIRUS is affecting our personal lives, I ask you to think about our 2019-2020 Rotary International theme, “Rotary Connects to World.”  Who would have imagined that RI President Mark Daniel Maloney would be so visionary?

As we practice Social Distancing in our communities, I have asked clubs to be proactive, find creative ways to connect with each other and to continue to connect in service in our communities. Each of our communities needs will be unique and may change daily, just remember our motto “Service Above Self” and be flexible, be creative.

Hopefully over the next weeks as this comes to a conclusion and we can resume our normal activities, try to stay engaged with your Rotary family.  Continue to have your club meetings via ZOOM conference.  Share the archive meetings with those that could not join you during your “LIVE” meeting.  Bookmark the District calendar for other ZOOM conference opportunities.  Develop an action plan so when this is over you can easily resume your club’s activities, projects, fundraisers, or identify a future District Grant project.  Above all, brainstorm how can you help club members whose business and lives have been severely impacted?

Just as your club operations have been altered the same is true for our district-sponsored events. We will be rescheduling the District Conference at a later date in the fall.  The district leadership team has canceled all face-to-face events, and will continue ZOOM meetings through May/June.

District Grant training will be conducted via ZOOM in May/June for clubs wishing to apply for 2020-21 District Grants.  The Rotary International Convention in Honolulu has also been canceled. If you had made plans to go to Hawaii, full refunds are being offered from RI.  Please be sure to cancel your airline tickets and hotel accommodations.

Your District leadership team is working to formulate content that can be delivered electronically to the membership. Logistics is also an issue that needs to be addressed. Our continued goal is to provide relevant material over all the available platforms.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy, Stay CONNECTED!

Restocking Your Community Pantry: COVID-19 response

Restocking Your Community Pantry: COVID-19 response

Restocking Your Community Pantry: COVID-19 response

In the aftermath of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic, and with so many people unable to work and provide for themselves and their families, community food banks and pantries have seen their inventory decimated and the need for services expand exponentially.  This seems to be a common problem across our Rotary District as well.

You can help.

District 5630 has filed with The Rotary Foundation for a COVID-19 Disaster Relief Grant.  These is YOUR donations!  Send in a grant request before April 13 to provide food for your local food bank to DG.2019@5630mail.org. Include the name of the Food Bank or Pantry, dollar amount requested, how many people will this impact and the name of your club.

…but don’t just present a check* and call it goodwill.


Consider using a multiplier effect in your club and community, for example:

  • Ask your club members to make food donations or a cash contribution towards the efforts.
  • Take the total collected plus the grant funds (ie: $1500) and purchase groceries from your local grocer (supporting your local economy).
  • Ask the grocer if they might even provide a small discount to make the funds go a little further.
  • Engage several healthy Rotarians to make a Grocery run.  The shopping spree would be a lot of FUN!  Don’t forget personal hygiene items, paper products, and cleaning items.
  • Donate all the paper products, cleaning supplies, and groceries to the Food Panty.

The net effect is that you accomplished the same ends but were able to provide much more than just giving someone money.  Take some pictures of your shopping spree and share on social media account.  Contact the local media, and explain this is a Rotary project to support COVID-19 response.

*The Rotary Foundation does NOT allow for funds to be used as a pass-through directly to another charitable organization.  In other words, you cannot request funds and then just hand them over to the local pantry. 

April | Maternal & Child Health Care

April | Maternal & Child Health Care

April 2020


I spend a lot of time thinking of family, not just my own or the extended family of Rotary, but also the families we are helping in the communities we serve. In many parts of the world, mothers and children face challenges to survive that most of us will never comprehend. According to the World Health Organization, the risk of a woman in a low-income country dying during pregnancy or childbirth, or from related causes, is about 120 times higher than that of a woman living in a high-income country. It is encouraging that infant mortality rates are declining globally, yet 4 million babies annually still die within the first year of life.

In April, Rotary turns its attention to maternal and child health. And when we think of what we can do to help, we can look to clubs like the Rotaract Club of Calabar South-CB, Nigeria, for inspiration.  It teamed up with the Rotaract

Club of Canaan City (CB) in a program focused on educating mothers on best practices to prevent infant mortality and promote postnatal health for themselves and their babies. In Bangladesh, the Rotary Club of Dhaka North provides free surgeries and medicine to pregnant women who cannot afford the hospital costs associated with giving birth. I encourage you and your club to go to ideas.rotary.org to find projects like these that are helping to save mothers and children.

