Ed Futa said he could tell the Waunakee Rotary Club was a good club.
When he walked prior to the meeting, he found the members at the bar, waiting for the meeting to begin, he said.
The past Rotary International General Secretary and Rotary Representative to the United Nations spoke at the Waunakee Rotary Club’s July 18 meeting, emphasizing that Rotary doesn’t happen at plenary meetings; it happens in hospitality rooms and bars.
Ed recalled that Paul Harris, an attorney who was lonely, founded Rotary in Chicago as a way to meet and network with fellow business people. They would rotate meetings at each other’s place of business since none of them could leave their businesses, learn more about one another and enjoy fellowship.
“Many clubs don’t want to bring young people in because all they’re interested in is networking. I think it’s nonsense,” Ed said, noting that networking is exactly why Paul Harris developed Rotary.
Rotary clubs are at the heart of the organization. Having served as secretary for Rotary International and now retired, Ed said the organization is nothing without the clubs “because the Rotary clubs make up Rotary International.”
Ed recalled when the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated $100 million to Rotary International to work on the eradication of polio. Bil Gates told him that no other organization can do what Rotary does.
That’s because it has 36,000 clubs around the world on the ground.
Before Rotary’s polio eradication effort, the most widely recognized service organization was the Lions Club, known for providing glasses. Rotary was known for giving scholarships and its youth exchange.
But the polio eradication effort put Rotary on the map and became what the organization is now known for worldwide.
“You see the inroads that we made from polio,” Ed said, adding that the campaign grew from an island in the Philippines, where polio had been successfully eradicated.
“The idea came from a club,” he said, later adding, “I’m trying to express the importance, folks, of your club.”
Ed said he often tells Rotarians not to look to Evanston, where Rotary International is headquartered, for answers. Each club has solutions for its own community.
At the UN, the buzz word is sustainability in the community, and Ed said that is built into Rotary.
“That’s why we’re so effective. That’s why we’re entitled to a table at these international discussions,” Ed added.
Ed told the members to remember how connected they are and encouraged them to make-up meetings in other part of the world.
“Go to other countries and visit the club. Feel validated when you come to a Rotary meeting,” he said.
Other news:
–Todd Schmidt encouraged members to attend the opening of the community’s library on Aug. 1 at 2 p.m.
-Rotary donated $30,000 toward the library’s capital campaign, and Jean Elvekrog invited members to a special donor event from 6-8 p.m. July 30.

–WaunaFest is coming up and volunteers are needed.
Guests: Addison Laufenberg, guest of Linda Olson; Ed Futa, speaker; Lynn Nott, guest of Mick Holm; Bev Kennedy, guest of Tom Kennedy; Karly Pagliughi and Erik Burns, guests of Connie Blau; Mark Fazio, guest of John Cullen, Jan Heiden, guest of Joe (Olson?); Jenny Chang, guest of the club..
Visiting Rotarians: Martha Sullivan, Downtown.  
Birthdays: July 25, Jim Schmitz; July 26, Erick Plumb; July 28, Bob Arntz; July 29, Jim Pingel.
Anniversaries: None.
Greeters: July 25, Sean Wayne and David Weishoff; Aug. 1, Sara Whitley and Phil Willems; Aug. 8, Rich Wipperfurth and Jim Ableidinger; Aug. 15, Peggy Acker Farber and Leonard Allen.