August 2020 Newsletter
District Governor Elizabeth, dipping her toe into the adventurous world of video production, sends her August message to the District via YouTube!
You may view Elizabeth's video HERE
You may also view the video on the District website.  Click HERE
Up until this Rotary year, Rotary has concentrated on SIX areas of focus as shown on the chart to the left.  The Rotary Foundation Trustees and the Rotary International Board of Directors have both unanimously approved adding a new SEVENTH area of focus:
Supporting the Environment
More than $18 million in Foundation global grant funding has been allocated to environment related projects over the past five years. Creating a distinct area of focus to support the environment will give Rotary members even more ways to bring about positive change in the world and increase our impact. 
2019-20 RI President Mark Maloney says that during his travels around the world as a Rotary senior leader he encountered many Rotary members and Rotaractors who advocated for the environment to be an area of focus. “I believe strongly that our Rotary Foundation programs now have a valuable added dimension to our efforts,”  says, Maloney.
It’s a Priority and It’s Good for Rotary- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Time to Raise the Bar
            For Rotary to grow and thrive so we can better serve our local and world communities, the time has come to pay full attention to the make-up of our clubs so that we better reflect those communities. To effect that change a new statement, plan of action and committee are being developed by Rotary International.  Over the next months, our Rotary Clubs will receive information, tools and assistance in how to diversify membership and include people of all backgrounds. The time has come to reach into our communities and walk the talk.
The following comes right off the Rotary website and has links in blue for you to follow. Take the Diversifying Your Club assessment and see where your club stands.  Our District 5495 Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee Taskforce Is forming up and will check in with you soon!  Let’s grow a bigger, better & bolder Rotary by committing to our new priority program.
PDG Barb Feder
DEI Committee Task Force Chair
In a world impacted by Covid 19, our tendency is to turn inward, to ourselves, our family and our own communities. But if you paraphrase Rotary’s Vision Statement “ take action to create lasting change-across the globe, in our communities and in ourselves” This moves us in a much broader vision of what our community is, and in that sense it’s what International Service is about.Looking at Rotary’s 7 areas of focus: Peace and Conflict Resolution, Water and Sanitation, Disease prevention and Treatment, Maternal and Child health, Basic Education and Literacy, Economic and Community Development and The Environment, gives us our basic roadmap for Rotary’s impact not only at home but around the world.
It was not very long after Rotary was formed that the founding members did their first community project-a public toilet. A few years later they did their first international project, a medical clinic in Canada, in 1912, so you could say that International Service is part of our DNA. And while many of our fellow Rotarians would say that my wife brought me into Rotary, I would say that International Service has kept me in Rotary.
One of the newest Rotary Foundation programs is called Disaster Response Grants.  It’s purpose isto provide immediate aid and relief from natural and man made disasters.  The grant award is $25,000 from The Rotary Foundation (TRF), and it does not require club cash or DDF. 
Our District Rotary Foundation Committee (DRFC) first submitted an application in April 2020 to provide immediate clean water relief for the Navajo Nation due to the serious Covid-19 outbreak.  Our application was turned down as TRF was out of funds.  Those funds were replenished in June and our application was approved on July 7, 2020. 
More than a third of Navajo do not have running water in their homes, making hand-washing and sanitation a costly and especially difficult situation with Covid.    The $25,000 Disaster Grant will purchase 200 gallon water tanks at a cost of $330 to Navajo homes that have no running water or access to running water.  Tanks will be filled by water trucks from nearby chapters.  This grant will benefit 75 Navajo families.   The cooperation organization that will deliver and install these tanks is DigDeep, a non-profit company that seeks to provide water solutions to the Navajo.    For more information about this project, please contact our DRFC Navajo Water Team.
Your D5495 Peacebuilder Network This Month
From Nancy Van Pelt, Rotary Club of Prescott Frontier (
One, unplanned but clear, recurring theme in the many (Virtual RI Conference) sessions I’ve attended during the last 4 weeks - whether Arizona-based, national or totally international - is ‘reimagine.’
