Welcome to District 5495 News

Rotarians in Zones 26/27 traveled to Tucson earlier this month to attend the 2021 Big West Zone Institute, the first in-person Rotary zone activity in over a year.
The event gave Rotarians a chance to meet Rotary International President Shekhar Mehta and hear first-hand about the work Rotary is doing throughout the world. The institute was preceded by a week of Governor-Elect and Governor-Nominee training and ended with a celebratory graduation ceremony Nov. 13 honoring all 30 Governors-Elect, including District 5495 Governor-Elect Larry Horton.
A photo album showcasing activities during the institute can be found here.
The event provided the current class of 2021-22 District Governors their first opportunity to meet and speak with RI President Mehta. In addition to training for the future governors, the institute itself featured a number of programs on such topics as empowering girls, promoting Rotary, building membership, diversity and more.
A panel discussion exploring RI President Mehta's "Empowering Girls Initiative" and featuring the RI president was moderated by District 5495 Immediate Past District Governor Elizabeth Mahoney. Elizabeth is currently the Zone 26 Ambassador for the Empowering Girls Initiative.
The highlight of the institute was Saturday evening's Governor-Elect Graduation Ceremony. The entire class of 2022-23 District Governors was introduced one by one and saluted by RI President Mehta and RI Director Vicki Puliz.
Our own DGE Larry Horton was accompanied on state by his wife, Jenn, and daughter, Emily.
Submitted by PDG Barb Feder, District 5495 DEI Chair
No doubt about it, DEI has become such a politicized and puzzling topic to so many of us. 
The thread of DEI was carefully woven throughout or recent Rotary Institute where I was so pleased to hear Kieran Singh Sirah speak. Kieran is the President of the International Storytelling Center and believes that storytelling can not only enrich lives, but holds the key to building a conflict-free society.
Think about it in relation to bringing diversity to our Rotary Clubs!  Every culture in the world has its own history and stories and every person within those diverse cultures has a different perspective and life story to share.  That means the more diverse our clubs can be, the richer they will be in their Experiences, Stories and History!
I left that session with a smile on my face because of that nugget Kieran shared with us.  Do you want your club to be enriched with different cultures around you? It’s easy-Diversity. 
Your club and community will be all the better for it.
The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona (TRVFA) is a non-profit organization under IRS Code 501(c)(3) whose purpose is to assist those people who qualify under Arizona law to obtain financial assistance to further their vocational studies. TRVFA is an organization that meets Arizona’s Credit For Contributions To A Qualifying Charitable Organization requirements.  Our QCO Code is 20698.
Candidates who meet the eligibility requirements are identified and recommended to TRVFA by financial aid counselors in vocational education institutions. and/or Rotarians and their clubs.
Mailing Address:  TRVFA, P O Box 14412, Scottsdale, AZ 85267 Contact Us
TRVFA was created to give students an opportunity to realize their dreams.  Through completion of vocational training, they can look forward to earning a living wage to support themselves and their families.
We are funded by donations. Donations from Rotarians, Rotary Clubs, individuals, and businesses support students in vocational programs in communities across Arizona.  It is never too early or too late to donate.  Every dollar helps.
We are experiencing historically high demand for our grants.  We hope we can count on our Rotarians in Districts 5495 and 5500 to reach out to their circle of influence so we can bring in enough new streams of revenue to keep up with meeting the needs we have the opportunity to serve.  CLICK HERE if you'd like to help by making an online donation now or - if you prefer - send a check with our mail-in donation form
Credit for Contributions to Qualifying Charitable Organizations  QCO
This individual income tax credit is available for contributions to Qualifying Charitable Organizations that provide immediate basic needs to residents of Arizona who receive temporary assistance for needy families (TANF) benefits, are low-income residents of Arizona, or are individuals who have a chronic illness or physical disability. The tax credit is claimed on Form 321. The maximum credit allowed is $800 for married filing joint filers and $400 for single, heads of household, and married filing separate filers.
We are extremely sad to inform that Past RI President Cliff Dochterman (1992 - 93) is no more.
It has been said that Cliff Dochterman has spoken to more Rotary Clubs than anyone in the world. Over the past 50 years, he has served in almost every Rotary assignment, from Berkeley Rotary Club president to worldwide President of Rotary International in 1992-93. He has traveled the world on humanitarian projects and has been honored by the heads of state in many nations.
He had a 45-year career as an administrator at University of California at Berkeley and the University of the Pacific in Stockton. He has had a lifetime association with the Boy Scouts of America, and is a former president of the local Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the county Parks and Recreation Commission. Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge has recognized his speeches with the George Washington Honor Medal.
His RI theme was 'Real Happiness Is Helping Others'
He and his wife, Mary Elena belong to the Rotary Club of Moraga, near San Francisco, California.
RIP Cliff Dochterman.
Source: RI Director Julio Silva-Santisteban
Thank you John Pennypacker for alerting us to this loss.  John shared a link to a video of Cliff Dochterman educating incoming District Governors about how to effectively lead Rotary volunteers.  It is a good lesson for any leader.  CLICK HERE to view a classic presentation titled "You Are The Conductor."
Michelle Holcomb of the Rotary Club of Fountain Hills has been selected as District Governor for 2024-2025.
The selection was made by the District's Nominating Committee and announced by District Governor Bret McKeand.
"We are very fortunate to have Michelle as our District Governor Nominee Designate," said Bret. "Michelle is passionate about Rotary and has been involved for a number of years in numerous Rotary projects at both the club and district levels. She is an experienced leader and will do a fantastic job guiding our district into the future!"
Her background, briefly:
  • Michelle has been a member of The Rotary Club of Fountain Hills since 2010 and served as club president in 2015-16, 2016-17, co-president in 2018-19 and again in 2021-22.
  • She has served as a District 5495 Assistant Governor for 2019-21 and is currently serving her third year as an AG.
  • She is a graduate of the Rotary Leadership Institute and PETS.
  • She is a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and Pinnacle Presbyterian Church.
  • Her achievements outside of Rotary include serving on the Rio Verde Community Association Board of Directors for six years, chairing the Rio Verde Architectural Committee for six years and helping form the Fountain Hills Business Alliance.
  • Michelle’s 27-year real estate career has expanded to include a contracting business which she and her husband, Gary, enjoy working together.
  • Golf and gardening are her favorite leisure time activities.

