(The following narrative is a continuation of a series of how a member was introduced to Rotary and subsequent memories. If you would like Rotary to be part of your life's story, please contact Alison Proctor at alisonproctor@gmail.com.) 


Alvin Joe

Rotary Member since April 1, 1992

September 2021

Until Theo deLusignan, invited me to lunch at one of the Foster City Rotary Club lunch meetings 29 plus years ago, I had absolutely no idea of what Rotary was and did. At first, I was reluctant to accept his invitation. I always believed that there were no FREE lunches. 

I joined the Foster City Rotary Club in April 1992 because I took over Theo’s old office lease. At that time, I was relocating my design studio, Alvin Joe Graphic Design from San Francisco. 

After my initial Rotary lunch meeting, I began to enjoy the weekly meetings’ speakers. Learning about the services Rotarians performed in our community and throughout the world; the many humanitarian service projects that saved so many lives truly got my attention. This was when I really grasped the meaning of Rotary’s “Service Above Self”.

Coming from China, where I was born without electricity and running water, I experienced the famine era of wars and hunger. Rotary connected me to my own thoughts of past experiences. This inspired my willingness to contribute art to Rotary, hoping that it would help the disadvantaged people in many poor countries. I was impressed and convinced that Rotary is indeed a unique service club. 

During my years with the Foster City Rotary Club, I have participated in many of our club’s hands-on fundraising projects such as the Spaghetti Feeds, the annual Arts & Wine Festivals, Oktoberfest, Music in the Park, Rib fest, and participated in various community projects such as Halloween Safe Streets, One Warm Coat, highway cleanups, graffiti removal in Foster City, District Conference, Samaritan House Kitchen. During one of the Foster City Arts & Wine Festivals, I initiated and helped organize local painters and sculptors for the first art exhibition inside the Foster City Recreation Center. 

I created yearly designs for our club’s “Rotary Club of Foster City, California” brochures. These were done before the availability of computers. I designed numerous periodic club fliers for awards, Interact Club designs, District 5150 RYLA designs, Foster City Village Logo, Foster City Cooking Crew Painting, Wine and Jazz benefit painting, and Rotary Club banner design, just to name a few. I have also donated a large number of my watercolor paintings to our club for various fundraising events and auctions over the years.

I donated paintings for club auctions with all the proceeds going to the Rotary Foundation for scholarships, etc. I truly enjoyed working with Rick Wykoff, Mike Hoffman, Art Kauffman, Cyndy Simms, Greg Kuhl, Jon Grant, Mary Bates and other club members on the above design projects. All my original designs were created without computer assists. My most memorable times as a member of the Foster City Rotary Club were many, especially the years our club partnered with the Foster City Chamber of Commerce on the annual Arts & Wine Festival fundraiser. Our club members worked tirelessly every year in their events, helping with food, beer, and soft drink booths. The camaraderie of the Foster City Rotarian's’ efforts was remarkable. It was also a fun time working together toward a worthy cause. 

Today, I am very proud of my small contributions to the Foster City Rotary Club. Rotary has enriched my life to many degrees. Thank you for the opportunity to serve!