Rotary Club of Amherst
Amherst, New York, USA
 

In Gear 1/10/13

 
 
 
Make up questions:

1 – Where will the lunch meeting / field trip be held this Thursday?

2 – What is the clinical term for the condition that Phil refers to as “sports car syndrome?”

3 – How many past District Governors were in attendance?

Members in attendance were Katie, Jerry, Ward, Phil, Isadore, Gerry, Chris, Cindy, George, John, Pravin, Carolyn & John, Eva, and honorary member Bill.

Ward led us in the Pledge of Allegiance and Cindy led the Four-way Test.

The President then asked for the introductions of our guests, and Cindy introduced Richard Wojtowicz from the Williamsville Club.  Pravin introduced past District Governor, Joe DiPaulo from the Buffalo Club.  Finally, Gabe introduced our newest member, Eva Roll, whose application for membership had been approved by the board last evening.  Eva received a nice round of applause from the members in attendance, and Carolyn walked into the meeting.

Before we could take another step, Richard asked to present us with a check from this past summer’s car show.  So we scrambled to get an impromptu “photo op” together as Richard told us that the event took in almost $8,000 gross.  Our cut of the proceeds was $875, which was double the amount that we earned last year.  After all expenses were paid, the proceeds were split up four ways, with 60% going to the Williamsville club’s foundation.

Ward passed out the treasurer’s reports and asked John for clarification regarding use of the “milk box” money.  Ward said that, after John’s year as DG, he was chair of the district foundation, and that’s when the milk box collections began.  John agreed that sounded correct, and at the time the collections were slated for PolioPlus.  This money was above and beyond the funds we raised and contributed to for our annual fund obligations.  In 2012 we sent in the money from the milk box donations separately as a donation to the annual fund.  Ward wanted to know if we should be sending in this year’s milk box money to PolioPlus or the annual fund.  John recommended that the money go to PolioPlus since we’ve already met our annual fund obligation for the year.  Ward made a motion to the board to use the money for PolioPlus and Pravin seconded the motion.  The vote was unanimous in favor of making the donation to PolioPlus.

Next, Ward reviewed the treasurer’s reports with us.  He noted that on December 7th there was no lunch meeting and therefore no revenue from meals, 50/50, or fines.  Also, for the holiday meeting on 12/27 there were no fines and no split club revenue either.  Ward sent the check in for the entertainment books and we already have a net “profit” of $2050 with a few more books yet un-accounted for.  Carolyn and Isadore each have books to sell or pay for.  Ward also showed us the annual club budget, and surprisingly, there were no questions about it.

Gabe then began re-capping the previous evening’s board meeting for us.  The board’s recommendation for charities to benefit from the wine tasting proceeds has been sent to the foundation.  John announced that the board would meet soon to consider the recommendation.  Carolyn pushed for a time and place for that meeting, and it was set for 800 Maple on January 17th at 5:30 PM.

In late January or early February the club will hold a cocktail party to recruit new members.  Each member will be asked to invite potential new members to come to the party as our guests.  Also, our application for a district matching grant was approved, which is great news.  Gabe is also sending in our application for a Presidential Citation.  Pravin is looking into our qualifications for a Lighthouse award.

Gabe then announced that there would be no lunch meeting on 1/17 so that we could encourage members to attend the Area 11 Mix and Mingle on the 16th at the Forestview Restaurant.  So far, 11 members have signed up to attend.

Next Gabe announced that we need a candidate for RYLA and Slapshot for the weekend of April 26-28.  The Prez said that he’d send the information to Chris so he could send it to the Williamsville East Service Club.  The application fee is discounted if we get ours in by the end of February.  Pravin noted that the children of Rotarians are also eligible as long as they are 15 – 18 years old.  Cindy mentioned that there is an active Interact Club at Williamsville South.  Slapshot is going to be held in Ancaster, Ontario.

The club will also not have a lunch meetings at Westwood on Thursday 1/24.  Instead, we will meet at the Hope Lodge for our “field trip” on that day to learn about the organization and get started on our first annual golf outing fundraiser.  The meal will be provided by Johnny C’s New York Deli, which is the same caterer that provided our buffet style lunch today.  (Johnny C. is also known as John Cohen from Westwood.)  The cost for lunch will be $14, as usual.  Carolyn commented that Johnny C’s catered a small party that they had over the holidays, and the food was tremendous.

