The Rotary International Convention is in Honolulu this year, and Mary Beth Growney Selene encourages you to attend.
Mary Beth, the Rotary International Director, spoke about the convention and about the Rotoray International Foundation at the Dec. 19 Waunakee Rotary meeting.
Last year’s convention was in Hamburg, Germany, she said. Each year, the convention affords Rotarians fun, fellowship and internationality. The Westerners in attendance are the least fun to look at, she said, adding that the Asians and Africans wear their traditional clothing.
Each year, the general session is the fullest, with about 24,000 members attending. The speakers offer motivation and inspiration, and this year will celebrate the 75th anniversary of Rotary’s partnership with the United Nations.
Break-out sessions are also offered with focuses on youth, membership, leadership and other topics. Rotarians get a regional understanding of what we have in the United and can compare that with clubs in other countries.
Activities are also geared to give visitors an opportunity to learn more about the host city.
Next year’s convention will be in Taipei in Taiwan, and the following year will be Houston.
Mary Beth spent more time talking about the Rotary Foundation. Rotary’s vision statement is “Together we see a world where people unite and take action to see a lasting change across the globe, in our communities and in our lives.”
The Rotary Foundation mission is “to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.”
The six areas of focus are: peace and conflict prevention/resolution; disease prevention and treatment; water and sanitation; maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; and economic and community development.
Rotary is considering increasing the areas to seven to include the environment, as the next generation sees the environment as one of its top priorities, Mary Beth said.
Rotarians can support the Rotary Foundation directly by committing to a monthly or quarterly gift. When you give to the annual fund, the money is invested for three years, and the earnings are used to pay for administration. Half of what Rotarians contribute comes back to their district, and the other half is put into the world fund to support matching portions of global grants. An endowment fund can also be created.  
District grants are under $30,000 and can be used for local projects that engage Rotarians.
Global grants over $30,000 require partnerships to be created and must be sustainable, and so include a training program. A community assessment is also necessary.
Mary Beth emphasized that stewardship of these funds is important, as well.


Other news:
-The holiday party will be at the Lone Girl on Jan. 16 with cocktails at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 6:30 p.m.
-The Rotary club’s election will be January for a director’s seat and a presidential nominee.
Birthdays: Jan. 8, Randy Guttenberg.
Anniversaries: Jan. 2, Jim and Linda Schmitz; Jan. 2, Ellen and Vincent Schaaf; Jan. 6, Ann and Don Becker.
Programs: Dec. 26, no meeting; Jan. 2, Jason Bertram of Paranormal Wisconsin; Jan. 9, Club Assembly & Brian Franzen classification talk.
Greeters: Dec. 26, no meeting; Jan. 2, Kevin Kearney and Tom Kennedy; Jan. 9, Chris Kenney and Bob Klostermann.