Celebrating our
        Rotarians at work
             Paul Harris Society Members: 285

With holiday thanks and giving

This is the season for celebration and reflection for what we have been able to do in the past year and for giving thanks for what we can see to do in the future.
Our inner focus is on family and friends and those whose presence has made our lives richer, deeper and more meaningful. Our outward focus is on service to others that helps those in need and makes our communities better places to live.
As District Governor, I give thanks to all you Rotarians in our District who have made my life so much richer and deeper this year. It is such a privilege to travel to all of our clubs and see Rotarians in action, to witness your service, and to take a small part in the life of your community. I am humbled by your generosity and warmed by the love you give to others you do not even know.
May the spirit of the season bring blessings to your family, your home and to those who you serve. Thanks for all you do for Rotary and for our communities!
--DG Bob

Joe Schmit headlines Mid-Term Assembly

St. Cloud clubs collaborate to impact homeless youth

After months of studying the youth homelessness problem, Rotary clubs in the St. Cloud area are joining forces to create a daytime resource center for youth.

In partnership with an Anoka nonprofit called HOPE 4 Youth, the Rotary clubs expect to open a center called Pathways 4 Youth, or P4Y, in February. It will serve 16-23-year-olds experiencing homelessness. These youth will be able to use computers, lockers, showers and laundry facilities. P4Y will offer a mailing address, food, clothing and an evening meal. Youth can connect through social services and medical professionals there. The resource center will be open from 2-7 p.m. Monday-Friday.

P4Y sponsors are the Rotary Club of St. Cloud, Granite Rotary Club, the Great River Rotary Club and the St. Cloud Rotaract Club.

Between 125-150 youth between the ages of 16 and 23 are experiencing homelessness on any given night in the greater St. Cloud area. Rotary members researched and toured Minnesota programs serving homeless youth before deciding to partner with HOPE 4 Youth which provides the procedures, systems and oversight for the St. Cloud center. Rotary volunteers will provide ongoing support.

The Rotary Club of St. Cloud established P4Y as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and developed a business plan to ensure the project's sustainability. The center will partner with local social service agencies to avoid duplicating services. "Our main goal is to help these young people navigate a path to grow and become contributing members in our communities,” said lead volunteer Tim Wensman.

Grant targets critical “1,000-day window”

In 2016, the Rotary Club of Buffalo wrote an international grant to address maternal and child health for 18 communities in Guatemala. The grant targets the “1000-day window” -- a critical time period from the mother’s pregnancy through the child’s first 2-3 years of age because it’s critical that both the mother and child stay healthy to ensure normal development.
This grant focuses on the mother’s and child’s health/nutrition, disease prevention, and education about these priorities in order to have the best possible outcomes. Children need to grow normally both on the inside (brain development) and outside to have the best success in school and in life. This grant’s long-term goals are to help children grow into productive citizens, create sustained change that reduces poverty, and improve health in some of the poorest areas of Guatemala.
Buffalo members have gone to Guatemala to build the infrastructure that supports the grant at one of the pilot villages. We partnered with clubs from Blaine-Ham Lake, St. Michael-Albertville and Minnetonka, and clubs from Missouri and North Carolina to have boots on the ground. Additional clubs/districts contributed money to support the grant’s success.
The grant has shown significant success in the first 1.5 years. We believe this grant helps support sustainable change through a business model for women in Guatemala known as Wakami. Learn more about Wakami

Rotary and Faith -- not an either/or choice

I’m a pastor. (I figure I should get this out in the open right away.) I’m not trying to convert you, impress you, or conform you. I was asked my opinion about Rotary and faith…and I happen to have one. I’ll bet you do too.
I belong to a club that doesn’t have invocations. It works for us, though maybe not for your club. I didn’t join Rotary for the food or the prayers. I joined Rotary because of the people. I discovered we have a lot in common. I enjoy spending time with these men and women. Without question, many of my closest friends are Rotarians.
Rotary holds similar principles to my faith: service above self; love one another; peace on earth; feed the hungry, cloth the naked, provide a cup of water to the thirsty. I sure do enjoy living that out beside fellow Rotarians.
There is a common reality in public life -- a largely unchallenged view, these days -- that faith has no place outside of the sanctuary. I disagree. Faith is unseen. It is my motivation. It is my worldview. It shapes my actions and my words and where I spend money! But don’t get me wrong; Rotary is a civic, not a faith-based, organization. There are some whose life and faith are inseparable. Perhaps you’ve been serving beside someone just like that. It’s simply one more thing that makes our organization so exceptional.

