November 2020 Newsletter
Rotarians – Welcome to November!

In the United States of America, our Thanksgiving holiday allows us to take special pause and find gratitude in everything around us.  I love this time of year.  Though I try to be grateful every day, there is something special about coming together and making a declaration of gratitude.

We are especially grateful this year for our essential workers.  We would love to invite you to celebrate our gratitude the week of November 16 – 22.  Whether individually, or with your club, let’s find a way to celebrate those who have helped all of us throughout this COVID-19 pandemic.  Many of these workers have put themselves at risk to make sure we have the health, safety, and goods we need.  You may consider taking a meal to the late-night nurses’ station or surprise your favorite grocery store staff.  Maybe you could drop off a surprise to your local fire and police station.  Some Rotary clubs are making and sending cards. 

I would also like to thank all of you for your work to End Polio. We had an amazing October, and clubs all over our state held wonderful Polio Plus events.  I know one of our clubs, Rotary Club of Mesa, raised over $8,000 for End Polio Now. Thank you!  Many have decided to join our brand-new Polio Plus Society!  If you decide to give $100 per year, you can be an inaugural member!  When Polio is eradicated, how wonderful to know you played a special role in the fight.


Diversity refers to inclusion of people from many groups. It is a source of innovation, as well as one of Rotary’s core values. Having members with different backgrounds and viewpoints gives your club a broader understanding of the community, its problems, and possible solutions. Strive to have a group of members who offer the club diverse skills, talents, and experiences. If your club includes different ethnicities, ages, and cultures, as well as a good gender balance, it will have greater capacity to serve your community and communities around the world. Equally important is creating a culture of inclusion, where these differences are respected, supported, and valued.


Conduct a diversity assessment and act on its results to:
• Raise your members’ awareness of the diversity in your community
• Build member support for increasing diversity
• Diversify your club to better represent the working professionals in your community


Dedicate time in a series of club meetings to conducting each step of your member diversity assessment. Choose a facilitator (the membership committee chair, a committee member, or the club president) who is comfortable talking about diversity and passionate about the need for greater diversity in your club. Or consider inviting a diversity and inclusion leader to talk to your club. This activity should involve all club members so that they all have a stake in the process. Greater inclusion will increase awareness and support for future action.
Diversifying your club is not just about including a mix of people. It’s also about working well together.  
Our District 5495 DEI Task Force will be reaching out to your club to schedule a DEI program and help you with your club's diversity assessment.
Feel free to contact us with any questions!
Barb Feder, D5495 DEI Chair
480 708-6997

Note: The Following Article Appeared in The Arizona Daily Star on October 26, 2020


In 1985, Rotary International made the audacious pledge to eradicate polio worldwide. It would be only the second disease to be eradicated. (The World Health Organization declared smallpox eradicated in 1980.) In 1985, there were 360,000 cases a year in 125 countries of paralytic polio, primarily in children. Polio is spread by fecal-oral transmission. It attacks the nervous system, and can result in paralysis of muscles, particularly in the lower limbs and diaphragm.

Rotary International has 1.2 million members in 34,000 clubs in over 200 countries and geographical areas. Rotary is assiduously non-religious and non-political. Therefore our membership is international and diverse. This allows our international humanitarian work to have wider and bigger impact, including the eradication of polio.

In 1988, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was formed when Rotary acquired partners World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Center for Disease Control. In recent years, the Gates Foundation has been a generous supporter and partner. Using the Sabin oral vaccine, volunteer Rotarians and health workers around the world began vaccinating children. To date, approximately 3.5 billion children have received the precious drops. Because of that, it's estimated 19 million children have been spared the scourge of polio.


The cultural and traditional situation in Afghanistan, and especially in Kandahar, is such that people don’t look up to women who are seeking education. Dr. Farima Azimi has faced numerous troubles since she started to go to school. Dr Farima Azimi, a District Polio Officer who has overcome gender barriers to rise in Afghanistan’s polio program and fight COVID-19.
Dr Farima Azimi, at 22 years old, is a medical graduate and a District Polio Officer in Kandahar province in Afghanistan. For any young person, such achievements would be impressive. In Afghanistan, where social and cultural norms often limit women’s ability to work, Dr Farima’s determination to overcome gender barriers is exceptional.
She says, “The cultural and traditional situation in Afghanistan, and especially in Kandahar, is such that people don’t look up to women who are seeking education. I have faced numerous troubles since I have started to go to school. You get bullied by people with insults.”
“People used to tell me that as a girl, if I am going out of home to study and work, I might dishonour my family. I used to come home and tell these stories to my family and instead, I received their support and was encouraged to stay strong.” Without family support, Dr Farima explains, her journey would be impossible.

