Club Information

Fisherman's Wharf

We meet In Person
Thursdays at 4:00 PM
Fisherman's Wharf
San Francisco, CA 94133
United States of America
Webex meetings weekly on Thursday at 4:00 pm. Contact Co-President Suzanne Varacalli for login information:
Thank you, Steve for introducing us to the new Rotary International area of focus, Supporting The Environment and for challenging each of us to take on a project to join this Rotary International initiative.

Several of our members are already busy, including Nancy, who's involved with planting native Illinois prairie flowers and grasses, and Bettie, Aline and Herman with their gardens. They may have a jump on the rest of us, but even though it is autumn, let’s all start thinking about and developing individual projects for the year to celebrate Rotary’s new direction.

At our next Club Assembly on November 5th, we will share our plans.

Speaker for our Aug. 13 meeting was Keith Axtell, Past President of the Rotary Club of Marin Evening who has been a leader in organizing international humanitarian projects through Rotary. He described the COVID-19 Project in Guayaquil, Ecuador, which our club supports. The project will provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to doctors and nurses in 15-17 hospitals, including 20,000 face masks and 800 uniforms, all produced in Ecuador.

Keith also updated us on other Rotary projects in Ecuador, including a water well for the Henry Davis Orphanage in Quito, and a micro-credit lending program for new businesses and training center in the Esmeralda Province.


We welcomed Heather Edwards, Director of Development, to our July 16th Zoom meeting to update us on Project Amigo, which the club supported in past years and was recently designated for a portion of our District Designated Funds. 

Project Amigo was the official international service project of the Rotary Club of Novato, CA between 1996 and 2002. Today it is an independent public 501(c)(3) charity.

Project Amigo provides educational scholarships, material support, enrichment activities and preventive and remedial health care to disadvantaged children and youth. Since its founding in 1984, more than 1,000 students from the village of Cofradia, population 2,000, have graduated from high school with the education and skills necessary for jobs that pay better than working in the surrounding sugar cane fields.

Heather said she was introduced by a friend to Project Amigo and fell in love with the program when she participated in an English Tutoring Work Week, one of six one-week experiences offered to volunteers from developed countries. Other themed Work Weeks on the 2021 calendar are Literacy & Culture, Spanish Language & Culture, Swim Week & Back to School, Environmental Week, and Christmas Fiesta. 

For ore information, visit or email Heather:

On June 18, Steve Carlson of the Rotary Club of San Carlos updated club members on the Morocco High Atlas Irrigation Aqueduct project, which he initiated and our club has supported with DDF funds since its beginning. Steve showed slides and photos via Zoom to inform and inspire us.

When complete later this year, the 2200-meter cement structure will carry water from a mountain river, fed by snow melt, to 30 villages in the Berber community. Gates along the aqueduct will divert water to irrigate farm fields. Washing stations, for clothes and dishes, will built along the route to the delight of village women.

Carlson said the project has been funded by $131,000 from the Rotary Club of San Carlos and a $175,000 Global Grant. The final section will be completed by the Rotary Club of Redwood City.

Betsy Bliss of J.P. Morgan Securities, whose first career was as a writer for the Chicago Daily News and Cincinnati Enquirer, presented the “who, what, when, where and why” of sustainable investing for the club’s June 11 Zoom meeting.

“Socially responsible” or “sustainable” investing encourages and allows investors to “do good while doing well,” Betsy says. More and more successful companies are working to preserve our environment, fight global warming and treat their employees well. Investment in these responsible and sustainable companies has multiplied four times since 2018 and now totals $30 trillion. During the current roller coaster market, sustainable companies are performing 50% better, she said. 

Betsy, the sister of club member Nancy Slepicka, is in partnership with her son, Christian Ach, at J.P. Morgan Securities in San Francisco. She can be reached at

Dale Fehringer, author and resident of the Noe Valley neighborhood in San Francisco, was our speaker for the May 28 meeting held via Zoom. He entertained us with the life stories of two of the local characters featured in his book, San Francisco Legends, Heroes and Heartthrobs.

"Sunny Jim" Ralph, a natty dresser and womanizer, was a popular mayor of San Francisco but not-so-popular governor of California. Alice Marble, tennis star who won 18 Grand Slam championships, later became a spy for U.S. Intelligence.  

On Saturday morning, May 23rd, a fire erupted at Pier 45, destroying an estimated 7,000 crab traps, 2,000 shrimp traps and 500 black cod traps, seriously impacting local fishermen and the industry overall. It is estimated that the monetary loss to replace the needed gear could exceed $5 million.

 In the past this club has directed our District Designated Funds (DDF) worldwide to support other club projects to assist those in need. Now, we have an opportunity to use the club’s DDF to support our immediate community by providing local fishermen with the help they desperately need.

The Rotary Club of Fisherman’s Wharf Board of Directors voted unanimously to designate $28,000 of its $30,000 of the 2020-2021 DDF allotment to fund a District Grant toward replacement of some of the fishing gear destroyed in the fire.

