Club Information

Downtown Rotary

"Opening Doors Through Service"

We meet Mondays at 12:00 PM
Parkview Field, Second Floor, Suite Level
1301 Ewing St
Corner of Ewing and Breckenridge
Fort Wayne, IN  46802
United States
District Site
Venue Map

Club Executives & Directors

President Elect
Membership Chair
Vice President
Immediate Past President
January 2015


Rotary releases $34.8 million for polio immunization activities worldwide
Rotary International released an additional $34.8 million in grants to support polio immunization activities in 10 countries, including Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan, the three countries where the disease has never been stopped. The funds, whose release was announced 20 January, will be used by the World Health Organization and UNICEF for polio immunization and surveillance activities in the 10 countries, as well as to provide technical assistance in several other countries in Africa. The grants include $8.1 million for Nigeria to support its final push to eradicate the disease. Nigeria...
Future leaders ready to become gifts to the world
Incoming district governors said they'll leave this year's International Assembly with a deeper understanding of Rotary's top priorities, including eradicating polio, enhancing Rotary's brand, strengthening the Rotary Foundation, and building a strong and more diverse membership. For Mohamed Adel Hafez, governor-elect of District 2451 (Egypt), the assembly's varied workshops were invaluable. The workshops offered practical information and skills to help district governors-elect perform their duties. "I can speak to my clubs with more authority and knowledge about what needs to be done in the...
Promoting membership with new ideas, even some that challenge tradition
Strengthening Rotary's membership is not just important for incoming district governors, it's critical. That's the message they received from several key speakers at their training event, the 2015 International Assembly in San Diego. For membership to grow, leaders must be willing, for example, to ease stringent club meeting protocols and make other efforts to accommodate a younger, digitally oriented demographic. Seventy percent of Rotary members are 50 years or older, while half of the world's population is under 30, according to Rotary leaders. The contrast shouldn't be something to fear,...
Despite global success for Rotary’s brand, still work to do in the community
On a global scale Rotary's brand is strong, said Rotary leaders speaking at the International Assembly on Monday in San Diego. From governments to worldwide NGOs to large corporations, Rotary is trusted to create positive change around the world. But Rotary's image needs strengthening in local communities, said RI Director-elect Jennifer E. Jones. "We are the greatest story never told," Jones said. "Quite simply, strengthening our brand is essential to Rotary's future." "For so long we did our good work quietly and not for recognition," added Jones, a member of the Rotary Club of Windsor-...
2015 Rotary International Assembly Photo Gallery
See our daily photo gallery from San Diego