On 19 September 2019, a polio outbreak was declared in the Philippines after a 3-year-old child and several environmental samples tested positive for polioviruses. Fifteen other children have been paralyzed by polio since the outbreak started.

To protect children from lifelong paralysis due to polio, vaccination rounds have been conducted in parts of the country. The vaccination rounds have been rallying health workers, local leaders, partners and volunteers - all working together to reach every child for life-saving polio drops. 

Among our #HeroesEndingPolio are village health workers and the local leaders and volunteers who join them in vaccinating children in communities, surveillance officers and laboratory workers who monitor polioviruses and health communicators who ensure parents and caregivers receive the right information about polio vaccines.

Know more about our everyday heroes and their stories to #EndPolio. Here are some of their experiences from the 2019 to 2020 polio outbreak response:
Read More HERE


The District PolioPlus Society Initiative is underway.  For a pledge to donate $100
per year to End Polio Now, you too can become a member of the PolioPlus Society.  Sadly, since announced in last month's newsletter, the response has been somewhat tepid.  If interested, please visit the Foundation portion of the District website (CLICK HERE) and maneuver to the PolioPlus Society section of the page. Use the pop-out button in order to print the various pages. District Foundation Chair Charlie Teagarden would like to see a couple hundred District 5495 members sign up for the PolioPlus Society!
Competition is underway for the End Polio Now Champions Award.  Check next month's newsletter to see the top clubs in PolioPlus giving through the first third of the year. (That would be 4 months for you non-math majors!)  Will your club be the one to unseat the Mesa West Rotary Club as the holder of the Paul Harris Bronze?
Has COVID Fatigue Slowed Us Down?
ROTARY GRATEFULNESS WEEK is the perfect time to remember the people whose selfless work has done so much to reduce conflict and increase our ‘inner peace’ during these stressful and uncertain times.
During the early months of our ongoing Global Pandemic, individuals throughout the world were inspired by the courage and commitment of the people on the front line.  We creatively took action to demonstrate our gratitude and support of healthcare workers, first responders, essential service workers and more, from balconies and porches and from the air.  We made masks and meals and appreciation baskets. 
Now, 7-plus months later, weariness has set in.  The virus is still with us, and the efforts of our frontline workers are still risky and exhausting.  Are we remembering them?  Could they use a little “TLC”?  
Our Big West Zone Director, Johrita Solari, has spearheaded a very special initiative for ALL of the Districts, Clubs, and Members throughout our Zone, called Rotary Gratefulness Week.  
Here in D5495 all clubs are encouraged to take part in Rotary Gratefulness Week, November 16-22, 2020. The attached flyer from Johrita provides some ideas forcelebrating essential workers.If your club or individual members are inspired to Take Action to acknowledge our frontline workers, please let us know!  Email a brief description of your activity, including club name, date, and club contact, and 1- 3 photos, to Nancy Van Pelt.
Be creative!
Contributed by Nancy Van Pelt, D5495 Peacebuilders Network
Hello everyone! I hope you are doing well.
            I am super excited to say that we had a successful virtual Fall Leadership Conference. An amazing featured speaker and presentations from our assistant governors are what truly made the conference successful. Since the conference was virtual this year, our committee decided to move from the full-day format that we were used to. Instead of dividing everybody into breakout sessions where the AGs would teach the material, we had our main presentations and then breakout sessions where the AGs would facilitate a discussion about the presentations the Interactors and advisors just saw. Our two main presentations focused on utilizing social media to grow an Interact club and safe community service projects. Our featured speaker Dr. Sarah Tuberty gave an inspiring talk about overcoming adversity, adapting to change, and finding your why. We also had presentations on the new D5495 Environmental Committee and Volunteer Hero, a website for tracking community service hours that one of our own AGs is developing. I really believe that the people who attended the conference went away inspired and ready to lead their clubs through this pandemic.
Interact AG to Chair Rotary District Committee
                  No one is too young to start making an impact and changing the world. A perfect example of this is current Assistant Governor Chloe Lyons. Chloe is a junior at Centennial High School in Peoria. Although this is her first year as an Assistant Governor on the Interact District, she is certainly making a mark on the Rotary and Interact World. Not only is she the President of her local club, Chloe is the West Valley AG Team Leader. Her role includes helping out the other Assistant Governors in that area, being a bridge of communication between the Executive Team and the West Valley AGs, and overall helping the council improve. Chloe has not stopped there in expanding her leadership skills; she is now one of the first Interactors to become a chair of a Rotary District Committee.