No matter what the main topic of the breakout session, it was clear that “The Great Pause” of COVID-19 has given us a chance for reflection and quiet time to rediscover ourselves.  REIMAGINE has meant an opportunity to think about questions such as ‘What kind of person do I want to be moving forward?’‘What is Rotary’s role in this new environment?’, and ‘What is my role?’  
I know that I have spent plenty of time reflecting on these questions.  Reimagining has been a profound experience for me and - having talked with many other Rotarians during this time - I know that I’ve not been alone. Many are having similar experiences and I’m very excited for our future!
The Rotary Vocational Fund of Arizona has new leadership.  At their annual meeting July 18, Greg Podd, Past International Vice President of Rotary International was elected as Chairman of the Board and Past District Governor Jeanie Morgan was elected President.  Immediate Past President, PDG Dan Messersmith will remain on the Board of Directors and continue to manage the grant application process for TRVFA.  Dennis Haberer will remain involved as an honorary advisor to the Board.
Marc Snow will continue as Secretary, and Steve DeMar will continue as Treasurer of TRVFA.
At the regular board meeting which immediately followed the annual meeting, Amanda Sanchez and Sherrie Morgan were introduced as candidates to fill vacant seats on the Board representing Districts 5495 and 5500 respectively.  Amanda is a member of the Surprise Rotary Club and currently serves as an Assistant Governor in District 5495.  Sherrie is the immediate Past President of the Bisbee Rotary Club.  Since the board meeting both candidates were unanimously elected to fill the two vacant positions.
District 5495 is now recruiting for a district treasurer who will officially serve the district from July 2021-June 2023.  The spring of 2021 will be a training and orientation period working with the current Treasurer.  The ideal candidate will have experience in posting into an on-line accounting system with the capacity of isolating income and expenses into various committee and program classes.  Additionally, we hope to find someone who has demonstrated interest in supporting the District in a Leadership capacity by graduating from Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) and/or Rotary Leadership Academy (RLA).  Job requirements include but are not limited to the following:
  • Attend Quarterly Finance Committee meetings with voice but no vote  
  • Prepare quarterly financial statements 
  • Work with incoming District Governor to help them prepare budget for their year of service
  • Work with the accounting firm conducting the required annual review 
  • Provide required annual reports to Rotary International
  • Provide required annual financial report to Club Presidents
  • Work with individual or firm hired to file annual tax returns  
  • Issue semi-annual dues invoices to all clubs in the District and follow up to ensure all dues are paid.  
  • Daily attention and prompt response to the financial activities of the various committees and programs operating under the District’s taxpayer identification number 
  • Ensure clear communication and confidence in the fiscal integrity of Rotary District 5495 
Please forward your interest listing your qualifications to DISTRICT TREASURER
The Mexico USA Friendship Conference and Global Grants Exchange for this Rotary year has been rescheduled for February 12-15, 2021. Save the dates!
Given the fact that we are unable to book flights at this time and with so many current unknowns about the evolution of the Covid-19 pandemic, the DGs of 5495 and 4185, Elizabeth and Sergio, held a brief call over the weekend and made the decision to reschedule the conference for February. We will miss the Dias de los Muertos celebrations, but we still plan to go to Tlaxcala.
The good news is you now have more time to put a global grant project together to present at the conference. Rotary clubs from districts here and in Mexico, and perhaps other countries will gather to present Rotary Foundation global grant projects and find international partners. Why not your club? 
Arizona Rotary Leadership Academy (RLA): Exciting Leadership Training Opportunity 
Do you have valuable skills and talents from which your district and Rotary can benefit? Are you interested in growing as a Rotary leader?  
Have we got an exciting leadership training opportunity for you!!
In 2017-18, Districts 5500 and 5495 formed a partnership to lead and coordinate Rotary Leadership Academy, an innovative online learning approach to Rotary leadership development first created in 2004.  It is the Academy’s mission is to train identified and selected Rotarians for future district leadership roleswhile simultaneously understanding  and being sensitive to the demands on Rotarians time and busy schedules.
Annually, Past District Governors, current Governors, current Assistant Governors and RLA graduates nominate candidates for the academy. These nominees, past Rotary club Presidents, Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) graduates and Rotarians interested in leadership roles beyond their clubs are provided training which prepares them for the “next step,” a district leadership role. 

