In this edition....
  • News and Updates
    • Protecting the Environment:  How Rotary Will Help Protect Our Planet
    • Young Ugandan Activist Speaks Out About Climate Change in Africa
    • Update on Africa Strong
    • Update from Member Mark Ritchie
  • Community Service
  • A Member Moment with Carol Skulstad
  • Club Information - Rotary Jeopardy on Feb. 2!
  • A Thought
  • Don't Miss the Addendum:  Brag-a-Bucks in Pictures

Protecting the Environment




 The Rotary Foundation will enable   our members and their community   allies to take action in these ways:

  • Protecting and restoring land, coastal, marine, and freshwater resources
  • Enhancing the capacity of communities to support natural resource management and conservation
  • Supporting sustainable agriculture, fishing, and aquaculture practices
  • Addressing the cause of climate change by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases
  • Strengthening ecosystems and communities affected by climate change
  • Supporting education initiatives that promote behavior that protects the environment
  • Advocating for sustainable consumption to build an economy that uses resources more efficiently
  • Addressing environmental justice issues and public health concerns

 Will climate change bring more poverty?   Will we be able to stop its worst effects?   Former Rotary scholars and peace   fellows who studied environmental issues   offer their thoughts.





18.4 million in Foundation global grant funding has been allocated to environment-related causes in the past five years through our support of community economic development and water, sanitation, and hygiene projects.


Rotary members are tackling environmental issues the way they always do, coming up with projects, using their connections to change policy and planning for the future.


Rotarians understand that the whole world is their backyard. See what members are doing now to protect the environment.




Tackling a contentious issue in rancorous times, the Citizens’ Climate Lobby brings an evenhanded approach to advocacy.


This story originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of Rotary magazine.


Young Ugandan Activist Speaks Out About

Climate Change in Africa


 Vanessa Nakate, a 24-year-old climate activist from Uganda, made international   headlines after the World Economic Forum’s 2020 meeting in   Davos, Switzerland. But the story wasn’t what she said about   the climate crisis. The story was that her name and photo   were missing from media coverage of the event.

 Nakate was one of five young climate activists, including Time   magazine’s 2019 person of the year, Greta Thunberg, who had   participated in a press conference at the event. But the photo   that the Associated Press released to global news outlets included   only the four activists from Europe; Nakate, the only   Black climate activist in the group, had been cropped out.  A   video that she made in response went viral, and   Nakate has since made it a personal
 crusade to amplify voices that are not being heard in the climate movement.

 “Being cropped out of that photo changed me.  I became bolder and more direct   in how I talk about the climate crisis and racism and how I articulate the many     ways families are being impacted right now,” she writes in her book, A   Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis, which is   being released on 2 November. “I decided, from my perspective as a young African   woman, that I would dedicate as much of my time as possible to addressing the   many interlocking facets of the climate crisis, environmental justice, and   gender discrimination — and to do so without apology or fear of erasure.”

 Nakate asserts that voices sharing real experiences are there, but aren’t being listened   to or amplified.


 The extended Q&A version of this story originally appeared in the November 2021 issue of Rotary magazine.


Interested in supporting these and other Rotary projects?  

Click here to donate to The Rotary Foundation.    

 MURC has a goal of each member contributing each year.

            If you choose to give, please open an account and
     choose the Annual Fund so that your donation is counted
toward MURC's contribution goal.




Update on Africa Strong

 by Erin Bagniewski, MURC President and Executive Director, Africa Strong

  Serve to change lives: Rotary has done just that once again. The Minneapolis   University Rotary Club's donation to Africa Strong helped with the final piece to open   the Library at Rwemiyenje Primary     School this past Friday.  This project   started in September 2020 with a   partnership between Africa Strong and   Books For Africa when a pallet of   books was purchased as part of a larger   container to be shipped to Uganda.   While it took a while to raise funds to   send the container, it finally set sail and   arrived in Uganda in October 2021.   MURC's contributions supported   the building of the bookshelves to store and preserve these beautiful storybooks.

 This project, along with other improvements at the school, has drawn   students from all over.  Before COVID lockdown, the primary school enrollment   was 550 students.  With schools opening in January 2022, enrollment has grown to   650 students.  This is especially impressive as, sadly, school enrollment in the   country overall is down. 










 The event was important enough to be attended by a Member of Parliament and   the District the District Education Officer and received Newspaper and   TV coverage (some is in English). On behalf of the students, teachers,   administration, parents, and community of Rwemiyenyi, the Butakara   Foundation, and Africa Strong, I would like to give my heartfelt thank you   to MURC and those who made personal contributions to our work. We are making a   difference one student at a time and could not do it without support of MURC and our   generous donors! If you want to support Africa Strong, you can visit their   website and make a donation.


