July 2020 Newsletter
Friends in Rotary,
As we begin this new Rotary year, we are experiencing life in a way that feels unprecedented and challenging.  Our country is grappling to find solutions to end racial injustice and the inequities that exist.  We are more physically distanced than ever, and we are in the midst of a surge in this pandemic.  Despite all of this, I have hope.  I have hope because of Rotary.  
Rotarians may come from all different backgrounds, we represent all different ages, but we share our core values.  These values are: Service, Fellowship, Diversity, Integrity and Leadership.  We develop our friendships as an opportunity for service.  We maintain the highest ethical standards in everything we do.  We know that every Rotarian’s skillset offers a unique opportunity to serve society.  We apply the ideal of service in every aspect of our lives.  And, we advance goodwill, peace and understanding through this ideal of service, to paraphrase the mission of Rotary.  Rotary offers hope because we are People of Action.  We do not just make statements; we find solutions to the challenges we, and our neighbors face.  We look for opportunities and solutions! Opportunities to serve, lead differently, connect in creative ways, and reflect on how we can move forward with more significant impact and passion.
Although COVID-19 has massively impacted Arizona, as Rotarians we have not slowed down.  Our clubs, all of you, have responded mightily. Our clubs have been donating to food banks, offering support to small business owners, encouraging our first responders, and providing face-shields and masks to those who need them.  It is awe-inspiring, and I am so proud to be part of Rotary in Arizona.


The Service Above Self Award is a rare honor. Each of the 530-some districts throughout the world have the privilege of submitting a nomination to the Rotary International Board of Directors – yet only a maximum of 150 recipients are chosen each year for the honor.

The purpose of the award is to recognize Rotarians who have demonstrated “exemplary humanitarian service” with an emphasis on personal volunteer efforts and active involvement in helping others.

DG David announced that Bob Jensen of the Mesa West Rotary Club is one of those chosen for this year.  

Bob had a 40-year career as an audiologist, started a number of audiology-related companies over the years and retired about five years ago. In 1992, he was part of a team of medical professionals who travelled to Guaymas, Mexico to assess how they might best help with medical issues in that area.  

When they returned and compared notes, they determined they should focus on issues associated with hearing.  Shortly thereafter, Bob assumed leadership of annual missions to Guaymas to assess patients, treat minor ear disorders, conduct hearing tests, provide amplification with hearing aids and consult with local school personnel on aural rehabilitation in the school system.


District Governor David Simmer kicked off the district’s first-ever virtual conference June 20 with the announcement of several individual and club awards, as well as the presentation of the Service Above Self Award, the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an individual Rotarian.

The online “recognition” program recapped David’s tenure as district governor and celebrated the work of District 5495 Rotarians and their contributions over the past year – a year severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am so proud of how our clubs and their leaders responded to difficult circumstances,” said DG David.

“These were uncharted territories, but that is what Rotarians do … we race toward those who can use our help … who just need a hand to get back on their feet.”

The program featured the presentation of several awards, but DG David was quick to emphasize that he considers all Rotarians “heroes and champions.”

Rotarian of the Year

The Rotarian of the Year Award, also known as the Leadership for the Second Century Award, was awarded to Jim Bissonett. 

Jim has served as the chair of the District Rotary Foundation Committee for the past five years (also serving as chair of District 5510’s Foundation Committee prior to the merger). He is stepping down and will be replaced in July by Past District Governor Charlie Tegarden. 

“Jim has been a critical player in building district-wide support for Global Grants,” said DG David. “I believe we have broader participation by our clubs in global grants than any other district in our Zone.”  

“Jim has been committed to putting the funds that the district had to work with into projects that were important to the clubs. The club priorities were always Jim’s priorities,” added DG David.

      Supporting the Environment Becomes New Area of Focus

The Rotary Foundation Trustees and Rotary International Board of Directors have added a new 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.

Supporting the environment becomes Rotary's seventh area of focus, which are categories of service activities supported by global grants. It joins peacebuilding and conflict prevention; disease prevention and treatment; water, sanitation, and hygiene; maternal and child health; basic education and literacy; and community economic development.

Grant applications for projects will be accepted beginning on 1 July 2021. Gifts and commitments from Rotarians and others will be sought to provide global grant support for the new area of focus. More information about this new area of focus will be announced soon.

Do you want to raise money for your club, The Rotary Foundation, PolioPlus or our District's Interact Ambassador Project?  Stay tuned!  Step Up For Rotary is coming soon  Email: stepup5495@gmail.com if you are interested in learning more!

July Breakouts

Our inspiring breakout sessions will continue into July, after the virtual convention, to help you start the Rotary year off right.