Rotary Club of Fisherman's Wharf supported the "Mission Science Project" with a joint District 5150 Community Service Project Grant. The Mission Science Project participants constructed the depicted Solar Vehicle, and developed a program that is to be shared with youth in the Unified School District and area community centers on how to construct their very own.
Sheltering -in-place club members met via ZOOM at 4:00 pm Thursday, April 16. Following regular business and reports of district activities related to the Covid-19 pandemic, we welcomed our speaker, Tresa Eyres, a Past President of our club. Rotary Club of Fisherman’s Wharf. Her topic, ”Volunteering 2020: What’s trending now.” Tresa took us on a journey into her lifelong tireless passion of volunteerism, identifying the many efforts she has helped to facilitate the needs of others worldwide and across the generational spectrum. 

Some of the nonprofit programs she is working with currently are Reimagining End of Life, Generation Citizen, a volunteer program which provides civics education to middle school students, The Grand, and Upwardly Global, which serves to assist professionals new to this country find employment. Tresa’s volunteer activities are truly inspirational and reaffirming of the idea of service above self.

In response to the current spread of Coronavirus, Club President Herman Jones cancelled our weekly meetings for the remainder of March, as well as the annual fundraiser, Fiesta Italiana, planned for April 16. 

Rebeca Kaplan, Director Institutional Advancement Aquarium of the Bay, and Neha Prakash, Manager Tourism Services and Hazim Elbgal, Citi Bank, attended the meeting as guests at our last meeting. During Happy Dollars, Neha shared that her parents are lifelong Rotarians and she was happy to be attending her very first Rotary meeting at our club. 

Our very own Riki Intner was our speaker this week. Riki spoke of her lifelong friendship with co-author Roberta Cole and their respective journeys in providing care for their mothers, Sara and Ruth, and the lessons learned. Riki read excerpts from their book,  Caregiving from the Heart, tales of inspiration. Riki captured the essence in her quote of Rosalyn Carter, who said:

There are only four kinds of people in this world:

Those who have been care givers

Those who are currently care givers 

Those who will be care givers, and    

 Those who will need care giver.

The speaker this week was our very own the illustrious Erik Scheller, Civil Engineer, who shared his meticulous decision-making process that he employed in selecting engineering as his occupational interest early in his life. His pursuits have guided him to make a difference in  world through the Peace Corps. While in Africa, Eric designed and tested sewage systems in Africa which ultimately led him to become a trainer. Upon his return to San Francisco in 1994, At a time when jobs weren't plentiful, Erik found his experience with the Peace Corps aided his job search.
Erik plied his trade with KCA Engineers, Inc. addressing civil engineering design and survey needs within the San Francisco and San Jose Bay Area.  He is currently employed with AGS, Inc. Engineering Consultants, San Francisco. 

Speaking at our Jan. 9th meeting on the topic, “Stuff Happens” was NBC Bay Area investigative reporter, Jaxon Van Derbeken. His talk addressed several recent and significant events ranging from the construction of the Millennium Tower, the Transbay Terminal, and the Bay Bridge. He shared insights gained from his intensive investigations which spoke to decisions made for the various projects and unintended effects of those decisions. Jaxon’s talk was well received and enjoyed.

We welcomed visiting Rotarian Silvina Munilla, Rotary Club of Catedral al Sur in Buenos Aires. Silivna is an attorney and a driving force behind a project that brought 34 clubs across six countries together to help children with cancer. 

Rotary District 5150 Foundation Chair, Gary Chou attended our meeting and recognize Kay Aucielo, Past President 2018-2019, and current Program Chair, for her charitable donations to Rotary.  Kay received her 7th Paul Harris pin.

At our last meeting, we were treated to a tasty program by Christine Keating from the San Francisco chocolate factory, “Dandelion Chocolate.”  They brought samples of the actual fruit, beans, and their final product while educating us about the overall chocolate making process, from the bean to bar. Dandelion Chocolate factories are located at 16th and Alabama and on 18th Street; tours are offered. The company participates in a variety of community projects in San Francisco. It was truly an informative and tasty presentation. 

Jayne Hulbert, Past District Governor, and Current Foundation Chair attended our last meeting. She acknowledged our club’s 2018-2019 “Every Rotarian Every Year” (EREY) participation, and presented both Kay Auciello, 2018-2019 Past President, and Riki Intner, Past and Current Foundation Chair with three banners along with a certificated of recognition for our clubs 100% participation during the 2018-2019 year.

The Rotary Club of Fisherman’s Wharf partnered with the Tel Hi Neighborhood Center on November 21st to support its Annual Community Thanksgiving Dinner, serving meals to hundreds of residents of the North Beach/Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood. Our club was joined by other community partners, Captain Yip, SFPD, Sandra Fletcher, Wipeout Bar and Grill, Jana Kaufman, Ben and Jerry’s in this worthwhile effort.