For More Information: Rotary Secretary Jane Wilks 260.341.1600

Breaking News


Panel discussion centers on Literacy Issues and Answers

Spin Editor: Jason Daenens
John Pierce introduces the literacy panel: (From Left to right) Mike Landram, Dr. Wylie Sirk, Dr. Jeanne Zehr, and Diane Yngstrom-Bugge
Our program this past Monday was the first in a series of programs focused on literacy. The first of these featured a panel of four area professionals who discussed literacy issues the profession is tackling today.
Mike Landram, Executive Director of The Literacy Alliance started the panel discussion with a broad overview of statistics pertaining to adult illiteracy. Some staggering numbers were presented:
  • 30 million Americans cannot read
  • 33 million do not have a HS diploma
  • 57% without HS diploma live in poverty
We also learned that in Indiana 14% of adults over 18 have less than a HS diploma and of that only 4% are enrolled in literacy programs. Also, 63% of children under age 6 have parents who do not have a high school diploma and are economically poor. Furthermore, in Allen County 32,000 adults have less than a high school diploma and 14% of these individuals have less than 6th grade attainment. The challenge is getting more of these individuals enrolled in literacy programs. In Allen County only 3.4% are currently enrolled in literacy programs.
Wylie Sirk, Ph.D. consultant and IPFW educational leadership faculty member discussed literacy in preschool through grade 12. He says, “Reading is at the heart of life-long meaningful learning”. Dr. Sirk went on to explain how, “Reading Happens”. The first stage involves control, understanding and thoughts and messages emerge. Later writing skills are developed around ages 7 to 8. He asserted, “By third grade one reads to learn”.
Along with discussion some local area statistics such as a high school graduation rate of 90%, Dr. Sirk also explained that 40% of graduates do not further their education and or gain additional skills. The heart of the problem can be traced back to the fact that, “reading ability impacts a person’s ability to move beyond high school as a contributing member of society” according to Sirk. 
What is the primary factor influencing these outcomes? Dr. Sirk provided, “most often it is a dysfunctional home life and the related attendance issues that are huge contributors to failure”.
Dr. Sirk also discussed The Big Goal Collaborative being pursued by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership.
What is the big goal?
The Big Goal:
            To increase the percentage of adults with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60% by 2025
How does the BGC accomplish the goal?
BGC efforts are to support teachers and administrators in Northeast Indiana.
          One way is: Improve third grade reading
Collaborative work is being done by the BGC, CVC Communications, Project Reads, and the United Way of Allen County. Through this network online training aptly called, Follow the Reader provides free services for mentors, tutors, parents and childcare providers to help struggling readers. Follow the Reader is a highly interactive program support learning skills for reading throughout northeast Indiana. For more information go to:
Additional information about the BGC can be found by following this link:
Our next panelist, Jeanne Zehr, Ph. D, Director of Community Impact for United Way of Allen County shared her thoughts on, Promising Practices in Early Childhood Literacy in Allen County.
Last year the state of Indiana spent $22 million on 4500 students to repeat kindergarten. Our young people are not being prepared for kindergarten. The “Let’s Talk” program is a large scale, community-wide message designed to teach parents to talk to their baby so that it will grow an amazing mind. Modern day technology creates a barrier between parents and their children as parents spend more time on their cell phones and less time talking and interacting with their children. This community awareness initiative is funded by Parkview and PNC.
Dr. Zehr also discussed CHIP for Allen County and the BrightStar program. CHIP stands for Community Health Improvement Plan. The vision: All Children in Allen County are physically, mental, spiritually healthy and educated to their highest potential. The mission of this plan is to design integrated solutions to improve the health and well-being of our children. BrightStar is another program designed to aid young parents that come through the paternity court by providing resources to help develop their young child to enter kindergarten. BrightStar is led by Judge Dan Heath at the Allen County Juvenile Detention Center.
To wrap things up Dr. Zehr discussed the presence of a new synergy amongst organizations and initiatives in our state. Synergy in programing and goal setting is required so as to ensure that the goals can be met.
Our final panelist, Diana Yngstrom-Bugge, Executive Director, Fort Wayne Center for Learning provided an overview of her organization along with some important statistics that the organization strives to address.
Fort Wayne Center for Learning exists to serve individuals with learning disabilities. The center asserts that, “learning disabilities are not a result
of inferior instruction, economic disadvantage, or cultural differences. They affect people of all genders, races, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.”
Did you know?
  • 10% of people are dyslexic
  • 35% of entrepreneurs are dyslexic
  • 41% of the prison population is dyslexic
The Fort Wayne Center for Learning is a non-profit organization founded in 2003 to fill an unmet need. That is helping children with unique learning challenges develop, “a positive self-image through the improvement of the critical learning skills necessary to be successful learners”.
The organization believes that:
  • Every child is different. Their right to learn is the same
  • Every child wants to learn
  • Given the right set of tools, every child can learn
  • All children have the ability to learn
Diane shared that the Fort Wayne Center for Learning is different for many reasons, but mainly that it is the one-to-one intensive instruction that is brain based and scientifically proven that makes the organization different. Although the programs offered are fee based, thanks to successful fundraisers like the annual Braingame, the fees are able to be offered on a sliding scale. 
For more information on The Fort Wayne Center for Learning go to:
The Rotary Club of Fort Wayne would like to thank our panel of professionals for their unique insights into adult and childhood literacy, the current statistics, programs developed to address the shortfalls, and the local organizations that are ready to help our community raise the bar on literacy.
Rotarian Greg Solon presented Sergio with the gift of a Northside High School letter jacket for his birthday.

