President’s Letter : Walt Kunau, President 2022-2023
I greet you in the spirit of Rotary’s Motto – “Service Above Self”!
Imagine Rotary is the 2022-23 Rotary International presidential theme. The question I would like to pose to you is: Why Rotary? I hope you take some time to imagine your role in Rotary this year, so that when asked why you are a member of our Club, you will have an exciting answer!
Let’s imagine what Rotary can be – for you, for our club, for our city, for our commonwealth, for our country, and for our world!
First, imagine a world without polio. It will happen, and it will happen because of Rotary and because of you! The eradication efforts imagined by Rotarians began in earnest in 1988 when cases numbered 350,000 annually. In 2007, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation joined us in the fight. Today, polio has been eliminated in more than 120 countries and remains endemic in only two. A global push for polio eradication by 2026 is on target, thanks to you!
Next, imagine a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive Rotary. This initiative is a cornerstone of Rotary International President Jennifer Jones and aligns with what our club has been intentional about for several years. Kevin Fields chairs our Diversity Equity and Inclusion committee, which recommended that our club participate in the Metro United Way Wealth Gap Simulation. This is an important program our club will host on September 22. Save the date – you won’t want to miss it.
Imagine 63 new first-time homeowners in West Louisville who are beginning to accumulate generational wealth because of your generosity. The West Louisville Housing Initiative, our latest signature project, is in place because Rotarians in our club imagined a better and more equitable Louisville.
Imagine children learning to swim with the Muhammad Ali Museum and Education Center’s Stingrays program…because of you.
Imagine more access to healthcare in the West End at the Shawnee Dental Clinic…because of you.
Imagine our sometimes-overlooked youth being honored for their service as Unsung Heroes…because of you.
Imagine the Ohio River becoming cleaner through our support of Kentucky Waterways Alliance…because of you.
Imagine recovering addicts enjoying a dinner and fellowship at Re:Center Ministries…because of you.
Imagine under-resourced middle schoolers being tutored by high school peers through our work at Educational Justice…because of you.
Imagine folks stricken with cancer finding a quiet place at Gilda’s Club…because of you.
Imagine World War 2 and Korean War veterans visiting Washington DC and being celebrated through the Bluegrass Honor Flights program…because of you.
Imagine youngsters rushing to the mailbox to get their very own book from Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library…because of you.
Imagine our scholars learning important business skills through our Honors Scholars Program with Evolve502 and with the Interact Clubs at Iroquois and Western High Schools…because of you.
Imagine honoring Rotarians who have passed with the planting of trees by Trees Louisville…because of you.
Imagine a cohort of young professionals at U of L College of Business learning about the tenets of Rotary by earning scholarships and becoming members of our club…because of you.
Imagine local folks having sustainable clean water in Lake Victoria and El Salvador…because of you.
Imagine the 8th grade graduating class at West End School discussing Bryan Stephenson’s important book Just Mercy…because of you.
For me, it would be hard to imagine these projects not happening, just like it would be hard for me to imagine Rotary not being a relevant, ethical, engaged, and energetic organization. We have weathered the storm.
Imagine more energetic meetings. How does that happen? The energy in the room starts with more people in the room. It is just more fun when you come! Rotarians show up. Our member experience starts here – with our folks coming early and as often as you can. Imagine what fun you will have through comradery with members, learning about service projects, hearing from engaging speakers, and meeting new friends. You may not like the color of the tablecloths or that is it raining outside but I can almost promise you, you will be glad you came. I challenge you to come and see. Call a Rotarian you have not seen in a while and bring them. I ask you to ask them to come. Our weekly meetings are where the work of Rotary starts.
What else is left to imagine? Imagine…
And finally – for this week’s WWW, here is a humorous but true aphorism penned by Thomas Edison…who knows, he might have said this while working right here in Smoketown!
“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
Life is good!
ABOUT OUR CLUB
With approximately 350 members, the Rotary Club of Louisville is one of the largest clubs of Rotary International’s 46,000+ clubs around the world. Our Club has been serving others in this community and worldwide for more than 110 years.
We welcome guests and visiting Rotarians from all over the world at our weekly Thursday luncheon meetings. Our programs involve prominent leaders in every field, and our membership represents the business and civic leaders of our community and our state.
We are connected with each other, our community and with other Rotarians worldwide.
A Year to Remember 2020-2021
“Uniting Leaders: Building Community”
Click to Download the full PDF
‘A Year in Review’
Throughout the year, our Club faced one of the most significant health crisis in our 109-year history, the COVID-19 global pandemic. While we missed seeing everyone in person, the Rotary Club of Louisville rose to the challenge and carried out its mission and focus, “service above self”, in a difficult year for all.
Weekly Guest Speakers- Timely and Relevant Topics
Through the adoption of virtual technology, the Club carried on its tradition as a premier platform for speakers. Each week a wide variety of guest presenters, leaders in their fields, informed, engaged, and inspired us. The full array of timely topics and top-notch speakers that we had the privilege of hearing included: Mayor Fischer, UK President Capilouto, U of L President Bendapudi, Susan Elkington, President, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky; Governor Andy Beshear, Mike Jones, CFO, UPS Airlines; Coach Scott Davenport, Bellarmine University; Kevin Nolan, President & CEO, GE Appliances; Tony Parrott, Executive Director, Louisville MSD; App Harvest Founder Jonathan Webb, Dr. Jason Chesney, Director, James Graham Brown Cancer Center and more, all available on the Rotary Club website here.