Gabe then called upon Professor Phil, but instead John had to make an announcement.  Our club was now in our 25th year, and the board should talk about how we should celebrate the occasion.  When we got started, the club officially was chartered sometime in September or October, but we began to meet in May.

Our leader then told us that the cost to golf will be $130 and that amount includes dinner and beverages.  We would only save $10 per golfer if we chose to close the bar down during the hour before dinner, but that’s precisely the time that our guests will want a beverage.  Cindy asked if there would be a cost to just have dinner and drinks and NOT golf.  Gabe said that there would be an option for non-golfers, and more information will follow.

Phil finally took the floor and asked Gabe about what had happened at last week’s meeting.  Gabe was not sure what he was asking about, as there is so much that happens at each weekly meeting.  Phil asked if Gabe had received the email from Phil’s secretary, but apparently something got crossed up, and we never got word that Phil was unavoidably detained.

Phil then shocked the members in the room that were not prepared (which was actually zero members) when he asked Carolyn what menopause was.  She said that it was, “Terror for a man,” and when a woman has, “Released the last egg as a female.”

Phil continued to ask about the details of menopause, and eventually (and unavoidably, I imagine) he finally landed on the real topic of the day.  For the quiz question he wanted to know the clinical name for the male equivalent of menopause.  Nobody had the correct answer, so Phil finally told us it was andropause, though he likes to refer to is as either the sports car syndrome or the other woman syndrome.

Gerry then stood up to issue the weekly fines and began by fining Phil.  Apparently Phil had confused a club meeting with a board meeting, so he had to pay up because that was a fine-able offense in the eyes of Gerry.

Carolyn had commented that the dates May 19 and May 20 are “close.”  Apparently, in the eyes of Gerry, that is a fine-able offense as well.

John was fined for having to leave early and also for drinking the wine.  (Did you know that the cost of wine is on the rise again?)

Then Gerry began asking people how happy/excited/grateful they are, which is all very fine-able in the eyes of Gerry.  Jerry was asked how excited he was to be sitting in the presence of three past DGs.  Of course, this was a no-win situation for Jerry, and because of his (sarcastic?) response he actually paid a double fine.

Chris was asked how happy he was.  You see, Chris had volunteered to come in and set up the room in Isadore’s absence.  But Gerry had come in before Chris was able to arrive and took care of the set-up, thereby causing Chris to become happy.  It was that happiness that cost Chris a buck and earned Gerry a very conspicuous, “Thank you.”

Isadore paid a buck for his lame excuse for being late.  Apparently, some of his morning meetings got shuffled around and he wasn’t even late at all.  So, in essence, there was no real reason for Chris to become happy when Gerry had set up the room for him, even though he was actually setting the room up for Isadore, who was right on time anyways.

George was fined for asking if anybody was sitting in a chair.  I guess, in Gerry’s eyes that was very fine-able.

Ward was fined for not wearing a tie, I think.  It was either for that, or for not knowing.  Either way, those were terrible fine-able offenses in Gerry’s eyes.

Cindy was fined for introducing Richard because Gerry wanted to do that.  And even though the President of the Club called upon her to make the introduction, Gerry saw that as a fine-able offense.

Gerry fined himself.  He admitted that he feared that John would take all of the pasta from the buffet before he got any, and therefore he cut in front of John in the lunch line.

Gabe was fined while he stood in the buffet line because the meeting had started without an invitation from Gabe to dig in.  Instead he started the meeting and let the food sit there getting cold.

Jorge was fined for being late.

Cindy was fined for a cell phone infraction.

Ward was fined for lying when he said that everybody had his treasurer’s report, even though they were still being handed out at the time.

Katie paid a very generous happy fine because her puppy, Kili, was getting better.  Cindy was concerned and Gerry and Isadore both responded to her email about oxygen tanks, so she was grateful for the support.

Pravin stood up to say that he was happy that Eva had finally joined the club.  He presented her with a memento from the year that he was DG and she once again received a nice round of applause from the members in attendance.  Pravin also paid $5 to announce that he was making a commercial for the start of tax season.  Call him if you need help!

George then asserted that each of the three past DGs in attendance should be fined a dollar, and Gerry obliged before closing the fines session.