                  This did not come without hard work and dedication. Chloe is a member of the Environmental Sustainability Rotary Action Group. This group focuses on the newly added Supporting the Environment, the 7thArea of Focus. Within that group, Chloe is part of the International Board for Climate Solutions Coalition. She was appointed to be an American Ambassador to the Climate Solutions Coalition. Her role is to recruit 3-5 Interactor and Rotaractors from each Rotary Zone in this country to serve with her. When she realized our district did not have a committee for Supporting the Environment, she knew she had to take action.
Public Image Committee offers assistance to clubs during virtual discussions
The District 5495 Public Image Committee has announced plans to conduct virtual “office hours” to assist clubs and their members with a variety of public image and branding issues.
The Zoom conference programs will be conducted 7 p.m. The following topics will be offered:
Nov. 5: Social Media/Club Runner Makeover
Public Image Committee member Sharee Sheets will lead a discussion on how better use your social media platforms to promote Rotary and how to brand your efforts correctly.
November 17: The Rotary Logo and creating People of Action ads.
Conducted by DGE Bret McKeand, the program will explain the proper use of the Rotary logo and how to use the Rotary Brand Center to create a club logo and People of Action ads.
Nov. 19: Promoting your club and events
Public Image Committee member Mike Flores will lead a discussion on how to promote your club and its events. Topics include writing a press release, contacting local media and more.
Dec. 10: Make better use of Your Club Runner site
Public Image Committee member Angel Aguirre will offer tips and suggestions on how to spruce up Club Runner to better promote your club and its activities. There is no charge to attend any of the talks, but reservations are required. Visit the district calendar to register for a specific program. Once a reservation is made, attendees will be sent a Zoom invitation.
Additional programs and topics will be added in the future. Questions or suggestions for topics are welcome. Email Bret McKeand at
The district has recently updated its Public Image information at the district website. Downloadable documents, logos and other helpful information may be found at www.rotary5495.orgunder the “Education” tab.
Did you know that Rotary Youth Exchange is an official program of Rotary International? Did you know that Rotary Youth Exchange is regarded as one of the premier youth exchange programs in the world? Did you also know it was organized first in Denmark in 1929?Through this highly recommended program for all Rotary clubs as a practical activity, your club (and our district) can achieve a service goal through one of the 6 Areas of Focus, that of Peace and Conflict Resolution by fostering cultural understanding and goodwill one student at a time. 
Our District 5495 has an active, strong program partly because it is organized and administered by local Rotarians within local clubs, district and regionally. Rotarians, like you, are not paid to provide this service instead we are #PeopleofAction. Because Rotary Youth Exchange depends on volunteers, it is the least expensive, yet safest and highest quality youth exchange program there is. Because of this close connection with local Rotarians, students away from home (and their parents) are more comfortable knowing that Rotarians are available to help and offer guidance.
You and your club have the opportunity to make a difference in a teenager’s life! Your time and experience in their life is invaluable. Students want to learn from their elders. They want to build goodwill and better friendships and be a part of the Rotary Community. Adding to that value is the experience of the host families, the receiving high school and, in fact, the entire community. 

When we make charitable contributions we typically write a check, transfer online or use a credit card.  The expectation is that these contributions will qualify as a charitable deduction at the time a tax return is filed.  Because of recent changes to the tax code, about 40% of taxpayers are unable to itemize deductions on their federal tax return.  That percentage is higher for those over age 65.

For some, larger charitable gifts come at the cost of reducing cash flow, therefore reducing the inclination to make contributions.

There are a number of methods to make contributions to the Rotary Foundation that can alleviate these problems.  Let’s explore a couple of alternatives.

                                         The IRA Charitable Rollover

For individuals who have reached age 70 1/2 before December 31, 2019 or will reach age 72 on or after January 1, 2020, the IRA Charitable Rollover is a prime vehicle to reduce taxable income while making an impactful gift to the Foundation.  

Basic guidelines to qualify for the rollover are:

     1) The contribution is to be made only from an IRA.  If you have a pension, profit

         sharing, 401(k) or 403(b) plan, consider rolling those assets to an IRA to qualify

         for the benefit.