Polio social mobilizers have adapted their work to support families in Afghanistan.

During March, polio social mobilisers provided routine immunization referral services to over 37,000 children. ©UNICEF Afghanistan


In March, polio social mobilisers from the UNICEF-run Immunization Communication Network (ICN) provided routine immunization referral services to over 37,000 children in southern and eastern Afghanistan.

The polio programme’s routine immunization efforts in Afghanistan have made important gains, especially in eastern Afghanistan, in the areas bordering Pakistan. Polio social mobilisers support mother and child health referral services, and help families keep track of their children’s health records. As the mobilisers are recruited from their community, they know the families in their neighborhood and can trace each child’s planned immunization schedule from birth.

It is critical that routine immunization continues throughout the pandemic to protect children from life-threatening diseases including polio. Polio mobilisers have found their work is even more valued during the COVID-19 response.

Abdul Ghafar Azizi, who is based in Surkhud District, Jalalabad, says ‘’I used to announce the immunization sessions through the Mosque but not all the targeted children were brought to the health facility. Now through the ICN support to routine immunization, the number of missed children has reduced due to tracking of every child in the community and coordinating with the health facility.”

“This is critical during the ongoing pandemic, as families are not sure if they can leave their homes to take their children to the health facility for immunization. The polio mobilisers are their guide in the community.’’

Read more on the UNICEF ROSA website.

Messaging apps transform how polio programme workers support families during COVID-19



Nida, a polio community worker in Lahore, is glued to her mobile phone. But this is not a leisurely conversation with a friend. She is messaging a mother in her neighbourhood who is worried about COVID-19.

Since the pandemic began, polio programme workers across the country have pivoted to use messaging applications, especially WhatsApp, to disseminate COVID-19 prevention and care messages to communities. This is one aspect of the extensive support being offered by the Pakistan polio programme to the COVID-19 response.

Over the last few months, the polio programme has produced a suite of videos, digital pamphlets and posters on COVID-19 prevention and care in formats that can be easily shared and viewed via messaging platforms.

“This is an example of resilience – how the polio team has adapted to the change and found an effective way to support the people across the country during the COVID-19 crisis,” said UNICEF’s Dennis Chimenya, the Communication Task Team lead of the Pakistan Polio Programme. “Standing with the community during these challenging times will certainly contribute to building further trust in polio frontline workers.”

Hello everyone! I hope you are doing well.

Last month we had our annual District Council Retreat where our new Assistant Governors learn leadership skills and how to contact and help their Interact clubs throughout the year. This year we have 32 high schoolers on the district council, 28 AGs and 4 on the executive board. Everyone on the council went through an application process and an interview conducted by the executive board. This year we have a younger council than usual, most of the AGs are underclassmen this year. While a lot of them may not have as much leadership experience as an older council might have had, everyone has immense potential. A younger council also gives us the opportunity to further grow the leadership of the AGs as they continue to serve on the council. Some even have the opportunity to serve on the council for their whole high school career and serve as the next District Governor.


CLUB CLINIC: Embracing change
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the ways that many of us experience Rotary. But every challenge also opens opportunities. Clubs are discovering that meeting online gives them more flexibility to adjust meeting times when that’s better for members. For some clubs, attendance has increased, and members say they can now participate more and contribute more to their clubs’ work. Clubs are also less constrained by geographic distance in pursuing members, inviting inspiring speakers, or partnering with others on service efforts. Discover some of the innovative ways clubs are adapting on Rotary Voices.
Improve your online meeting skills

Even if you’re already an expert at virtual meetings, look at the Meeting Online learning topic in the Learning Center. Meeting Online has everything you need to run a meeting smoothly and even some tools to help you master the advanced features of virtual meeting platforms. Rotary staff and members frequently add resources that cover topics like keeping members engaged virtually and training officers online. The Meeting Online topic is available in nine languages. Sign in to My Rotary and then go to Meeting Online.