100 years of service
The year ahead will be full of ambitious centennial projects, club and community engagements and high profile programs, which will embody the Rotary motto of “Service above Self”:
  • Local: The club’s Local Service Committee plans to install 100 Little Free Libraries in greater Fort Wayne, with 58 Little Free Libraries already in place.  The remaining Little Free Libraries will be installed in 2015. As of 1/9/2015 58 have been installed!
  • International:  The club’s International Service Committee led and coordinated funding for and building of a middle school in the Village of Glee in Togo, West Africa. The final stage of construction, (Classrooms 7 and 8 began in December).
  • Gift to the community: The Club will erect a 22-foot Rotary Club of Fort Wayne Centennial Tower in the fall of 2015 on the downtown Allen County Public Library Plaza along Wayne Street.  The Tower will include a four-face lighted clock, electronic carillon and remote keyboard for the carillon.
  • Club and Community Engagement:
  • Music through the decades (all year): Every second Monday we will be entertained by period appropriate songs. This effort will be headed up by Dee Hoffman and the Songs Committee.
  • Where are all the Little Free Libraries? (April): Ken Kunze will head up a LFL scavenger hunt in the spring on 2015!
  • Little Free Library Video Testimonial (Late Spring): Candace Schuler and the local service committee will present a video testimonial on the Little Free Libraries project.
  • Three Rivers Parade (July): Our club will be a highlight of the annual Three Rivers Festival Parade. This effort led by Jeremy Redding and the Centennial Committee.
  • International Themed Lunches (May-August)
  • Rotary Club of Fort Wayne Centennial Tower Installation (September): The Centennial Committee is leading this effort where we will commemorate the tower as a gift to the City of Fort Wayne.
  • Centennial Gala (October 2nd): Mark your calendars now because you will not want to miss this event being held at the prestigious Grand Wayne Center!
  • Tower Concert(s) (Fall 2015): This community engagement program will combine the international and local themes of our centennial by engaging the electronic carillon of the Centennial Tower along with local singers, children’s groups and other musicians at the Library Plaza.
  • Centennial Themed Programs: Our Rotary programs’ calendar for 2015 has been divided into a trident representing the three focus areas of our Centennial projects: literacy, international service and legacy/celebration. Below are a list of programs that are scheduled and/or being planned.
  • January - April (LITERACY)
  • February 2: Fort Wayne Community Schools and adjusting to 72 languages within its system 
  • March: Club Forum
  • April 27: Little Free Library founder, Todd Bol
  • May – August (INTERNATIONAL)
  • May:
  • Fort Wayne’s Sister Cities  
  • High School Speech Contest  
  • June: Peace Corps Representative (tentative)
  • July: Whacky tails of International Travel (tentative)
  • August: Burmese: History, Status (tentative)
  • September – December (LEGACY)
  • September: Verdin Co., designers and makers of the Rotary Club of Fort Wayne Centennial Clock 
  • October: To be determined
  • November: Cleo Fox recipients’ reunion (tentative) 
  • December: Early Act Club: a mock meeting (tentative) 
Spin Correction:  
Last week's SPIN incorrectly referred to John Walley as the "the late John Walley." (Mr. Walley, along with Ersel Walley, co-wrote our club's 75-year history.)  However, Mr. John Walley is very much alive and continues to support our club through significant donations to our Centennial projects.  SPIN regrets the error ...and thanks Mr. Walley for his continuing support!   


Jan 26, 2015
Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry
State of the City Address
Feb 02, 2015
Emily Kerns
FWCS Challenge with so many Languages
Feb 09, 2015
Mike Packnett
CEO, Parkview Regional Health Network
Feb 16, 2015
Rotary's Rotoract Club
Feb 23, 2015
Pam Holocher & Sherese Fortiede
Fort Wayne's Final Riverfront Plan
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