Update from Member Mark Ritchie

Mark Ritchie and the Global Scholars at Edina High School, Dec. 16, 2021
 Member Mark Ritchie, President of Global Minnesota, was the guest speaker at the   Global Scholars program at Edina High School.  This program is supported by Edina   Rotary, and Rotarian Lindsey Smaka runs the program. 
Join Us - Everyone is Welcome - Members, Friends, Family!  
  • What:    Sorting and stocking food in the                food pantry
  • Where:  Simpson Food Pantry at 2740                        1st Ave S, Minneapolis
  • When:   Friday, Feb. 11th, 9 a.m. to noon 

Five Questions and Answers by Carol Skulstad

  1. Where did you grow up and what inspired you to volunteer in your life?

 I grew up on a farm in western Minnesota, located in the area between Clarkfield, Granite Falls, and Montevideo.  My father was born on this farm and never moved his entire life.  In a small community, you get involved with helping others.  If someone was sick and could not complete the planting or harvest, many people in the community volunteered to help out.  Our family was also active in our church, 4-H, and school activities, which also involved helping others.  The picture on the left is of my late brother, Jim, and me, on the farm.

  1. Before you retired, what was your profession?

I was inspired to become an elementary school teacher by my favorite 3rd grade teacher, even though she told my parents that I talked too much when I was asked to work school assignments. After high school, I went to Augustana College and graduated with a degree in   Education and Music.  Due to the job market, I   was not able to get a job in teaching   and ended up working in telecommunications   for almost 30 years.  I retired in my 50s and went back to school to be relicensed as   a substitute teacher and loved it.  Up until the pandemic, I substituted for 15 years   and enjoyed working with the students.  

  1. What hobbies do you like to do?

 I enjoy traveling, cooking, hiking, and entertaining.  The pandemic has limited some of   these activities.  I am often asked to provide   special treats to friends and family after   they have had a chance to eat what I have   made.  I also am inspired by a dear friend   and niece to try new recipes when I am   entertaining.

 In the last few years, I have been able to hike   with family and friends in different areas of   the country.  It included trips to National   Parks, the North Shore, and New England.     It still is fun, even after having some   challenges hiking in the mountains.  The   picture on the right is of my sister, Susan,   and me.


  1. When you have traveled and volunteered, what experiences did you especially enjoy?

 I have had the opportunity to travel overseas and throughout the United States.   Norway was especially worthwhile, because I was able to spend time with relatives   from my dad’s side of the family and also see the farm where my grandfather was   born.

 I also had the opportunity to volunteer in Jersey City, New Jersey as a summer school   teacher and volunteer as a Vista Volunteer in Nashville.  Both of these experiences   changed my life.  I was able to experience living in a diverse community and also   volunteer.  I believe these experiences made a difference and inspired me to continue   volunteering.

  1. *You had mentioned that you have been inspired to donate your time and resources to volunteer over the years.  Name some of those volunteer activities/organizations in which you volunteered.

  • Volunteer teacher in Jersey City

  • VISTA volunteer in Nashville, TN

  • Minneapolis Jaycees

  • Volunteer tutor for children

  • Usher and Altar Guild Volunteer

  • Minneapolis University Rotary

  • Volunteer sous-chef for a few events

 *To support our efforts for sponsoring an Afghan family, I am asking you to respond   to the following question:  Which volunteer activity/activities did Jean Westberg NOT   ASK me or motivate me to volunteer?  Respond by texting to my phone #, 612 388-   7440 or email me, ( with your response.  For every response that I   get, I will donate $5.00 to raise money for the Afghan project.

On Wednesday, February 2, 2022, noon - 1:15 p.m., we'll have a "Rotary Jeopardy Fundraiser" for Afghan Family Support!! 


Join the Zoom meeting to play Rotary Jeopardy and learn more about Rotary, or show everyone what you already know,
and get to know each other better. 


 We are a small and mighty group of local professionals and we are part of a global network of 1.2 million Rotarians.
We meet some Wednesdays, noon-1:15 p.m.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, club meetings are held via Zoom.  To get the Zoom link, email us at
Upcoming Meetings and Events
MURC Meeting
Feb 02, 2022
12:00 PM – 1:15 PM
MURC Meeting
Feb 09, 2022
12:00 PM – 1:15 PM
Community Service Volunteer at Simpson Food Pantry
Feb 11, 2022
9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
MURC Meeting
Feb 23, 2022
12:00 PM – 1:15 PM
MURC Meeting
Mar 02, 2022
12:00 PM – 1:15 PM
View entire list
        The world is indeed full of peril,
and in it, there are many dark places;
but still there is much that is fair,
and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief,
it grows perhaps the greater.
                                                                         by JRR Tolkien (1892-1973)
                                                                  from the Lord of the Rings                                                                        
Members in December
-- Brag-a-Bucks in Pictures --
John Bantle titles this picture "Better than winning the lottery." 
Jean Westberg and granddaughter, Eleanor, bellringing for the Salvation Army
       Lori Simpson and husband, Mark Dupont,             Lori and new granddaughter, Eleanor
        Lori and Mark, who might be an actual elf.  Or leprechaun.
Above - Erin Bagniewski and her two-year-old nephew.  He likes his auntie so much he wanted to come home with her, and then he wanted Erin to go home with him.  Anyone can see why!                 
Right -Erin and her nephew, Emory, on New Year's Eve                                                                                                                                                              
   Erin says "For almost 10 years now, the “ladies” on my dad’s side get
together on [Dec.] 23rd for my aunt’s birthday. We braved going out and had a
nice table in the corner of a restaurant with no one around us. 
We’ve come to enjoy this tradition and really missed it last year." 
Newsletter Editor
Lori Simpson
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