News from the DG

Are we zooming? Or Meeting?

I sent out a survey item to all the Club Presidents and Secretaries last week. I wanted an idea of who is meeting live or on Zoom. So far, everyone is meeting somehow in the age of the virus. With two thirds meeting on-line or both ways.  Good for you. As Rotarians we will figure this out. I personally believe that the Zoom meeting portion of our meetings will never go away. In the future many of our member will join the live meeting by zoom. Certainly, many guests and speakers will do so.

For now, it is especially important to keep the momentum of your Club going. Volunteer for projects in the community and wear your Rotary shirt!

Club Visits

I have enjoyed a couple of Club visits recently. Just the other day, I joined the twin Rivers RAW Club during a zoom meeting. I could not help but notice that their schedule is jammed with volunteer activities. I was glad to hear it because I think that is the trick to continued membership growth. My hat’s off to President Sarah Balkovek and President Elect Amy Trimble.

The week before I was in downtown Wenona. President Roger Gabrielse conducted the meeting in the old firehouse, now a community building. The Club rightly bragged on all the projects they had going in town and the work they did on the scoreboard in the baseball field. Rotary is making an impact on the community of Wenona.

My “least bad” photo of me with Past President John Lauf after the Wenona Rotary meeting.

Rotary Club Special Interest Group


There is a group of people who are interested in beginning a new special interest Rotary Club under the new Environmental Area of Focus – The Mississippi Runs Through US. This grass roots effort is to partner local Rotary Clubs and Districts along the Mississippi River with the municipalities to raise awareness and support service projects in their communities affected by the River. Rotary is committed to supporting the needs of the Mississippi River as a major River of the World. There is a Facebook page where you can make contact if interested. Here is the link.  This just the sort of bodacious challenge Rotarians rise to and conquer. You may reach out via the Facebook page if you are interested, or contact me (tonisrotary@gmail.com) and I can put you in touch with the group.

Coffee and Polio Plus - Win, Win!

Hello fellow Rotarians,

Got coffee?  The Rotary Club of Sycamore and the COROCO Coffee Roaster Collective have partnered to raise funds for Polio Plus.

COROCO Coffee Roasters Collective is owned and operated by Karen Weckerly (a Sycamore Rotarian), in business since 2019.  Karen seeks to empower women as roasters and producers and deals with Fair Trade Cooperatives, which are business systems designed to help small-scale farmers and workers.  These cooperatives are made up of the farmers that grow the coffees. 

Cooperatives like the Kopepi Ketiera Cooperative, deep in the highlands of Sumatra, are uniting female farmers working to market their coffees.  [Coincidently, this business model also satisfies the Rotary/United Nations Millennium Goal of empowering women and helping develop local economies.]

Check out the website (www.corococoffee.com) .  There are numerous varieties of blends, infused beans, and roasts to satisfy any taste.  They may be ordered as whole bean or ground.  Shipping is free in the continental United States.  When ordering online  there is an opportunity at the bottom of the page to designate Rotary Polio Plus for donation (7%) of order value at no additional expense to the buyer. If you brew with a Keurig coffee machine, typing GREEN in the space provided with get you a free reusable K-cup.  

A monthly subscription is an easy and less expensive way to ensure a regular shipment of coffee each month.  It can be cancelled at any time.  At this time of working from home during the pandemic, consider a gift of coffee to thank your customers.

If you have a club newsletter/bulletin, please consider adding our coffee link to your publication.

District Receives Disaster Response Grant
Rotary District 6420 was allotted a $25,000 Disaster Response Grant to make protective face shields for frontline workers.  Go Rotary!
District Grants 2020/2021
Congratulations to all the clubs who received a District Grant for 2020-2021!  If you see a good idea on here, please reach out to the Club for more information or contact District Grant Chair, Laura Kann at 678-315-2406 or

lkk1@comcast.net or 678-315-2406.  

Foundation News

As we enter August I know it is a time when many are getting children ready to return to school after many months off.  And, of course, it will be school as children have not experienced it before.  As Rotarians, we continue to adapt to these challenging times.  Clubs are becoming even more creative in meetings, service projects, and raising funds.  

It is more important than ever to promote The Rotary Foundation to our clubs and help our members understand what their giving actually does. Many districts around the world have benefitted from Disaster Response Grants to address COVID19-related needs in their areas.  Our district has also benefitted from one of these grants.  We received $25,000 for a face shield project that will benefit front-line workers in our district.  Rotarians from Rockford, Rockford East, Loves Park, Rockton/Roscoe, and Pecatonica are in the process of making protective face shields as part of this grant.

Sterling Noon Creates Awesome Marketing Video
If you are looking for an inspiration, this video would be it!  "Come Join Us" is what it says!   Well Done Sterling Noon Rotary!
The Sterling Noon Rotary Club held its 35th Annual Student Excellence Recognition Program virtual and remote due to the global coronavirus pandemic.  A video presentation was posted on June 23rd linked to the Sterling Noon Rotary Facebook page.  Ninety two students from Sterling and Newman High Schools were recognized as future leaders who we will send off into the world to help make it a better place through service, good will, high ethical standards, and leadership....the ideals of Rotary.

The video presentation further highlighted the Club’s support for area youth.   Emyli Sandrock was sponsored by the Club for the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards retreat at Lowden State Park in Oregon, IL.  Kiley Sanders (Newman) and Kate Preston (Sterling) were recipients of $1,000 Club scholarships to Sauk Valley Community College.  And the Club’s two study abroad Youth Exchange students made video presentations:  Aaliyah Gaffey (Italy) and Yuzuki Hosoi (Japan)

ROTARY Club to End Human Trafficking

What an exciting time to be a Rotarian! We’re “that close” to eradicating polio, we’ve innovated through COVID, we have a new area of focus, and new types of clubs are emerging. “It’s all happening here!” 

There have been Rotary Action Groups for some time. Now we have Rotary special interest clubs. One of those is the Rotary Club to End Human Trafficking and I had the pleasure of attending their charter event. Because this is an e-club, it has members around the world. Because RI only allows membership in one club, I will be a “chronic visitor” to this new club. I will bring information from this club and RAGAS (Rotary Action Group Against Slavery) to our District. 

I also had the privilege of attending a conference with the US State Department where they reported on the 20th edition of the Trafficking in Persons Report. I noted attendance from nine countries outside the USA. Twenty years in the fight. And yet the victim is prosecuted more often than the perpetrator! The cost to society is $9.3 billion in services! Think in Ps in this fight – Prosecution, Protection, and Prevention. 

Watch this space. I shall endeavor to do a better job of reporting.

 Rotary Power Lunch Fundraiser a Success!
Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered and came to our Broil & Boil, it was a great event, serving nearly 2,000 meals! Due to overwhelming support, we weren’t able to fill all the last-minute drive up orders, but sincerely appreciate your understanding and support of our clubs and the work we do in our communities. THANK YOU Sauk Valley!
GREAT JOB STERLING NOON AND ROCK FALLS ROTARIANS! (more pictures...click on the Read More link)
Kathy Schmidt
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