Posted by DG Elizabeth Mahoney
Fellow Rotarians:
This Rotary year has been has come with a multitude of challenges, opportunities, and emotions. First, I would like to personally offer my condolences to all of you who have lost a loved one and/or club member to COVID-19 or other causes. I have been notified of many Rotarians we have lost through the pandemic even as recent as this morning. There are no words that I can use to fully express the sorrow and grief that I feel and know you are experiencing. I do look forward to the day when I can give each of you a hug and truly share in what you’ve all been going through, and honor together those we have lost and miss dearly.
We know the pandemic has affected everyone, and in different ways.  Some with job loss, health issues, depression, loneliness, and so much more.  So much has changed in Rotary as well.  We miss our face-to-face contact. Due to the pandemic, most, if not all, of our events have either moved to virtual or been postponed.  A positive in this, is that this has allowed for tremendous cost savings as a district.  This includes both last year and this year’s district conferences being cancelled, the RI Convention in Hawaii moving to a virtual format, Club Leadership Academy as a virtual event and more.  Though, we could hold the extra funds in reserves until the end of the year, we believe that it is best that the funds stay with you, the clubs - our members.
For that reason, the District 5495 Governor Line in partnership with our wonderful finance committee, Finance chair PDG, Terry Cowan and District Treasurer PDG, Jeanie Morgan believe it is in the clubs’ best interest to not assess District 5495 dues for the January 2021 through June 2021 period.  
This “refund” equals $30 per member, which doesn’t sound like a lot.  When you multiply that with the number of Rotarians in our district it is keeping $63,247 at the club level.  In addition, since the pandemic began, two actual refunds of $10 per member took place totaling around: $44,000.  That means since March of 2020, we have been able to keep over $107,000 at the clubs.  We all hope this has helped, and that your clubs are opening opportunities all around!
Some considerations for the waiver of this District dues cycle might include: helping members who are struggling, giving an extra amount to The Rotary Foundation or End Polio Now (, donating to The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona ( or potentially putting this towards a project that you care about – maybe for Rotary Week of Service in April or the upcoming global grants exchange.
I want to personally thank you for the amazing work that you all have done this year. We have not only impacted our communities all over Arizona, but we have touched individuals all over the world.  We truly have opened opportunities for those that need them through food donations, help for our first responders, schools, and more!
Let’s continue the great work we’re doing, and I look forward to being able to see all of you as soon as it is safe to do so.  Kevin and I will be getting the vaccine this coming Tuesday, and I am beyond grateful for that opportunity.  I encourage all clubs to consider being part of the distribution volunteer base for the COVID-19 vaccines.  As we recall, Rotarians did not create the polio vaccine.  But we are the ones on the ground to make sure that it’s distributed to all - so that lives can be saved.  Maybe, just maybe, we could be the same positive force for this pandemic.
I wish you all a happy February and I look forward to what’s to come this month.  We have our first ever virtual USA/Mexico Friendship Conference (Feb 12-14), Virtual RYLA (Feb 12-13), our Interact Conference (Feb 20th), Virtual Rotary Leadership Institute (Feb 27th), and our preparation for President Elect training. Also – THANK YOU!!! - we have almost raised all the funds needed for our wheelchair distribution project in Oaxaca. Thank you so, so much!
Much Love,
Your District Governor - Elizabeth