Rotary Update

Rotary is a large and complex world wide organization.  I occasionally write explanations about Rotary to our newer members. Those explanations are then posted here to the blog.

November 27, 2012

I have three topics for you today:
1.  What’s the Dictionary project and how does Social Good Network work to support it?
2.  Our official club visit to the Boise Metro Rotary Club
3.  A planned trip to visit Rotary projects in Ecuador.
See below for the details on each.
1. What’s the dictionary project?  Our club has many local projects.  One is the dictionary project.  This happens to be a project that most of the Rotary Clubs in our district (44 clubs from Ontario to McCall to Salmon to Ashton to Montpelier and points south to the Nevada border). have joined together in.  it is in support of literacy which is one of our key Rotary International thrusts.  A few years ago under the leadership of then District Governor Gene Day of the Twin Falls Blue Lakes club we decided collectively to try to give a dictionary to every third grader in the district.  Our club purchases the dictionaries and gives them to the students in several schools in the Boise School District.  You may be surprised to learn that in many homes there are few or no books.  Many third graders have never had a book of their own. Even those that do have their own books often have not been exposed to a dictionary.  So we provide the dictionaries. They are age appropriate.  The teachers will program in the classroom to these dictionaries. The kids can take them home and keep them.  All in all, it’s a very cool project.  At some point during the year there will be announcements that we’ll be handing out dictionaries on certain days at certain schools.  Try to make one of these little ceremonies if you can.  You’ll be moved.
Where does the money come from to purchase the dictionaries?  It either comes out of our budget (from your dues) or we have to raise the money some way.  In the past we usually got a small grant of $500 to help support this project and then supplemented it with club monies. But this year, under the leadership of our Director for Financial Support, Marcia Wing, we are piloting the use of Social Good Network.
What is Social Good Network Again? This is a very cool Boise startup.  They have a web site.  You go through their web site to shop on line at almost all of the major on line shopping sites (REI, Best Buy, Expedia, etc).  Social Good Network receives a fee for directing you to the shopping web site.  Their fee averages 5%.  They keep half the fee to cover their expenses and profit, and allow you as the shopper to designate the other half to any charity of your choice.  So, the charity we are promoting is a captive Rotary charity in our District called District 5400 Charitable Programs.  Our club has an account at the charity.  You shop, you direct your share of the fee to the Boise Rotary Club account at the district charity.  And to connect the lines, Marcia and her team have decided that any money we receive this way will be used to support the Dictionary project.  To the extent this is successful, it will free up an equivalent amount of club dollars to use on other projects.  Everyone wins.  This is the closest thing to free money  I’ve ever seen. We have a large and very active membership. So in addition the Dictionary project you also find projects through the Boise Public Schools Foundation and Semilla Nueva among others.
(In the interest of full disclosure, the Boise and Treasure Valley Angel Funds, which I helped to found and invested in are investors in Social Good Network.)  Yesterday the Statesman ran a front page article on Social Good Network.  If you didn’t see it and would like to, you can read it at:
How much money have we raised?  I just went to Social Good Network and checked.  As of this afternoon (and the shopping over the past weekend has not yet been posted) we have $341.48 in our account. We’re trying to raise $1000 this way, so we’re a third of the way there.
2.  Official visit to the Boise Metro Rotary Club.  We ask that all new members make at least one visit to another Rotary Club as a part of their Red Badge requirements. The purpose of this requirement is so that all will understand that when you join a specific Rotary Club, you are a member of Rotary International. As such you are welcome to attend any Rotary club in the world.  We have nine Rotary Clubs in Ada Country (seven in  Boise, one in Garden City/Eagle and one in Meridian).  While we frequently engage in good natured bantering with our fellow Rotarians, in fact we all share the same ethic of working to make the world a better place.  The local clubs frequently work together for the betterment of our city.  It’s worth getting to know your fellow members who belong to other local Rotary clubs.
You are welcome to simple go to any of the Rotary clubs.  But to encourage this, under the leadership of Todd Fischer, we try to organize an “official” visit to another club once a month.  Next Tuesday, December 4 we will make an official visit to the Boise Metro Rotary Club.  It meets in the Stone House 655 Park Blvd (just east of the Ram Pub) from 12 noon to 1 pm.  Please join us if you can to visit this club.  You’ll enjoy seeing how a small, but very active club functions.  And if you haven’t yet visited another club, this will get that piece of your Red Badge requirements checked off.
If you plan to attend, please let me know.  Because Boise Metro is a small club, we would like to give them an approximate count of the number of our members who will be visiting them.
3. Ecuador  Our club has been involved in supporting a school for special needs children in Quito for about ten years along with a number of other Rotary projects in Ecuador.  My wife, Amy Stahl (who belongs to Wednesday noon Rotary club) and I will lead a trip to Ecuador in January.  We will travel to Quito, the capital city of the country and will also travel to the lovely small city of Bahia de Caraquez which is on the Pacific Ocean.  We have made close friends through Rotary in both cities.  We would love to have you join us, especially if you have never travelled in a third world country before.  We leave Boise Saturday morning January 26 and return Sunday evening, February 3.  Cost of air fare is about $1000.  Your in country costs will be about $500.  Come with us, see a beautiful country, make new friends, see first hand the good Rotarians do in the world.  Let me know if you might be interested in going. I’ll add you to the list and provide more details as we get the trip set in the next few weeks.
See you at Rotary,
Kevin