Building Awareness and Strengthening Communications
The virtual platform gave an opportunity for “Pre-Meetings” hosted by Rotarians, that elevated the Club’s committees, outreach, and other mission-driven organizations of significance and impact in the community.
Sparks, the club’s newsletter (launched in 1913) was reimagined, the Rotary Club website refreshed, digital platforms expanded, to include Facebook Live, to help members stay in touch and engaged throughout the pandemic.
A few media features include: The Rotary Club of Louisville the Evolve 502 Kickoff, WAVE 3 News, and Assignment Education on KET.
Rotary Club of Louisville Projects
There are more than 20 local and international projects our Club supports. Even during a challenging time, the Rotary Club of Louisville committees carried on their work. A few highlights include:
- Louisville Rotary Promise Scholarships – Our signature project promises college scholarships for qualifying graduates from Iroquois and Western High Schools, two schools with historically low numbers of students pursuing post-secondary education. Rotarians also mentored and provided support to students.
- Louisville Rescue Mission Monthly Meals – Provided meals for the men at the Rescue Mission.
- Repair Affair was Back!
Rotary District 6710 Awards presented to the Rotary Club of Louisville:
- Best Community Service Project – “Community Impact Committee Examines Diversity, Equity & Inclusion”
The Rotary Club’s CIC (Community Impact Committee) focused its efforts to learn more about the issues of racism, equity and justice. The group established six subcommittees actively developing plans to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion in the Club and in the community. The Rotary Club adopted its first-ever DEI Statement and Commitment to Vendor Diversity Statement. And, a new standing committee, the DEI Committee, has been established with the chair holding a seat on the board of directors.
Early accomplishments include:
- Grant awarded for $10,000 to the Hope Wellness Clinic for the purpose of improving health outcomes in West Louisville.
- Partnered with Junior Achievement’s 3DE project -Rotary Club of Louisville teamed with NAACP to develop curriculum that will launch in the new school year of 2021.
- Best Ongoing International Service Project – “Life Mercy Academy Primary School Water Supply & Sanitation.”
The Rotary Club of Louisville partnered with the Rotary Club of Kampala Nsambya Uganda bringing to fruition clean water and sanitation to the school located in a small rural village in Uganda.
New Dues Structure & Meeting Venue
With the goal of broadening membership and attracting new members more reflective of the community, including more diverse and young professionals, a new dues structure has been implemented. Now members can purchase lunch separately from the former “pre- paid” lunch system.
June 3rd, our first in- person meeting in over 15 months, the Rotary Club joyfully convened at its new meeting venue, Savor at River House, a beautiful event space overlooking the Ohio River offering high-quality food and free parking.
Business Networking and Fellowship
- Business Synergy Events– Each month unique virtual experiences were offered to promote member to member business in small groups, while learning something interesting. The last two events were held in person and memorable.
- Social Committee Events
– Rotary Wild Lights Zoo Event
– Louisville City Football Club – virtual tour of Lynn Family Stadium and soccer game outing rescheduled.
With a year-long focus on literacy, the Club had as guest speakers Sharon Darling, founder, National Center for Families Learning, and Janine Broussard, founder, H.U.G. Reading, Inc. Significant grant awards were made to the Dolly Parton Imagination Library, Louisville chapter, Inc., the DePaul School, West End School, and H.U.G. Reading Inc.
Passing the Gavel
After an extraordinary year, President Julie Schmidt was pleased to pass the gavel to President Jean West, as the Rotary Club of Louisville continues its longstanding goal of emphasizing acquaintanceship, fellowship and making the Louisville community a better place in which to live.
THE ROTARY CLUB OF LOUISVILLE
THE ROTARY FUND OF LOUISVILLE
The Rotary Club of Louisville is governed by a Board of Directors and its committees are organized into five functional areas –
- Membership Experience
Our service is funded through the Rotary Fund of Louisville, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization which receives contributions from Rotarians and other benefactors in the community.
To be Louisville’s premier fellowship of business, professional and civic leaders dedicated to selfless humanitarian and civic service, improving lives in our ever-changing community and the world.
To provide a fellowship of inspired business, professional and civic leaders with exceptional opportunities for humanitarian and civic service, while promoting integrity, understanding and goodwill on a local, national and worldwide basis. We achieve our mission by:
- Developing a strong, growing and active membership that reflects the diversity of vocations and people in our community.
- Strengthening finances to support the club and to carry out the civic, vocational and international service projects that meet the needs of the community and the world.
- Building a dedicated, well-trained and energized leadership team to guide the club and to support the District and Rotary International.
CORE VALUES & GUIDING PRINCIPLES
These core values are reflected in the Object of Rotary and The Four Way Test which we use in our daily lives. Adopted June 2012
We believe that our service activities and programs improve lives and communities and bring about greater understanding and peace. Through the plans and actions of our Club, we create a culture of service that not only benefits the recipients but also provides unparalleled satisfaction for those who serve.
Fellowship leads to tolerance and transcends racial, national and other limiting boundaries. This broadens our lives and perspectives and strengthens our ability to serve.
We believe Rotary unifies all people behind the ideal of service. We encourage diversity of vocations within our membership and in our activities and service work. Our membership reflects our business and professional community and is a key to our Club’s success.
We are committed to and expect accountability from our leaders and fellow members, both in the results of our efforts and in the processes we use to accomplish our goals. We adhere to high ethical and professional standards in our work and personal relationships. We are fair and respectful in our interactions, and we conscientiously steward the resources entrusted to us.
We are a fellowship of leaders and believe in offering our members lifelong opportunities to develop their leadership capabilities in service to others. As Rotarians, we are leaders in implementing our core values.