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7.30.20 – Club News

Club News by Tom Mathison

On a sun-filled day in downtown Grand Rapids, The Rotary Club of Downtown Grand Rapids gathered at noon at the University Club for its in-person, socially-distanced meeting, combined with a virtual meeting to allow remote members to join the meeting. New President Jon Hankins called this meeting to order at noon by welcoming everyone and announcing the line-up of events and future speakers for the Club:

  • 6th – Club 77 at Johnson Park (RSVP by Friday, July 31)
  • 13th – Charisse Mitchell, CEO of YWCA of West Central Michigan (RSVP by Monday, Aug. 10)
  • 20th – Ashley DeBault, Account Executive, Lighthouse Insurance Group (RSVP by Monday, Aug. 17th)

For the opening song, President Jon led us in the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the invocation by Jeff Rogers.

Following lunch, Jon reiterated the Club 77 meeting at Johnson Park, as well as the “Lunch-to-Go” concept, originated by Christine Lindeman and being implemented through a local restaurant.  Jon also mentioned the “Recruit a New Member” initiative, where current members can get 2 free lunch passes.


Jon invited Matt Hogg to introduce guests and visiting Rotarians, and then invited Katherine Roye and Eunice Lopez-Martin to introduce the Club to the new Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee as co-chairs, and they listed other members of the Committee:  Doris Drain, Arlen Dean-Gaddy, Paula Jastifer, and Shaun Shira.

President Jon was our speaker today, and he began by showing a video of last year’s Club, it events, programs and accomplishments.  He then followed by discussing his top two goals for the 2020-2021 Rotary year:

  1. Membership Retention

“Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing” – what is our target?

.              Align new members skills, interests and passions to appropriate committees (we have 16 committees now!)

.              Member testimonials, by video or from the podium – “What does Rotary mean to me?”

.              Club Board personal outreach

  1. Embrace and Leverage Technology

.              New website

.              New fundraising platform via the website

.              “Give Now” button

.              Engage prospective and current members to key events

.              Host videos – tell our story in 3 minutes

.              Host two weekly Club Meeting Trainings (10 minute review), and connect members to volunteers for additional training support.

Following warm applause and a brief time of Q and A, President Jon reminded everyone of the upcoming programs, and then he rang the Rotary bell to adjourn the meeting.

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