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June 24th, 2021 - We will be returning to in-person meetings
 
   12:00 noon, West Chester Golf and Country Club
   Lunch Buffet will be served, $15.00 per person
 
This will be President Michelle's first, last and only in-person meeting for the entire year of her presidency so come out, show your support and thank her for a job well done as she navigated us through these very unusual times.  At that meeting, we will also be inducting our new 2021-22 President, Steve Brown.
 
Mask Update  -  Indoors: Masks are not required for non-serving staff, WCGCC members and guests who are vaccinated. Masks must still be worn by unvaccinated staff, members and guests when not seated.
     
A small, but fun-loving group of Rotarians gathered in The Pub at Arbor Square (senior living community) for one of the monthly club socials, planned by Phyllis Dunn and her committee. Among those attending were President Michelle Venema, Doug Meis, Phyllis's husband, Dan, Randy Lyndell, Phyllis and Catherine Friedman. The Pub, located on the second floor, was adjacent to a lovely outside deck that enabled guests to watch the planes landing and taking off from the nearby airport. In addition to the adult beverages, tasty appetizers were served, including the most delicious crab cakes Randy said he has ever tasted!

The West Chester Community Philanthropic Grants  2021 – Application for Funding

Deadline is May 28th, 2021

The Rotary Club of West Chester is now accepting applications for our grant that provides financial support for worthy, non-profit organizations in the Greater West Chester Community. The Community Philanthropic Committee (CPC) evaluates applications for their ability to meet human needs in our community, the quality of the program to deliver the services, and the match to the overall strategy of the club to have a broad, but meaningful impact in the community.

What is the size of the grant?

The basic CPC grant is in the range of $500 to $5,000.  There are numerous grants each year.   There is also one organization which receives the proceeds of the club’s annual Fruit Sale fundraiser. Applicants who require funding of this order of magnitude and would like to be considered for this fruit sale grant should so indicate in the Activity Description section of the application.  Applicants who receive this award are required to actively participate in the club’s Fruit Sale fundraiser.  Applicants who apply for, but don’t receive, the Fruit Sale grant will still be considered for one of the basic grants. 

Click here for the Complete Application and Instructions

 
Dwight Leeper, West Chester resident, and member of the Rotary Club of West Chester, and Sam Lowry, of the Downtown Rotary Club of Huntsville, Alabama, wrote a proposal to The Rotary International Foundation requesting a Global Grant to provide Deep-Water Hand Pumps to improve the health and quality of life in five, small, rural communities in Senegal, West Africa. In January 2021, the West Chester club was awarded a $131,215 Global Grant for the project.
 
The ultra-deep pumps (LifePump) are capable of operating more efficiently than hand pumps currently in use in Africa, going three times deeper, with a projected life span of 30 years.  Pumps currently in operation don’t reach potable water, resulting in villagers’ drinking water from dirty runoff, mud puddles, and ponds that livestock wade through. Consequently, people face chronic illnesses that prevent children from attending school, adults from working, and perpetuate the cycle of poverty.
 
To assure sustainability and measurable outcomes, the men engaged the Rotary Club of Dakar-Soliel, Senegal, as partners in the project.  Along with training on maintenance, the grant provides for education in proper water usage, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). The pumps being purchased for Senegal are produced by Design Outreach, a non-profit company that manufactures hand pumps that go deeper, and are easy enough to be operated by a child.
 
The Rotarians also engaged Partners for Global Health (PGW), an organization that collects used and overages of medical supplies for needy countries. PGW will provide transportation for Leeper and Lowry when they go to Senegal, hopefully in May, COVID permitting. 
“Working with the government of Senegal, the Office of Rural Bore Holes, and the Office of Rural Drilling, we will demonstrate to the Senegalese we have a better mousetrap,” said Leeper. “The Senegalese government has funds that could be invested in additional pumps in local communities. With 80 million refugees, whose numbers may double in the coming years and reduce arable land, there are opportunities to reach out to Zimbabwe and Uganda, which are in need of clean water also,” he added.
 
