Make up questions:

1 – Which member paid a happy fine to announce that she/he is in a family way?

2 – Which member is eagerly awaiting approval from her/his application for a $20k matching grant?

3 – Who were the first two committed sponsors for this year’s first annual club golf outing?

Members in attendance were Katie, Jerry, Isadore, Chris, Liz, Gabe, Cindy, John, Jim, Mike, Jorge, Carolyn and John.

Chris led the Pledge of Allegiance and John led us in the Four-way Test.  Gabe then allowed a few moments for handshakes, for Jorge to get checked in, and for the rest of the members in attendance to settle in.

With no guests to welcome, the Prez began talking about the previous evening’s board meeting.  He reminded us about the Mix and Mingle that the Cheektowaga club is hosting at Diamond Hawk G.C. on April 20th.  He asked if any members were going, and Mike, Jorge, and Gabe himself indicated their intention to do so.  It sounds as if we will also have our normally scheduled lunch meeting at Westwood that week.

Gabe then reminded us that RYLA applications are due for the early deadline on April 6th, and we can send up to two students, per the board’s decision.  Family members and friends of Rotarians are encouraged to apply.

Chris then told the club that Habitat was asking for a confirmation of our participation on March 30th.  As it turns out, that is the day before Easter, and Chris apologized for scheduling our hand’s on activity on a day before a major holiday.  Other groups had apparently been dropping out, so he will send an email out to Dick and Gerry to see if they are still planning to come and volunteer.  The Service Club at Williamsville East is already indicating that a few kids want to join us.

Again, there was a severe shortage of Professor Phil in the room, and once again the members sobbed and cried out, “Why, oh why does the Earth continue to spin without Professor Phil’s wisdom to propel it?  How can we be expected to continue our mission of service without his guidance today?”

Somehow, we pushed forward with fines, and Mike took the floor, clearly upset that there would be no quiz, and said, “Well, there are not a lot of people here, so there won’t be many fines today.”

John tried to cheer Mike up, reached for his wallet, and said, “We’ve been talking non-stop over here.  Does that count?”

Cindy was fined because she didn’t have her nametag.

Gabe was fined because his pin was upside down, and I don’t ever remember another fine for that infraction.

Jim and Jorge paid for being late.

Carolyn was happy that our new Pope was named after Jorge, so she paid a fine for that.

Isadore, with a mouth full of bread, offered a big happy fine to tell us that his wife was pregnant.  He announced that he’d be willing to pay more than the $5 he was waving in his hand, but he figured that he needs the money for diapers and such.  Perhaps the bread in his mouth was a factor, but a minute later the folks at the next table realized what Isadore just told us and began congratulating him.  They asked him some questions and we learned that this will be Isadore’s third child.  Jerry and John wondered how that happened.  Congratulations to the whole DeMarco family!

Jim then paid a sad fine because he won’t be able to attend next week’s meeting.

Katie and Mike then paid for the same reason – Jim won’t be here.  (Just kidding!  Actually Katie and Mike won’t be able to make it either.)

Isadore paid as well and said that he also won’t be here next week and needs coverage for the Sgt. at Arms duties.  Chris hid under the table, and fines were closed.

Gabe then turned the floor over to Katie for an update regarding her Tanzania project and application for a matching grant.  She handed out a rough budget and said that they are hoping for the grant amount to be $20k.  This time they are planning to work with an orphanage on a nearby mountain that is run by a Bishop and taking care of 87 children.  The Bishop has gathered these kids to his house and Katie said that it sort of runs like a Boys and Girls Club in that they provide meals but just once per week.  They are also working with a Rotary Club there and they estimate that it will cost $20 per child for one school year.  They are hoping to pay for two years of schooling for each of the kids.  They have also included some sustainability elements to their plan including development of maize as a cash crop, some cows for food and milk, and a brick maker,

Liz made her somewhat fashionably late entrance, and Mike sought clarification regarding the split up of funding for the project.  Basically it works out to 25% WNY Rotary clubs, 25% from the African Rotary clubs, and 50% from the matching grant that Katie applied for.  She will be travelling there at the end of September this year.  Gabe commented that it was a “great idea” to partner with the clubs in Africa and suggested that, perhaps next year we could work with another club on our golf outing.  He asked Katie to keep us updated and said hi to Liz.

Liz apologized for walking in while Katie was talking and began updating us about the club’s first golf outing.  She thanked Carolyn and Katie for their work on the Excel spreadsheet and said that the deadline for sponsor commitments April 12th.  The key right now is to follow up on the letters that have gone out to each person and potential sponsor that we submitted.  Our goal is $10k in total sponsorships.  Gabe noted that we have already received commitments for $1000 of sponsorships and the mailer hadn’t even gone out yet.  He is hoping that some big companies like Independent Health and Blue Cross / Blue Shield will also step up.  We also need golfers.  If each member can bring in a foursome, “that would be wonderful.”  Every member has to get involved if we are going to be successful.

After our lunch, we resumed the discussion about our golf outing.  The donations that came in so far include $500 from Canterbury Woods and $500 from Bill Ackendorf.  Calspan is helping out with the printing, and Gabe said that we are already well on our way.  He repeated his earlier announcement about this week’s meeting, saying that there was not enough notice to clear the date for the support of the Cheektowaga Mix and Mingle.

Liz mentioned that the E-club has a growing collection of video presentations, and we are welcome to use them if we ever do not have a speaker.  We could plug a laptop in (if we have a fast air card or are able to connect to wifi) and pull up the video on the internet to show it on the flat screen.  Mike said that we do have a guest speaker next week, checked his phone, and said that “Golf outing planning” will be talking to the club next Thursday.  Liz said that Robert Banas has a classification talk on video.

Cindy asked if she could go on the record to request that the club support Tabbytown.  She noted all of the many many things that John and Carolyn do for the club and suggested that a portion of our event proceeds go to support their own charitable efforts.  Cindy also suggested that the club consider supporting “Behind Closed Doors,” the domestic violence relief organization that Mary Travers is involved with.  She recommends this because our club has a long history of supporting domestic violence causes and they are now establishing a new center with the Presbyterian Church.  Perhaps we can discuss this and do a field trip there soon.  Liz noted that Mary Travers also has a video presentation in the E-club’s library.

With that, Gabe asked if there were any other club business to discuss.  Nobody could think of anything else to talk about, so we ended the meeting a bit early.  Carolyn’s ticket was drawn for the 50/50, but she didn’t pull the winning card out of the deck, and the money carries over.