   2) The gift can be made to satisfy your required distribution for a year up to a 

        $100,000 per person maximum.  For a married couple with separate IRAs, 

        a $200,000 maximum applies.  There is no minimum.

   3) The amount of the gift will not be reported as part of adjusted gross income on     

        yourtax return. This provides a meaningful tax benefit to those who are unable to 

         itemize deductions.

   4) The gift must be facilitated through the agent administering the IRA.  A distribution

        directly to the taxpayer will result in its inclusion in adjusted gross income which

        may negate the potential tax benefits.

   5) The gift must be made by December 31 for those who qualify andcan be made

         on an annual basis                                                                                                                         

The Charitable IRA Rollover can be used to fund annual Paul Harris Society contributions.

It must be noted that pursuant to the CARES Act, signed into law on March 27, in response to the pandemic, required distributions from IRAs are waived for 2020.



Feel the Energy in Taipei

Our potential to create lasting change is limitless. And there’s no better place to explore your full potential than the 2021 Rotary International Convention, 12-16 June in Taipei, Taiwan:

    •    Discover the many aspects of Taipei, from its tranquil temples and abundance of colorful hydrangeas to its jubilant festivals and lively night markets.

    •    Find new opportunities for service by learning practical skills and exploring innovative ways to make a lasting impact in your community.

    •    Experience the invigorating city like a local when you attend exciting host-ticketed events.

    •    Take part in motivating breakout sessions to learn new skills and get ideas for projects, fundraising, and more. Help us build a breakout program that celebrates Rotary’s diversity! Submit your breakout proposal by Wednesday, 30 September.

    •    Explore the Rotary Fellowships at the House of Friendship to build relationships, collaborate, and ignite inspiration.

Want more reasons to attend? Watch our video about Taipei or download the promotional kit and use the materials to invite friends to join you in attending.

The Arizona Community Foundation of Sedona recently announced its annual philanthropic awards. The Rotary Club of Sedona Village and its president, Jennette Bill were among the awardees.

Along with several individuals and organizations, the Rotary Club of Sedona Village was recognized as a contributor to the COVID-10 Community Response Fund as “Philanthropists of the Year”. In total, those recognized raised $511,000 which was provided to community non-profits struggling with the impact of the virus.

Jennette Bill, long a community leader and current president of the Rotary Club of Sedona Village received the singular recognition as “Volunteer of the Year”. The award recognizes a lifetime of service to Sedona. Her Rotary service is captured by this part of her recognition citation: "When her children went on to college, Jennette turned her sights to Rotary, where she embodied what it means to be a true Rotarian - service above self. She describes Rotary members as “good people whose hearts are of a similar makeup, service-oriented.” Jennette was President of the Rotary Club of Sedona and is currently the president of the Rotary Club of Sedona Village. As a Rotarian, Jennette has continued to improve the lives of Sedona and Verde Valley young people. She has led exchange student programs, youth awards, and leadership opportunities. She helped bring the Dolly Parton Imagination Library to area children and is currently working with the Village Rotary to establish a youth-focused community garden."

The club’s mission: Where neighbors, friends and problem solvers share ideas, join leaders, and take action to create beneficial change within our local and worldwide communities. Members gather via zoom twice monthly for club

Sunup Rotary All Veterans Memorial Cleanup Day 2020
Starting in 2006, The Prescott Sunup Rotary Club holds an annual Veterans Memorial cleanup and refurbishing day on a Saturday, consisting of sanding and re-painting the metal fence around the memorial, weeding and replanting the garden surrounding the memorial and spreading new bark to protect the plants. Thanks to Ken Lain, owner of Watters Garden Center, for donating the plants, bark and his expertise. This year, twenty five Rotarians participated in the project,spending around two hours working and thirty minutes consuming donuts and coffee. The project ended with Bruce Moeller honoring all fallen Veterans by playing Taps on thetrumpet.

Engaging alumni to strengthen Rotary

Each year, thousands of people become part of the family of Rotary by participating in Rotary programs, including Rotary Peace Fellowships, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), and New Generations Service Exchange. After a positive experience in these programs, Rotary alumni often wish to join a Rotary or Rotaract club. In a recent Membership Feedback Survey, Rotary found that:

    •    52% of membership candidates in our online membership leads system are current or former Rotary program participants or scholarship recipients 

    •    41% of Rotary program participants would like more information about Rotary membership 

If you want to help alumni continue their Rotary journey, here are three ways to engage them: 

    •    Feature their success stories in your club and district communications to show that you value their dedication to service. 