The grant requires $80,000 in matching funds, so the West Chester club and members have donated $5,250 to the three year project; Rotary District 7450, has contributed $5,000. Contributions have also been made by Bank of America and Merrill Lynch. Companies, organizations and individuals interested in donating to the project can contact Leeper at 908-400-9431 or dwight.leeper@gmail.com. Donations made before June 1st, 2021 will be matched 50% by Rotary International (RI). With RI’s matching, a donation of $5,000 will cover the full cost of pump hardware for an entire village.
 
“Being awarded the Global Grant is like grabbing the brass ring of Rotary,” said Leeper.
Among the many Rotary volunteers who rang bells on Saturday for the Salvation Army were Michelle Venema and Joanne Tadeo. Rotarian teams were at the Amish Market from 10am until dark. This is a popular location because it enabled bell ringers to go inside the market before or after their shift and shop the many goodies in the market. After they finished their shift and turned the bells over to Michelle and Joanne, Mac Neilon and Katie Martin headed into the market. By the way, in case you didn't recognize our president, Michelle gave us a quick peek.
Welcome, Michelle!
Members of the Rotary Club of West Chester are happy – and fortunate - to welcome Michelle Venema as our new club president for 2020-2021. Someone said Rotary started out headed by a man, so its high time we have a woman at the helm as Rotary celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2021. In addition, 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the Suffragette Movement, when women achieved the right to vote!
 
Given this dual commemoration of both important anniversaries, Michelle brings a wealth of experience, knowledge, and dedication to our club. A graduate of East High School, Michelle worked as a summer intern bank teller at First National Bank of Chester County during her junior and senior years at Sweet Briar College in VA nearly 30 years ago. She majored in biochemistry in college, intending to become a doctor, but caught the banking bug and never left the financial world until joining Home of the Sparrow as its CEO in 2016.
 
At First National, she quickly rose from teller to Executive Vice President for Business Banking, with a banking degree from Stonier Graduate School of Banking, working in commercial lending, marketing and development, and as installment loan officer along the way. She also worked for a short time at Fulton Bank and Brumbaugh Wealth Management, leaving first National after over 23 years.
 
In addition to her successful professional career, Michelle has generously donated her time to many community organizations. In addition to Rotary, which she joined in 1994, she has volunteered with United Way, Chester County Bar Assn., PA Bankers Assn.., Chester County Community Foundation, Planned Parenthood, Chambers of Commerce and Business and Industry, the West Chester Borough Bicentennial Celebration, and numerous others. She was recognized with the March of Dimes Ellen Ann Roberts Excellence in Business Award in 2008, and the Women’s Yellow Pages Women of Accomplishment award in 2012.
 
The first born generation in her family, Michelle has spent many happy hours traveling throughout Europe with her German born parents. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys talking about wine and food, puttering in her garden, or reading her favorite British murder mystery. She now shares her knowledge, financial acumen and leadership experience with Home of the Sparrow, where she helps to end homelessness for women and children in Chester County.
 
