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Meeting Notes -- April 20, 2021
Meeting Notes
April 20, 2021
 
Today was our first joint meeting with the Rotary Club of Munich East in Germany via Zoom.  Members of both clubs were very excited to meet each other and share information.
 
Munich East President Amir Borenstein opened the meeting and welcomed everyone attending.  The time in Munich was 7:30 pm and in Mountain View it was 10:30 am.  President Borenstein stated that the meeting was an opportunity to exchange cultures and see the difference between Rotarians’ lives during the pandemic.
 
President Borenstein gave us some information about the Rotary Club of Munich East.  The club is about twenty years old and they meet in the evenings.  They currently have 57 members and they are a family oriented club with most of their activities including families.  Their social projects have a strong focus on education including reading, providing books to low income students, and helping out in schools.  Their international project is providing materials for schools in South Africa.
 
Rotary Club of Mountain View President Paul then gave an overview of our club.  It was chartered in 1924 and we have 32 active members.  Our local projects include a community grants program, college scholarships, Cops and Gobblers Thanksgiving food drive, CSA food bank, and trail clean up.  Internationally, we help sponsor a health clinic in Tanzania and a fresh water project in Peru.  We raise most of our funds by sponsoring an annual crab feed.
 
Gunther provided a perspective between the culture he experienced in Silicon Valley and at home in Germany.  He said Mountain View Rotary was the key to learning about Silicon Valley receiving a great deal of insight from members who had grown up in the Valley and done business there for many years.,  He has recently written a book about his experience in Silicon Valley.
 
Tom in his role at the Executive Director of Community Services Agency provided insight into how the pandemic has affected this community.  CSA has a staff of forty people with more than 700 volunteers.  The agency assists the underserved with food and shelter and other basic necessities.  Although income inequality existed before, it was greatly exacerbated by the pandemic. 
 
As the Superintendent of the Mountain View Los Altos High School District, Nellie spoke about the effect of the pandemic on schools.  There is a wide gap between student resources in the district with 20% of the students at or below the poverty level.  The district began distance learning on March 13, 2020, and April 19, 2021, was the first day that students returned to classes at school.  About half the students returned to school and half elected to continue distance learning.  For the students at school, they are located three feet apart and must wear face coverings.  No visitors are allowed at the schools, filtration and cleaning have been increased, and students are tested for COVID frequently.  Almost all of the teachers have been vaccinated, but very few of the students have received vaccinations.  Teachers are providing instruction in both the classroom and remotely.  Counseling continues to be available for both the students and the staff.
 
Jack spoke about the effects of the pandemic on the economy and investments.  Historically, the economy has done well during previous pandemics.  It increased by 12% last year and it is currently booming with innovation opportunities.  Two areas of innovation to consider are self-driving cars and space travel.  Both are on the cusp of becoming mainstream in modern society.  If you aren’t investing in innovation, you probably won’t be maximizing your portfolio.
 
Thomas invited everyone to visit Munich and the Rotary Club of Munich East which is considered to be the “Tech Club in Germany.”  Munich is the Silicon Valley of Germany with Google and Apple both having a presence.  When he came to the United States, Thomas joined the Mountain View Rotary Club to be able to get a better sense of Silicon Valley and Rotary in California.  He experienced service at CSA and the tech and educational institutions in the Valley.  He also noted how the Rotary rituals and meetings were different in Mountain View than in his home club of Munich East.
 
A big thank you to Thomas and Heather for putting the meeting together.
 
Ernie Hawks’ new address is at Merrill Gardens at Willow Glen, San Jose which is very close to 280/Meridian exit and about 1 mile from Heather’s home.
1420 Curci Dr., Apt 229
San Jose, CA 95125
 
Still the same phone and email to reach Ernie:
760-218-1139
 
Next Meeting
 
Tuesday, May 4, 2021, via Zoom.  Social time will start at 12:00 pm with the meeting beginning at 12:15 pm.  Our speaker is Stave Geisheker talking about Monrovia and LEAD Africa School.