Using grants to respond to the pandemic

With The Rotary Foundation, you have several options you can use to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and care for people in your community and around the world. Your district can use district grant funds to support local activities. And any new global grant that addresses COVID-19 doesn’t have to meet the Foundation’s usual requirement that 30 percent of the funding come from foreign sources.

New flexibility in the Rotary Citation

Starting in July, Rotary club leaders can choose the goals they want to apply toward the 2020-21 Rotary Citation. Of the 25 possible goals, select 13 or more that you think are the most relevant and achievable. You’ll be able to report many of your accomplishments simply by marking the goals “Achieved” in Rotary Club Central. Download the 2020-21 Citation Goals and Instructions to learn more.

Share your story on Rotary Showcase

Since Rotary Showcase was created in 2015, thousands of clubs have used it to demonstrate how they’re making a difference. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, more clubs than ever have been posting their stories, with more than 1,000 projects related to COVID-19 added since March. Be inspired, connect with others, and add your own project at Rotary Showcase.

A first in Arizona rotary history!!:  A VIRTUAL RYLA program will be presented over Columbus Day weekend, October 10 and 11, 2020.  Participate from the comfort of your home or wherever you may be.  Do not miss out on this exciting and innovative program!   Mark down these dates now.  Details will be provided soon!
Sherry Mischel
Director, RYLA Ponderosa
After working at the Food Bank helping to prepare emergency boxes, members of the Tempe Downtown Rotary club determined the items necessary in order to put together a healthy meal and came up with The Meal In A Bag concept.  Some of our struggling families
may need some meal ideas that are easy to fix and not too time consuming.
Here are the instructions sent out to club members to assemble
a dinner in one bag so anyone can put the dinner together with very little effort:
Example: Italian Dinner
1 can spaghetti sauce
1 box spaghetti 
 1 can vegetable or fruit
1 container parmesan cheese
dessert: package of cookies
Note: Nothing perishable 
Prefer canned or boxed items
Feeds 4-6 
Questions or to participate call Lynn Gustke
Cell 480-236-9327
Our speaker, Jana Bommersbach, has been a reporter and editor of newspapers, written books and appeared to TV with both political commentaries and investigative stories. In short, “She’s a real Arizona treasure!”  What followed was Jana entertaining Phoenix West Rotarians with true stores and lore about Wild, Weird, Wicked Arizona. Because she was sure we’d be a friendly group, she used us as guinea pigs for her first Zoom presentation in her fast paced, non-stop, fun, fact-filled, informative history lesson. Just a few of the highlights follow. 
Jana quickly grabbed the attention of all attendees by sharing details about the most famous shootout in the history of the west—the 1881 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona Territory—a fight that started at “2:45 on Wednesday, October 26 1881 and ended 27 seconds later with three dead and five who would later die because of it!” Despite its name, she indicated the fight actually took place behind the corral. 
Jana shared that even though Arizona has more than their share of famous Arizonans including Wyatt Earp, Geronimo, César Chavez and Wonder Woman, achieving statehood was a 50-year struggle, which finally ended on February 14, 1912. The US simply didn’t want Arizona—it was said that Arizona needed less heat, more water and a few good citizens—the same things that Hell needs!
The District Evening of Entertainment originally scheduled for March 21, 2020 has been rescheduled for Saturday November 7, 2020.  If you had seats for the March 21st date, you will have the same seats for the November 7th date.  If you did not purchase seats for March 21st, now would be a good time to get this on your calendar and join with many of your fellow District Rotarians for an evening of food, fun and entertainment.
If necessary due to public health requirements, Barleens is prepared to perform two (2) shows for us.  With this in mind, now is the time to purchase tickets to this event if you have not yet done so. To purchase tickets for the event, contact Harvey Clark.