Congratulations!  It is with great pleasure that we inform you that the Rotary Club of West Chester has qualified for and been awarded District 7450’s Literacy Award.  We have been recognized with this award because of our outstanding Literacy projects completed during this 2019-2020 Rotary year. With completion of three (3) projects, we have demonstrated efforts to combat illiteracy in our community and our world.
District 7450 is extremely proud  and hope that West Chester Rotary will continue with our efforts to strengthen and promote Literacy.
In equally generous words, "for her tireless work promoting the RCWC,"President Bill named Cathy Palmquist Rotarian of the Year.  Our Rotary club is always in the local press and that is due to her efforts.  Cathy is a silent Rotary champion always behind the scenes taking amazing photographs of every Rotary event.  Even when she can't attend, Cathy always has a representative documenting our successes.   Cathy,  we LOVE you for everything you do and so deserving of this honor.
Outgoing President Bill Friedmann noted that to be a Rotarian is more than being actively  involved in a club. Some individuals have the attributes of a good Rotarian "by making a difference in the world, being a leader in their community, and being a great friend." He then invited Tracy Sammarone to the podium, extolling her extensive support of Rotary, and named her  an Honorary Rotarian.
Tracy, you are always serving in every Rotary event, we LOVE you as well!  Thanks for everything you have done in your volunteer service with Rotary. 
Ellen and Mark Morun (center) were named Honorary Rotarians by the Rotary Club of West Chester by Carol Hanson and President Bill Friedmann at a recent luncheon meeting, in recognition of the Moruns many years hosting Rotary Youth Exchange students. This year they are hosting Gaspar Vigneaux Poirot from Chile, sponsored by the Sunshine and Longwood Rotary Clubs. The Moruns have hosted 27 students over the years, 15 longtime (full year) students and 12 short term exchange students. Hanson, who has worked with the Rotary Student Exchange program for a number of years, cited the Moruns for taking on a lot of responsibility by hosting the students, and providing students a positive experience.
Representatives from the 16 non-profits who received Community Philanthropic awards at a recent Rotary luncheon include (seated, from left) Jackie Crego, Kennett Youth Garage; Glenda Brion, Community Warehouse Project; Dolly Wideman-Scott, Domestic Violence Center; Captain Maria Corraliza, Salvation Army; Jeanne Meikranz, Arc of Chester County; Sue Flynn, Chester County Family Academy; Laura Simpson, Crime Victims Center; Michelle Maloney, Chester County Women's Services, and (standing from left) Catherine Friedman and John Lilley, Friends Assn.; Carol Baker, Read 2 Dream; Dr. Adam Chambers, Chester Co. Women's Services; Jen Hohenberger, Chester County's Children; Ebbie Alfree, The Hickman; Kathy Sullivan, West Chester Senior Center; Pam Leland, The Hickman; Ellen Donohoe, West  Chester Senior Center; David James, Safe Harbor of Chester County; Carol Robinson, Volunteer English Program; and Joyce Lacy, North Star of Chester County.
 
John Schwab, pictured at the recent presidential festivities at Barnaby's, decked out in his special Rotary shirt designed by Debi Friedmann, was named Rotarian of the Year by outgoing President Mickey Hall. In honoring John, Mickey commented on John's quiet, behind-the-scenes presence on the governance committee, helping with strategic planning, and being her sounding board and advisor on so many occasions during her presidency. John has been a member of the club for over 24 years, has served as President, and in many leadership positions through the years. Congratulations, John!  A well-deserved recognition.
 