We also have witnessed how millions of people — families and entire communities — have been ripped away from their homes because of conflict, poverty, and disasters during the past decade. But Rotary has not stood idly by during the global refugee crisis.

During Rotary Day at the United Nations last November, we honored a Rotary Peace Fellow and five Rotarians who are taking action to help refugee communities. Among them was Ilge Karancak-Splane of the Rotary Club of Monterey Cannery Row, California. After visiting several tent camps in Turkey, she led a Rotary project that collected 1,000 pairs of children’s shoes and socks for families in the camps and, later, led a global grant project to help educate refugee children. In March, Gay and I had the privilege of visiting a tent camp in Torbalı and seeing firsthand the good work that Rotarians from Turkey and California were accomplishing with Syrian refugees.

The challenges faced by mothers, their children, and refugee communities around the world are daunting. But when we remember our greatest strength — how Rotary Connects the World — we can begin to find solutions. Through our creativity, our resources, our dedication, and our networks, Rotary can and will open opportunities to face these challenges.

COVID-19 Coronavirus message

COVID-19 Coronavirus message

COVID-19 Coronavirus message


Yesterday the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation. We are in uncharted territory.

As our communities continue to be impacted by the evolving effects of the COVID-19 virus, my first concern is for the health and safety of every Rotarian and their families across District 5630. Considering all the known facts of the COVID-19 virus, I feel the safest place that everyone be is at home.  This morning I have made the difficult decision to cancel the upcoming District Conference that was scheduled for May 1-2 in Kearney. 

Additionally, Clubs are asking for guidance on how to navigate through this crisis. The health and safety of our members and our community is the highest priority.

 Many of our members are in the 60+ demographic, high-risk group which has been asked by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to stay home as much as possible. Let’s all keep in mind the Four Way Test and ask ourselves if our actions, including participation in Rotary events, will be “beneficial to all concerned”. All of us need to practice social distancing—keeping space between ourselves and others and avoiding large groups. Social distancing is essential to slow the spread of the disease and provide time for the community to be better prepared.

Around the world, Rotary clubs and districts are making difficult decisions about their planned activities. In District 5630, some senior centers have asked clubs not to meet in their space until further notice.  A number of clubs have made the decision to suspend club meetings until the immediate emergency passes. And yesterday we also canceled the travel to Nigeria for a global grant sponsored by the Minden Rotary club.  Additionally, or own District Governor Elect, Bob Taylor is currently in Africa, trying to make his way back to the United States and will likely be self-quarantined at a minimum if he is able to find his way home in the next couple days.

I will be working directly with our District leadership over the coming weeks to navigate through this crisis.

 Action Steps:

  • We can’t tell you how long this situation will continue. I would ask club leadership to consider postponing all gatherings, service projects, fundraisers and possibly meetings – scheduled for the next 2-3 weeks. We and you will monitor the situation and determine next steps.
  • Club Presidents are asked to discuss with their club the meetings and events scheduled for the next month and make a plan; please notify me of your intentions, copying Bob Mayber.
  • Consider meeting online using free services like ZOOM or FreeConferenceCalling.com. If you would like to use ZOOM please contact me.  It will be handled on a first-come basis.
  • Please accept the decision of other members on their involvement or attendance at club events. Each must make the decision they feel best for themselves and their families.
  • Be aware of and implement CDC guidelines.
  • Individuals and communities should familiarize themselves with recommendations to protect themselves and their communities from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like COVID-19.
  • Be aware of the Nebraska Department of Public Health guidelines for COVID-19.

Our communities are looking to us for leadership. Let’s act responsibly and proactively.

We will communicate with you as developments unfold.

If you have questions, please contact me.

March | Celebrate Rotaract

March | Celebrate Rotaract

March 2020

March is the month we celebrate Rotaract — and this has been quite a year for our young partners in service.

Last spring, the Council on Legislation elevated Rotaract in our constitution: Rotary International is now the association of both Rotary clubs and Rotaract clubs. Then in October, the Rotary Board of Directors eliminated the artificial Rotaract age limit and took other steps to break down barriers that were preventing Rotaract from growing in some parts of the world.