What would Hazel do?  

What would you do with $100? That’s what Bloomington Rotarians are pondering thanks to an uplifting initiative launched by President Deb Newman.
What Would Hazel Do? was inspired by Deb’s mother, Hazel, and her grandfather, Daddy Pat. Hazel was born in Alabama to an unwed mother who placed her in an orphanage. She spent 18 months being passed time and again by prospective parents until a couple came in to pick up a newborn boy. Hazel was sitting on the floor when she reached out and said, “Daddy.” “That is my daughter,” Daddy Pat told the director. Hazel grew up surrounded by a loving family.
Deb chose to use her mother’s inheritance to honor her memory this year. On each Bloomington member's club anniversary, the member receives a $100 bill to pay forward.
The results have been gratifying:
  • One Rotarian consulted with football coaches at his son’s school and found a student in need. Surprisingly, the student was his son’s best friend.
  • Another handed his $100 to a young hotel manager to give him a special evening out with his wife.
  • Twenty $10 gas cards have been distributed to families struggling to get their kids to school.
  • A member leveraged her $100 into $300 using a company match, purchasing supplies for local schools.
What Would Hazel Do? has quickly become a Bloomington Rotary favorite. President Deb is witnessing the results with “wonderful gratitude.” “All of us now have a higher awareness of people in need around us. It is fun for me to see,” she said.

Save the Date: District Conference is May 21

Mark your calendars for District Conference on Monday, May 21 at the Guthrie Theater. MANY more details coming!!

Get on board for the convention in Toronto!

Book your HOTEL room soon at are approximately 1,300 rooms left in the Rotary block but rooms are going quickly. Other options to check are or a hotel rewards program you belong to.
Recognize fellow D5950 Rotarians with a convention shirt
District 5950 Polo shirts will help Rotarians identify and connect with each other at the Toronto Convention. Both women's and men's versions are available for $45. Order from Rotarian Kyle Sabot by emailing or calling (763) 234-8747. Kyle will ship your orders and bill you.

Join the Paul Harris Society and make a difference

For over 100 years, Rotary has served humanity at home and throughout the world. As Rotarians, we are dedicated to Making a Difference.
I first became a Paul Harris Fellow ($1,000 total) because I am passionate about Rotary.
But I asked myself, How can I make a bigger impact? How can I make a difference? How can I change lives locally and globally? 
The answer: I joined over 19,000 Paul Harris Society (PHS) members world-wide, who donate $1,000 each year ($58.5 million since 2013) to The Rotary Foundation (TRF). Join this strong network of committed, action-minded Rotarians and you, too, can make a difference. Paul Harris Society gifts advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace. Members share a unique and lasting opportunity to maximize our impact for District 5950 and TRF every year by:
  • Sustaining Rotary’s impact around the world
  • Bringing lasting change to communities in need
  • Helping ensure the continued good works of Rotarians.
I invite you to join this worldwide network of generous Rotarians. Share your passion for Rotary and give from your heart every year, supporting families and changing lives. Join by contacting me at 952-835-2975 or

Area 3 clubs host a roundtable discussion on the opioid epidemic

The Rotary Clubs of Edina /Morningside and Edina Noon invited Area 3 clubs to a joint meeting that featured a roundtable discussion about the opioid epidemic.
Panel participants included:  Rich Stanek, Hennepin County Sheriff; Lexi Reed Holtum, Executive Director of the Steve Rummler Hope Network; and Rob Reynolds, Director of Advocacy for Verde Technologies. 
Edina/Morningside Board Member John D. Pastor III, Director of Fairview Pharmacy Services, moderated the November 28 discussion that drew 150 attendees. Sheriff Stanek spoke from a law enforcement perspective. Lexi Reed reflected on coping with the loss of a loved one; she lost her fiancée to an opioid overdose. Rob Reynolds described how to properly dispose of unused drugs.

Harvey Mackay quotes Four-Way Test as sound advice

Minneapolis columnist Harvey Mackay offers inspirational career advice in his syndicated columns. “Try to do what is right, not what is the most convenient” was his November 20, 2017 topic in the Star Tribune. He closes the article by referencing Rotary International’s longstanding benchmark, the Four-Way Test. Read the full article here.

Upcoming Events
Mid Term Assembly
Crown College
Jan 27, 2018
7:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Russell Hampton
National Awards Services Inc.
Rotary International District 5950
PO Box 2158  
Minneapolis, MN 55337-2158
For further information, please email
Carol MacDonald, Executive Director 
Cheri Ashfeld, Newsletter Editor