During the Presidential Induction at Barnaby's last week, outgoing Club President Mickey Hall, performed one of her last acts as president by naming Debi Friedmann, wife of our incoming President Bill, as an Honorary Rotarian. President Mickey noted the  many activities Debi is involved in throughout the county, such as Chambers of Commerce, and cited the many times she has stepped in to help our club with projects, resources and activities. Debi is also going to help significantly with the upcoming Chili Cook-Off this year. Being the wife of the new club president, just imagine the opportunities for her involvement in our Rotary Club! Congratulations and welcome, Debi!
The annual presidential induction is always a gala event, with tempting and interesting items offered at the silent auction, lots of action at the live auction, and of course, the installation of our incoming president. Dwight Leeper did an outstanding job of handling the induction, including the tradition of the passing of the gavel from the oldest to newest serving president. Mickey Hall, outgoing president, delivered the gavel to incoming president, Bill Friedmann, and he in turn, presented her with a presidential plaque to note her year of outstanding leadership. Dwight also inducted the new and returning board members, before Bob Frame launched into the always fun, live auction featuring dinners and vacation events, which  make this a special, and profitable, event for club members, their spouses and significant others.
Children from the Chester County Family Academy again visited the Rotary Club to share special holiday music with Rotarians and their guests. There were several musical offerings beginning with the violin performance. Later in the popular program, more children joined in to sing songs with bells, and with lighted little flashlights. At the conclusion of the program, the children sang "This Little Light of Mine," then walked among the Rotarians giving them their flashlights and wishing them Happy Holidays.
Eleven Chester County agencies were awarded $24,000 in grants from the Rotary Club of West Chester, reflecting proceeds from Rotary's Annual Chili Cook-off held earlier this month. Representatives of agencies receiving grants at a recent Rotary luncheon meeting included (standing from left) Matt Holiday, standing in for Catherine Friedman, Friends Association for the Care and Protection of Children., Hallie Romanowski, Act in Faith, Kathy Sullivan West Chester Senior Center, Dolly Wideman-Scott, Domestic Violence Center, Michelle Maloney, Chester County Women's Services, Nicholas Lohr, Interfaith Housing Assistance Corporation, Mickey Hall, Rotary club president, Myriam Ruager, Chester County Women's Services, and (seated from
left) Carolyn McKenna, Home of the Sparrow, Denise Antonelli, Act in Faith, Terri Potrako, Volunteer English Program, Sue Flynn, Chester County Family Academy, and Nancy Zion, Chester County Children, Inc. Also awarded a grant was Young Men and Women in Charge. Holliday is chairman of the Community Philanthropic Committee of the Rotary club, which selects the awardees from
requests submitted.
Chris Feryo and Diane Lemonides show some of the homemade soups that were prepared by Rotarians this year to help with the club's annual Soup for Safe Harbor project. Chris joined Diane this year in collecting soup  for three weeks in February, taking soup to the shelter on Thursdays after the club meetings. About 25 gallons of soup were collected and donated this year.
 
Among the many Rotarians who helped ring bells for The Salvation Army this year were Rachel Barakat and Phyllis Dunn (center and right) along with Rachel's friend, Mike. Over the years, despite snow and cold, Rotarians have helped raise thousands of dollars, urging shoppers at Acme and Kmart to fill the kettles for the Salvation Army's number one fundraiser each holiday season. Many Rotarians have helped for over a decade, including Jack Wintermute and Ken Hickman, who helped again this year.
 
Approximately 80 youngsters from the Chester County Family Academy filled our meeting room a few days before Christmas with  their joyful holiday songs, as has been their custom for the past few years. The first group of youngsters played holiday songs with vigor on their violins. The second group of youngsters, many with their siblings in tow, lifted their little voices in heartwarming songs. The last group of older students sang the song they had composed just for Rotary - a wonderful tradition that we look forward to each year. One of the best parts of the performance is when they were through singing, they moved among the tables, distributing their handmade holiday cards to all of the Rotarians. Rotarian Bunny Welsh, a CCFA board member, commented on the wonderful program at the academy that benefits these precious children. The children's singing and presence reminds us of what the holidays are really about.
 
 
Representatives  from local charities, who received grants totaling $33,400 from the Rotary Club of West Chester, were recognized and presented their checks at a recent luncheon meeting. Representatives included, (seated from left) Carol Baker, Read2Dream; Catherine Binz, Community Volunteers in Medicine; Gina Harrison, Safe Harbor; Lorri Sarosy, Friends Association; Sue Flynn, Chester County Family Academy; Hallie Romanowski, Act in Faith; and (standing from left) Shauna Yeldell and Matt Holliday, co-chairs of the Community Philanthropic Committee (CPC), Jeanne Meikrantz and Michael Donovan, ARC of Chester County; Jeanne Corman, Safe Harbor; Kenneth Klein, Chester County Children's Inc.; Victoria Dow, West Chester Public Library; Rich Roberts, Young Men & Women in Charge Foundation; Dolly Wideman-Scott, Domestic Violence Center of Chester County; Joyce Lacy, Interfaith Housing Assistance Corp.; Kathy Sullivan, West Chester Area Senior Center; Terri Potrako, Volunteer English Program; and Denise Antonelli, Act in Faith.
Funds for grants are generated by the annual Chili Cook-off. Thirty-one applicants for grants were screened by the CPC this year.
 