    •    Invite them to participate in your club and district service projects and social events.  

    •    Work with your district alumni chair to find your local alums and get in touch with them. 

Learn how District 7780 (Maine and New Hampshire, USA) engaged with program participants to start the Rotary Club of New Voices District 7780, a dynamic club of younger professionals who are alumni of the district’s RYLA program. 

Ultimately, when we make alumni feel appreciated and show them how their contributions enhance Rotary, we strengthen our organization and increase Rotary’s capacity to do good in the world. 


NEW! Videos Added to Rotary's Public Service Announcement Campaign

Rotary's newest PSA video, Rotary Responds, shows how Rotary members take action in times of crisis. Visit to download and share Rotary’s latest PSA video.
Get more information on how you can get involved in this exciting campaign at the U.S. Public Service Announcement Campaign Learning Topic on the Learning Center

What's New on the Brand Center?

Template for Virtual Meeting Backgrounds

Create your own club-branded virtual meeting background with our new Template for Virtual Meeting Backgrounds. It’s easy to use and takes a few minutes to create. It can be found under Club Resources in the Materials section.

Watch the video "Anytown," to find new ways to adapt and grow Rotary membership.
"Voices of Members," shows members from around the world and their COVID-19 projects.
Find Rotary Face Mask & Hand Sanitizer Guidelines and new End Polio Now Logo Visual Guidelines in the Guidelines section of the Brand Center
The Rotary Club of Scottsdale hosted an Arts Program, in which creative, imaginative and resilient arts leaders shared historical and future
perspectives of respective arts programs within City of Scottsdale and Valley.  The program was organized and facilitated by Rotarian Jim Bruner,
who for years has provided leadership in arts and philanthropic endeavors
The hybrid Rotary luncheon meeting held at The McCormick Scottsdale met itsCOVID capacity (50 Rotarians and guests)  and social distancing guidelines. There were an additional 25 Rotarians attending via the Club’s Zoom technology (facilitated by Rotarian Wendy Wentz).  Online Zoom attendees included Rotarian participants located in Scottsdale and around Arizona, as well as, international guests from Poland and the United Kingdom.   
Following are highlights of each panel member’s statements:
*          Trudy Hays, Executive Director Scottsdale Artists’ School:  Per Ms. Hays, the School is dedicated to the artistic enrichment of the community
and to developing the capabilities of artists and aspiring artists by teaching the applied fundamentals of fine art.  The School, located in downtown Scottsdale Arts District in an Old Town historic building, was founded in 1983 by a group of dedicated artists and community leaders.  The school offers over 250 workshops with 80% of the artisan instructors being from out of state. The School offers online courses, virtual lectures, arts shows, art competitions, demonstrations, exhibits and more for people of all ages.  Its Youth Academy, classes, school outreach, youth camps and
partnership with Scottsdale Sister Cities connect with thousands of young people living in Scottsdale and throughout the world.  Currently, the School
is offering “take and make” art boxes.  See: <>  
On Thursday we heard from a young speaker, Siddhant Urunkar, a high school student at BASIS Peoria who is an Intern for The Borgen Project. The Borgen Project is a nonprofit advocacy organization with a mission to lobby for legislation and funds to fight international poverty. It was founded in 2003 by Clint Borgen
and is bipartisan. Our speaker has met with staff at both his Congresswoman's and Senator's offices to advocate for global poverty combating legislation and funding. He is tasked with raising $500 for The Borgen Project as part of his Internship.
His presentation touched on dispelling myths like, "The US already does too much for other countries". He informed us that less the 1% of the federal budget goes toward foreign aid and that the US falls behind other wealthy countries contributing just .2% of our GNP vs. and average of 07% of GNP. The Borgen Project believes that investing in higher living standards and lifting communities out of poverty alleviates overpopulation and resource scarcity. We also learned about studies addressing strife that can precipitate threats to the United States. When the world's poorest people only have local terror organizations to turn to for food, shelter and security those organizations become stronger. Higher living
standards for the world's poorest people helps on every level from national security to the mitigation of the spread of infectious disease.
Mission Statement: The Borgen Project believes that leaders of the most powerful nation on earth should be doing more to address global poverty. We're the innovative, national campaign that is working to make poverty a focus of U.S. foreign policy.
For more information on The Borgen Project visit their website at https://borgenproject/org