Register for July breakouts using the table below. (Click HERE for table.) There you will find the session title, date and time, registration or recording link as well as a brief description for each breakout. Session times will be listed in UTC-5. All sessions are in English. Simultaneous interpretation will not be available.

Please note this table is updated by breakout session organizers. If you do not see all session details at this time, please check back regularly for updates. Links to any available recordings will be posted on an ongoing basis through the month of August. Session resources will be uploaded to the Convention Breakouts learning topic on the Learning Center  at the discretion of each breakout session organizer.



RI Virtual Convention - July Breakouts for Peace
By the time you read this note the 2020 Rotary International Virtual Convention will be history - EXCEPT!...the July Breakouts! At last count there are going to be at least 41 sessions. At least 10 of them easily relate to our number one Area of Focus - Promoting Peace- so your D5495 Peacebuilder Network encourages you to take advantage of these opportunities to deepen your peacebuilding knowledge.
RI - “Our inspiring breakout sessions will continue into July, after the virtual convention, to help you start the Rotary year off right. Register for July breakouts using the links. There you will find the session title, date and time, registration or recording link as well as a brief description for each breakout. Session times are listed in UTC-5 (Chicago).”  https://www.riconvention.org/en/honolulu/july-breakouts
4. Adult Harassment in Rotary: Awareness and Resources
This session will help you identify, address, and prevent adult harassment.
DATE & TIME (UTC-5) - July 16, 2020, 01:30
Navajo Nation receives $600 Million from the CARES Act, really???
Yes, it was good news to everyone’s ears that the Navajo Nation was to receive $600 Million of the $8 Billion set aside for all tribes through the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act)in March and it needs to be spent and accounted for by end of December 2020 and we are receiving questions about this as it relates to our Rotary water projects.  
It comes with restrictions. Restrictions that mandate the money can only be usedto cover expenses that are “incurred due to the public health emergency” and not water as highlighted in https://www.npr.org/2020/06/05/869949418/navajo-nation-stymied-by-cares-act-restrictions
We now know that washing your hands often, wearing a face mask and social distancing has made a positive impact against this COVID-19 virus, but when about 40% of the Navajo Nation doesn’t have inside running tap water and/or toilet it makes it next to impossible to follow these guidelines as highlighted in https://www.npr.org/2019/11/18/779821510/many-native-americans-cant-get-clean-water-report-finds
Rotarians Join Project C.U.R.E. in Sending
$400,000 in Medical Supplies to Hospitals in Need
Even though the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is impacting The Rotary Club of Scottsdale weekly meeting way of life, club members recently joined area Rotarians and Project C.U.R.E. in sending $400,000 in medical supplies to hospitals in need.   
Members of the Rotary Club of Scottsdale were joined by members of the Club Rotario de Phoenix (which was sponsored by Rotary Club of Scottsdale), Rotary Club of Tempe South, and Rotary Club of Prescott, as well as, other Rotarians to pack $400,000 worth of medical supplies for five hospitals in Arizona's Southern neighboring State Sonora, Mexico. 
The supplies were donated by Tempe AZ’s Project C.U.R.E.. The Rotarians loaded a 53-foot long SWIFT commercial truck with supplies from the Project C.U.R.E.’s Tempe warehouse.
Seven Rotary Clubs in Arizona District 5495 and Club Rotarios in Sonora Mexico donated money to pay for the transportation and cross-border expenses.  The cross-border effort was strongly supported by the Arizona Governor’s Office through the Arizona-Mexico Commission, the Arizona Department of Health Services through the Office of Border Health, the Secretaria de Salud del Estado de Sonora en Hermosillo, and Sonora Governor’s Office through the Commission Sonora-Arizona.

Peace a Reality

D5495 Rotarians spread the word about Rotary Peace Fellowships. 

Now two candidates have been endorsed by our District!


We are pleased to announce that two applicants for Rotary Peace Fellowships were recently interviewed and approved for endorsement by our Peace Fellowship Subcommittee. The next steps for these amazing individuals will be a thorough review process by Rotary Peace Centers, which typically receives more than 1,000 applications each year for 130 fellowships.  We wish our two outstanding candidates every success in their ongoing efforts to do good in the world.  Both are bright, young, vibrant examples of Service Above Self.


Diana Grote learned of the fellowship through a social connection to a member of the PhoenixRotary 100 Club.  She completed an online ‘qualifying’ process and received Peace Centersapproval to proceed with an application.  Dianahas had experience in Swaziland, Belgium, and Kenya, and has taught teachers inEthiopiathrough the Peace Corps. She was supported through the online application process by the PhoenixRotary 100 Club.  If Diana is granted a Peace Fellowship, she will be applying to the University of Queensland.