Members learned about the importance of obtaining an accurate count in the upcoming U.S. Census from Katerina Hardegen of Project 2020, our guest speaker on Nov. 14.  She's pictured with President Herman Jones and, at right, Program Chair Kay Auciello.
Bill Gilmore and Patrice Perillo (Rotary Club SF West) were our Nov. 7th guest speakers, updating us on the Bangladesh Water Project which our club supports with DDF Funds. Pictured from left: visiting Rotarian from Georgia Southern University, Patrice Perillo, Bill Gilmore and club secretary, Suzanne Varacalli.

At last week's meeting, Louis Cuneo (right) of the Police and Fire: Fallen Heroes Program honored Rotary Club of Fisherman’s Wharf President Elect Roger Kaufman by presenting him with a plaque acknowledging his support for their recent golf tournament fundraiser. Roger attended the Potential Rotary Leadership Seminar (PRLS) all day Saturday, and the next day led the Rotary contingent in the Italian Heritage Parade. Is he committed? Yes he is!

Alison Healy, Executive Director, Alliance for Smiles was our guest speaker and presented an excellent overview of the very vital and life altering work being done by the organization in Guatemala. She's pictured at left with program chair Kay Auciello and secretary Suzanne Varacalli.

At last week's meeting we had the pleasure of hearing from High School students from Galileo Academy of Science and Technology, who our club sponsored for (RYLA) Rotary Youth Leadership Academy. Each shared some of their individual experiences and impressions gained through attending RYLA. Among the experiences one student shared how they became a part of a family comprised of other students they had not known previously and the family bonding exercises they participated in. The students shared they created new lasting friendships though their participation. One student spoke about the new personal insights they gained about themselves and others. One student stated "Life is more that going through the system its about interacting with others". Another student shared their RYLA experience allowed them to realize they can have a good relationship with their parents and not shut them out. Overall they enjoyed the experience (and the food) a want to apply to return next year.  Special note. Bettie many thanks for all the work you put into coordinating this program, it and the students were excellent!  
Aline Estournes, Past President and our current Community Service Chair, was awarded a Paul Harris Certificate and Pin. Aline has been a constant leader in our club and in the overall Fisherman's Wharf relative to community and community action in the Fisherman's Wharf area.  Aline has and does serve on a variety of boards and committee in this community and is always at the forefront its betterment. . Aline, Congratulations on the Paul Harris and thanks so much for your dedication and tireless work for Rotary and our club.
Program Chair Kay Auciello introduced this week's speaker, Marshall Lamm, publicist at SFJAZZ Center, who talked about SFJAZZ's history, mission, education outreach and upcoming events.   SFJAZZ has supported our club's annual fundraiser for the last few years. 

(From left) District Governor Sue Rokaw and Club President Herman Jones congratulate our new member, Steve Ike.  Welcome, Steve!
At the Sept. 12 meeting, we hosted Captain Robert Yick, and several patrol officers from Central Police Station for our 8th Annual First Responders Appreciation Breakfast. Members from Rotary Clubs representing Chinatown, San Francisco #2, Greater Mission and San Rafael were in attendance as well as representatives from local businesses, community services and area residents.

Captain Yick and his officers each spoke of how they value and enjoy their assignment in the area and their gratitude for the community’s for support.

Special guest was San Francisco Mayor London Breed, center, pictured here with President Herman Jones and Bettie Grinnell of Galileo High School. Mayor Breed recalled her experiences as a student at Galileo High School. A scholarship from our Rotary Club launched her to do work in the community, and being inspired by Rotary's theme of Service above Self ultimately paved the path for her to become mayor of San Francisco. 

Club member and District Governor Sue Rokaw presented the Mayor Breed with an Honorary Paul Harris Certificate along with a pin on behalf of our club.

We thank Community Chair Aline Estournes, and those who assisted her for the tremendous amount of work toward making this a very special event, which promotes Rotary in its best light.
Greg Tull, and John Marshall, Rotary Club of Ignacio, attended the Sept. 5th meeting, and presented the "Siloé Wellness Program", which is supported by our clubs mutually. The Siloé Wellness Center, is located in the rural community of La Mission in Northern Baja Mexico and is an exercise and recreation program which serves as part of a strategy to improve health and wellbeing. 
Greg spoke about the very good work being accomplished there and his club's three-year commitment to support the program. Suzanne Varacalli, International Chair, will be providing us additional information about the program as a follow-up.

Rich Swart, Rotary Club of Chinatown, presented the "Home Club of the District Governor Banner" to our club during the Aug. 29 meeting.

Rotary is a leadership organization, and it is notable that we now have three District Governors who are members of our club: Bob and Riki Intner and current DG Sue Rokaw, pictured here with President Herman Jones.

Club Executives & Directors
President Elect
Immediate Past President
Co President
The Rotary Foundation
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