 
Children from Rwanda and Ethiopia (seated) and their guardian (seated left), who are being fitted with prosthetic limbs or a bone transplant at Shriner's Hospital in Philadelphia, had lunch with the Rotary Club of West Chester  to meet and thank Rotarians for helping raise funds for them to participate in the CARS (Children with Amputations Rehabilitation Strategies) program.

Members of the Rotary CARS Committee, CARS, and Global Medical Relief Fund
(GMRF) staff, who joined in welcoming the youngsters and explaining the program, include (standing from left) Larry Miller, Lance Helms, Luis Velazquez, Dave Barkasy, Elissa Montanti, Ernest Zlotolow, Monica Watson, Rob Feenen and Glen Sweet. Helms is head of Shriner s Orthotics & Prosthetics, Velazquez is the master technician in charge of children's prosthetic legs, Montanti is the founder and CEO of GMRF, a strategic partner with CARS, Watson is GMRF Patient Coordinator, and Zlotolow is chair of the Rotary CARS Committee.
Occasional rain showers did not dampen the enthusiastic and festive club picnic on the ample, covered porch at Bill and Dorene Winters beautiful home on Sunday. Club President Bob Rogers manned the grill, with Sue by his side to handle all the details,  along with Rob Malone and the Winters. Over 35 folks, Rotarians, spouses and prospective Rotarians, enjoyed beverages, traditional picnic fare with all the trimmings, delicious appetizers, scrumptious salads and amazing desserts, as well as good fellowship.
Ernest  Zlotolow was presented a large, framed citation from outgoing Rotary Club President, Katie Martin, when she named him Rotarian of the Year for 2015-16. Katie related Ernie's many activities and projects during the gala presidential induction celebration at the West Chester Golf and Country Club in June. She especially noted his diligence in regularly reporting  his activities and projects around the world to her. Ernie received a standing ovation from members and guests at the gala. Congratulations, Ernie! A most deserving recognition!
 
Immediate Past Club President Katie Martin, accepts a Rotary International Presidential Citation from newly installed District 7450 District Governor David Haradon (left), while incoming President Bob Rogers looks on.
Presidential citations are presented to only a few clubs internationally, who achieve exceptional goals during the past year, as the West Chester club did under Martin's leadership. Katie has been appointed to the position of Youth Service Chair, overseeing all youth efforts in District 7450, including but not limited to, the student exchange program, Interact and Rotaract Clubs, and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA).
 
Outgoing President Katie Martin puts the president's pin on Incoming President Bob Rogers lapel, effectively turning over the club presidency at the recent gala induction, dinner and auction. In addition to the installation of President Bob and the board members by PDG Dwight Leeper, Rotarians and their spouses enjoyed a tasty buffet and special Rotary cake.
The silent and live auctions brought in over $6,000, according to Sue Casso Rogers, mistress of ceremonies for the evening. Bob Frame lead the brisk bidding on the five live auction items. A fun evening was had by all!
Members of the Rotary Readers group of the Rotary Club of West Chester show some of the more than 900 dictionaries they will hand out to the second grade classes they read to each year in local elementary schools. The Rotary Readers and the chairpersons pictured are (standing from left) Iliana Tati, Jack Wintermute, Bill Ronayne, Glen Jensen, dictionary distributor chair, Bob Poole, Mac Neilon, Christine Wildauer, Phyllis Dunn and (seated from
left) Sue Greenberg, Catherine Friedman, Faith Woodward, and Christine McCawley, Rotary Readers Chair.