Tetiana Shymanchuk, who lives within 10K of the Russian/Ukrainian conflict line, learned of the fellowship from a work colleague in Ukraine whose parents are members of the Sun City/Sun City Satellite Club.  Since the invasion in 2014, Tetiana has worked tirelessly with the Danish Refugee Council to provide educational, economical, and human needs assistance related to resettlement of displaced persons in her own country. If she is granted a Peace Fellowship, she will be applying to Duke/UNC. Tetiana was assigned to our District for an Endorsement Interview and was supported through the online application process by the Sun City/Sun City Satellite 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. 
There were 40 participants at RLI on Saturday May 30!  We’d like to congratulate the 4 Graduates pictured below in Session III. They are shown along with AG Lee Holmes  and facilitators Art Harrington and Jay Jones. Congratulations to Harvey Clark of Superstition Mountain  Rotary Club; Susan Stevens-Clarke of Chandler Horizon Rotary Club; Nancy Collins of The Rotary Club of Surprise and Mike Jacoby of The Rotary Club of Scottsdale North. 
At Rotary, we have no tolerance for racism. Promoting respect, celebrating diversity, demanding ethical leadership, and working tirelessly to advance peace are central tenets of our work. 
We have more work to do to create more just, open and welcoming communities for all people. 
We know there are no easy fixes and that challenging conversations and work lie before all of us. Rotary’s strength has long been our ability and commitment to bringing people together. We will tap into that strength now as we stand with those who are working for peace and justice. 
Rotary will do our part to listen, learn and take action to ensure that we continue to contribute to making positive change.




Greetings Rotarians

We are both excited and saddened to share with you that the 2020 Rotary Institute Zones 26 & 27 Big West will be virtual! 

The health of Rotarians, Rotaractors, and guests are most important during these challenging times. As wonderful as it would be to meet in person, our Rotary experience would be significantly affected by state, local, and hotel restrictions, as well as our commitment to safety and social distancing.

As we transform this very special event from in-person to virtual, our goals remain the same: enjoying friendship, exploring new ideas and perspectives, celebrating our District Governors 2021-22, having fun together and being inspired throughout. Expect the unexpected! For now, hold the original dates of November 12-15, 2020. 

We hope you will join us as we embark on a new adventure and our virtual Rotary Institute. More details and information will be coming your way soon!

Thank you for your support!

Johrita Solari
Rotary International Director 
Glenn Fong
2020 Insitute Chair
Wyn Spiller
2020 Institute Co-Chair
Zones 26 & 27 Big West


Dr Fiona Braka, Immunization Team Lead for WHO Nigeria, speaks about fighting polio outbreaks and toppling gender barriers

Dr Fiona Braka holds one of the highest-stake roles in the African regional polio programme – supporting the Government of Nigeria in their fight to defeat wild poliovirus.

She is the first woman to hold her position in Nigeria, and before that was the first female polio team lead in Ethiopia.

Fighting the last wild virus in Africa

Dr Braka’s work involves leading the country team to strengthen routine immunization and maintain high quality disease surveillance systems in Nigeria. She is also heavily involved in the COVID-19 response, lending expertise established over decades of fighting polio.

In 2016, the detection of wild virus in Nigeria after nearly two years without cases was a devastating setback. “When the outbreak broke out, I was in Uganda on a break with my family. I was having lunch with a friend and my phone was ringing, persistently ringing – a Geneva number. When I picked up the phone it never crossed my mind it would be a wild virus,” Dr Braka remembers.

“A good proportion of Borno state was inaccessible due to armed conflict. Delivering vaccination services and conducting surveillance in that area had not been easy. With interventions going on to address the conflict by the Nigerian Government, some ground was gained, and people trapped for over three years were able to move out of the liberated areas to internally displaced persons camps. With population movement, a wild polio case was detected in an internally displaced child.”