These steps were long overdue, because Rotaract is a vision of what Rotary must become. Not only do we need to open our doors to our young colleagues, but we also have to open our ears and minds to the Rotary experience they find most engaging. That is one of the best ways we will meaningfully grow Rotary.


When I say grow Rotary, I mean it in many ways. We need to grow our service and to grow the impact of our projects. Most importantly, however, we need to grow our membership, so that we can achieve more. Rotaractors provide this opportunity, not only because they can transition to Rotary at the time that is right for them, but also because they understand what it will take to attract others like them.

Business as usual will not work for us anymore. Bringing in more members to replace the ones we lose is not the answer. It is like pouring more water into a bucket full of holes. We need to address the root causes of member loss in many parts of the world: member engagement that is not what it should be, and our member demographic that skews steadily older.

It is time to make some fundamental changes. We already know what the barriers are to an engaged and diverse membership. It is time to act on what we know: creating new membership models, opening new paths to Rotary membership, and building new Rotary and Rotaract clubs where the existing clubs do not meet a current need.

New club models represent an opportunity to connect with a more diverse group of individuals — particularly those who are unable or unwilling to join our traditional clubs. While new club models have been emerging for some time, it is up to district governors to make them a reality. In January at the International Assembly, our incoming district governors took part in an exercise called Build Your Own Club Model. It was a wonderful experience that put them in the right frame of mind for the work ahead.

Ultimately, however, it will be up to Rotaractors and young Rotarians to create new club models that are most meaningful to the next generation. We may think we know what young people want from Rotary clubs in the future, but I am confident that what young people say will surprise us. It will be our job to support their innovation, for it will help us grow Rotary as Rotary Connects the World.

February | Happy Birthday Rotary!

February | Happy Birthday Rotary!

February 2020

Happy 115th birthday, fellow Rotarians and members of the family of Rotary!

Much has changed in the world since 1905. Then, the global population was roughly 1.7 billion. Today, it is 7.7 billion. There were 5 telephones per 100 people in the United States 115 years ago. In 2020, it is estimated that 96 percent of the U.S. population has a cellphone — and both China and India have more than a billion cellphones in use.

In the 115 years since Rotary was founded, seemingly everything has changed except Rotary values. We began, and remain, committed to fellowship, integrity, diversity, service, and leadership. While our Service Above Self motto dates to 1911, the ethos behind those words had already been ingrained by Rotary’s founders.

As the pace of change worldwide continues to accelerate, the need for Rotary service is greater than ever. It’s one thing to read about service projects, quite another to see them in action and to see the grateful faces of people who have benefited from them. Rotary projects change lives and connect the world. And over the past year, I have seen some amazing Rotary projects in action.

Gay and I visited Japan’s Fukushima prefecture last year. Few places in the world have had to deal with the kind of devastation that visited Fukushima in March 2011, when a tsunami touched off by an earthquake led to disaster at a nuclear power plant. But the story of Fukushima today is not one of destruction; it is one of hope and renewal. Rotary grants have helped improve access to medical and mental health care for victims of the disaster and reduced the isolation of these communities by sharing the experiences of people from other parts of the world who have also recovered from disasters. Our grants have also helped to foster self-motivation and encourage sustainable long-term community recovery across the region.

In Shanghai, I learned about the Careers in Care program. This helps migrant workers fill the need for skilled professionals in elder care facilities. After taking a course, trainees receive certification to boost their employment prospects, while the care industry benefits from an expanded talent pool. Rotary projects like this are successful because they address a local need, and they have the potential to attract local government funding to sustain their impact.

And in Guatemala, Gay and I went to Sumpango. Global grants there provide mechanical cows to produce soy milk; an improved water distribution system; water filters; clean compost latrines; family gardens; support for income generation; and training in WASH and literacy programs. The food items sold there not only provide nutrition to women and children, but also create a source of income for local women.

In every area of focus, and in every part of the world, Rotary projects are improving lives and helping communities adapt in a time of rapid change. As we celebrate another great year for Rotary, let us rededicate ourselves to strengthening the connections that make our service so impactful. We will make lives better as Rotary Connects the World.​

reprinted from Rotary.org [https://my.rotary.org/en/news-media/office-president/presidential-message]