    Congratulations Michelle!
District 5495 graduated four Rotarians at its most recent Rotary Leadership Institute training held virtually on Nov. 6.
Congratulations to our most recent graduates: Joe Sweeney of the Rotary Club of Prescott, Joe O'Reilly of the Rotary Club of Mesa, Nancy Kohnen of the Rotary Club of Surprise Sunset and Lola McClane of the Rotary Club of Mesa West.
The next session of Rotary Leadership Institute is scheduled for Feb. 27 and will be held virtually.
For more information, visit https://rotary5495.org/page/rli-home.
November is Rotary Foundation Month, which brings many opportunities to show your support for the Foundation. Last year, the Foundation helped fund 2,066 global grants and 467 district grants. To keep up with demand, it’s more important than ever to celebrate our Foundation.

One way to do this is to be active on Giving Tuesday, which is November 30. Giving Tuesday has grown into a global movement of generosity. It’s a day that empowers us to give to our communities through service, kindness, and financial support — all acts that Rotary values deeply. One easy way to celebrate Giving Tuesday is to
make a gift to the Foundation’s Annual Fund-SHARE

Another giving opportunity that begins during Foundation Month is Give the Gift of Rotary. In November and December, you’ll notice materials for this initiative being shared with members around the world. This key fundraising campaign highlights the impact a gift can have and is vital to raising funds for the grants that make Doing Good in the World possible.
By Bret McKeand
District 5495 Governor 2021-22
November is Rotary Foundation Month and there’s no better time to remind ourselves and our clubs of the tremendous impact our contributions to the foundation have had – and continue to have -- on our fellow citizens throughout the world.
As we all know, our continued support and contributions to The Rotary Foundation allow Rotarians to impact so many lives in every corner of the globe. As stated on Rotary’s website, “The Rotary Foundation transforms our gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world.”
The Rotary Foundation was created at the 1917 convention. Outgoing RI President Arch Klumph proposed Rotary set up an endowment for the purpose of “doing good in the world.” Hard to believe, but the foundation we all know of today was started with an initial donation of $26.50.
Rotary International has announced the clubs who have earned a Rotary Citation for 2020-21, and 16 clubs in District 5495 are among Rotary clubs worldwide to earn the distinction.
The Rotary Citation is based on clubs achieving goals inputted into My Rotary for the 2020-21 Rotary year. To qualify for a Rotary Citation, a club president needs to record club goals at My Rotary.
District 5495 clubs earning a Rotary Citation for 2020-21:
* Rotary Club of Chandler-Horizon
* Rotary Club of Gilbert
* Rotary Club of Goodyear Pebblecreek
* Rotary Club of Kyrene
* Rotary Club of Laughlin
* Rotary Club of Mesa
* Rotary Club of Peoria North
* Rotary Club of Peoria
* Rotary Club of Phoenix East
* Rotary Club of Scottsdale North
* Rotary Club of Scottsdale Sunrise
* Rotary Club of Sedona Village
* Rotary Club of Sun City
* Rotary Club of Sun Lakes
* Rotary Club of Tempe Downtown
* Rotary Club of Wickenburg
"Congratulation to all our recipients, and a special thanks to those who served as club presidents last year," said District Governor Bret McKeand.
"Last year was an extremely challenging year for all our clubs. Our clubs continued to serve our communities during a most difficult year, and it's great to be able to recognize those who went above and beyond."
Certificates were emailed directly to 2020-21 club presidents. Clubs who may not have received their certificates are encouraged to contact DG Bret at scibret@aol.com.
Rotary’s Action Plan is the bridge between what we are today and what we want and need to be. It is our plan for fulfilling our vision of a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change. Our members, as people of action, are the key to achieving any of the plan’s four priorities. So adding members allows us to achieve more. RI President Shekhar Mehta is deeply committed to growing and sustaining Rotary membership.
As one of his presidential initiatives, Mehta is asking clubs and districts to:
  1. Get a commitment from each active Rotaractor or Rotarian to sponsor one new member by 30 June 2022. The Each One, Bring One initiative will help us stay relevant, attract new members, and engage and retain current members and participants.
  2. Use public events to remind the public that Rotary and Rotaract clubs serve others and create positive change. Members can bring guests to events like Rotary Days of Service or this year’s presidential conferences, where they’ll experience the life-changing impact of Rotary.
  3. Form an effective membership committee to focus on growth, engagement, and making Rotary accessible to more people. The committee should have processes for finding prospective members, introducing them to current members, inviting them to join, and then offering a clear and useful orientation, fun activities, and Rotary opportunities beyond the club.
  4. Diversify Rotary by supporting Rotary’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. By connecting with prospective members and participants from all backgrounds and inviting them to experience Rotary, we’ll gather an abundance of perspectives, skills, and solutions.
Recognize those who attract new and diverse members and engage and retain those who join. Visit the Membership Society for New Member Sponsors and celebrate your fellow members who have committed to expanding our reach.
District 5495 Membership Update: The District 5495 Membership Committee is hosting monthly "office hours" 5-6 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month. Club presidents, membership chairs and other Rotarians are invited to discuss challenges and opportunities with members of the District Committee. For Zoom invitation information, email membership@rotary5495.org.