How to stay connected when you can’t meet in person
Whether it’s a club meeting, awards ceremony, or new member induction, you can still connect with and recognize your members even when meeting in person isn’t possible. 
Watch our recent webinar, Connect With the (Online) Rotary World, and learn how to set up online meetings, use social media to engage with members, and maintain fun traditions virtually. We asked for questions before the session and compiled a list of the ones asked most often, along with resources. You can download the FAQ from the Learning Center. (Signing in to My Rotary is required.) Or search for the webinar title. 
If you’re planning a virtual induction ceremony, have the new member induction video from RI President Mark Daniel Maloney ready to show. Look at the Meeting Online topic in the Learning Center for more ideas on how to connect virtually. 
From an article by Jenny Stottsa charter member of the Rotary Club of Athens Sunrise, Ohio. A licensed, practicing social worker, child advocate and trauma specialist, she is the member-ship chair of District 6690, covering Columbus and Southeastern Ohio. 
Resilience is the process of adapting in the face of adversity. When we experience a traumatic or stressful event, our brains activate a number of pathways to protect us. These biological processes help keep us safe. It’s in the recovery from these events that we grow and change and become stronger. 
Many of us are living this reality right now in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is, there are ways to grow our capacity for resiliency. And we can use this time to strengthen Rotary, by working together to grow and foster resilience in our fellow members and our clubs. Here are a few tips: 
CONNECT: A critical building block for resilience is simply connecting with others. Check in with fellow members. Call them, send them a message, work to make sure they can access your virtual meetings. As a club, consider connecting with other clubs to weave yourself further into the global fabric of Rotary. 
Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign has launched in the U.S. 
Keep an eye (and ear!) out for Rotary ads on TV, radio, and in print that show our members as People of Action. The campaign aims to build awareness and understanding of Rotary, and highlight the commitment we have to making a difference in communities around the world.   The PSA’s have received significant distribution already – with more than $2.6M in donated media value since the launch in March.  Visit the People of Action Toolkits page on the Brand Center to view the materials that have been shared with media outlets nationwide.
To make sure your community is involved in the campaign, contact the PSA Directors at your local media outlets and ask them to take action by including our Rotary public service announcements in their programming.
(Note:  You will need a My Rotary account to sign into Brand Center.)
Program Chair John Angelo introduced the speaker of the day that had been secured by Susan NicholsonAmy SchwabenlenderExecutive Director of the Human Services Campus in downtown Phoenix speaking to us on the topic of homelessness. 
Prior to joining the Human Services Campus as Executive Director in 2018, Amy spent 13 years as VP of Community Impact for Valley of the Sun United Way, where she worked to end hunger and homelessness and to increase the financial stability of individuals and families in Maricopa County. A 2016 Piper Fellow and a graduate of Valley Leadership, she holds a BS in Business Administration and Communica-tions from Trinity University in San Antonio and an MBA from Marquette University in Milwaukee. Steve Davis, Director of Develop-ment was also on the Zoom call.
The Human Services Campus is a non-profit, private, government and community collaboration of 16 partner organizations located on a 13 acre campus in downtown Phoenix with the shared outcome of ending homelessness for people everyday. The campus provides wrap-around services for adults (not families) experiencing homelessness. They collaborate with partner tenants to provide complementary, holistic services. Some of the partners/ services she overviewed include:
The Brian Garcia Welcome Center that helps clients receive services more expeditiously by providing assessments. One of the goals is to divert individuals from homelessness by reuniting them with family and friends. They see between 800 1,000 people a day—single adults, not families.
The Rotary Club of Scottsdale welcomed Jack Fresquez, Yale College ’21; B.A. Ethnicity, Race & Migration, as keynote speaker during the Club’s weekly Zoom meeting.  At Yale, Jack is former Vice President International Projects of the Yale University Rotaract Club.  Jack, a native of Phoenix, helped start the Interact Rotary Chapter at Trivium Preparatory Academy in Goodyear, AZ.  At Yale, Jack is a Yale President's Public Service Fellow and a member of the Yale Prison Education Initiative. 
Jack talked about the emergency medical relief effort going on in support of Rohingya refugees in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh.  Cox's Bazar is the largest refugee camp in the world and the UN has declared Rohingya people one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.  Several years ago when extreme violence erupted in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, hundreds of thousands of civilians fled their homes to the refugee camp.  
Dr. Bob England former Director of Public Health, Maricopa County Health Department and former Director of Pima County Health Department was the recent keynote speaker at the Rotary Club of Scottsdale's weekly Zoom meeting. Dr. England has served in numerous roles at the Arizona Department of Health Services, including medical epidemiologist for HIV & STD services, chief medical officer for the Bureau of Epidemiology and Disease Control, TB control officer, and state epidemiologist. He previously spent several years as a local health director in Connecticut.
Dr. England shared many lessons learned during the early stages of the Coronavirus outbreak, including: lack of testing; unknown actual mortality
rates (likely 2-3 times higher mortality rate than typical flu); lack of available post-antibody testing study data; fast decisions made without
reliable data and expert input; unknown economy impacts and impacts to the health providers, businesses (closures) and people (unemployment);
prevention  - masks (noting often not being worn correctly), washing hands, social distancing, curfews, closures, no visitations, etc., mental health
impacts (suicide rates have doubled), and more. 
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.