Chris then announced that the next volunteering opportunity with Habitat for Humanity will be at the same site where we worked in November – 351 Vermont Street in Buffalo on Saturday 1/26.  Gerry, Katie, Liz, and Isadore also plan on helping out.  Let Chris know if you can join them.  Chris also said that he would send an email out to the members with the address and information.

Gabe gave us a few more calendar reminders from his agenda:

2/13 – Paul Harris awards dinner
3/30 – Habitat for Humanity
4/18 – our club’s Mix and Mingle
4/27 – Habitat for Humanity
5/20 – Golf outing

Gerry wondered if Habitat volunteering could be used as a meeting make up.  Of course, the answer is, yes.  Gabe then introduced the first of our guest speakers, which was John.  He promised to be brief, after which, “Joe will speak.”  (Apparently, at length!)

John began his slide show and talked about Rotary International and the Rotary International Foundation as the two main “parts” of the organization.  They are tied together, of course.  But they are separate.  We can think of R.I. as the operational side of things, and we can think of the foundation as the funding part of it – paying for all of our various projects and programs and donations.  Our purpose, as John quoted in his presentation, “Our world, not as it is, but what it could be.”

The mission of the R.I. Foundation is the achievement of world understanding and peace through local, regional, and international humanitarian, educational, and cultural programs.  This is accomplished in two ways: First by providing grants (matching, district, 3H, volunteer service, etc.) and secondly by executing programs (ambassadorial scholars, group study exchange, Rotary Peace Centers, etc.).

PolioPlus was established in the mid-80s with a goal to accomplish the complete eradication of the disease that devastates children.  There were 650 reported cases in the world in 2011 and just 218 in 2012.  In 1985 there were 350,000 cases, which shows tremendous progress, and at the same time, how difficult it is to get that number down to zero.  We are now in the final push to abolish the disease altogether, and though it’s been a tremendous challenge in the corners of the earth where Polio lingers – like Pakistan, where volunteers are being murdered, Rotary and our partners will ultimately be successful.

The foundation has two primary “pockets” of money, including the Annual Fund and the Permanent Fund.  The Annual Fund is funded by each Rotary club and it is suggested that each member also contributes $100 to it annually.  The “Every Rotarian Every Year” threshold for clubs is achieved when each active member contributes to the Annual Fund.  Sustaining Member status is achieved by each member that contributes $100 per year.  Paul Harris Fellowship status is granted to those contributing $1000.  John showed a slide that showed our club’s contributions totaling approximately $49,000 over the 25 years of our existence.  Our PolioPlus contributions have totaled about $10,000 thus far.  We have had 21 Paul Harris Fellows among our membership, and five of those are multi-award winners.  Three of our members are benefactors, which means that they have pledged gifts upon their deaths.  The 2570 members of District 7090 contributed $327,000 last year.  Unfortunately, John also pointed out that the district had about 3,500 members when he was the DG, showing how our membership has steadily declined, even as our giving has increased.

The foundation invests all of the monies from the Annual Fund for three years.  The interest that is earned pays for administrative costs.  Then, after three years go by, the prinicipal remains; half of which is used for grants and programs, and the other half of which comes back to the districts to fund district level grants and programs.

Joe DiPaolo then took the floor to talk about the Permanent Fund.  He noted that, of all the many philanthropic organizations in the world, the Rotary Foundation is ranked in the top four in terms of the efficiency – making sure that as much money as possible goes exactly where it should go.

Money that comes into the Permanent Fund is NEVER touched.  It sits there and is invested and the interest provides revenue for programs.  The balance was about $2.6 billion at the end of June 2011.  If a donor gives a donation in excess of $50k, it’s considered a bequest, and that means that the donor can choose what kind of programs they would like to fund (i.e. a water project).

Some people elect to donate money in their will to the Permanent Fund.  Others donate vehicles or set up insurance funds.  All of them know that, no matter what they contribute, they are making a lasting contribution that will succeed them forever.

Joe also commented about Rotary’s Peace and Conflict Resolution program, which is a Masters level educational program.  It’s about 10 years old now, and Joe thought it was very impressive to hear graduates from this program speaking about how they are making a difference in the world.  Pravin added that we can confidently suggest the Rotary Foundation to our friends and family members as well as an outlet for their donations – safe in the knowledge that their money will be put to good use.

Finally, Joe was presented with the fish bowl and selected Isadore’s ticket.  Alas, Isadore was however unable to pull the winning card from the deck, and the money carries over.