President Shaun called the meeting to order at 12:30 pm. Mobile phones were commanded to be turned off, though one did sound off later.   He led American members in the Pledge of Allegiance.

 

Words of inspiration came from Tony Cusack, who read from New International Version’s translation of 1 Corinthians 13, the well-known passage on faith, hope and love.

Secretary Tim Hurd introduced guests of Rotarians and visiting Rotarians from Overseas:

Guests of Rotarians:

  • Donna Kerry, Analytic Focus, guest of Leroy Allowsy
  • John Manzolillo, retired, guest of Ken Kimbrough
  • Lawton Salley, CityBridge Foundation, guest of the speaker
  • Michael Verga, partner, K&L Gates, guest of Andy Cook
  • Erin Thomas, Executive Director, Rotarian Action Group for Peace
  • Diallo Radway, Marketing Director, College Planning for the WFG/HIFE, guest of Dr. Sam Hancock
  • A Visiting Rotarian from Overseas was Anita Puri Mohindra, an engineer. Speaking later in the meeting, she told us she was the only female member of Mussoorie Rotary Club, India, which has been active in polio eradication, and presented a banner.  

Ross Grantham, a former member of the Bangkok Rotary Club, introduced Chamnong Watanagase, Business Advisor, PP Rotary Club of Bangkok, his daughter Madura Watanagase, now at the Federal Reserve Board, and Jan Van Eyndhoven, diplomat, PP of the Rotary Club of Bangkok.  Mr. Watanagase later addressed the club and together with President Shaun, signed a Capital Cities Joint Cooperation Agreement.

Filling in for Sergeant at Arms David Treadwell, John Jackson gave the birthday announcements:

  • John Prominski,  April 29: John joined in 1996, sponsored by Hap Jones. His classification is Law: Corporate.
  • Tony Cusack, April 30: Past President of the Burke, VA club, Tony joined our club in 2005. He was sponsored by Paul Ebeltoft, and his classification is Professional and Technical Services.
  • Eric Fraint, May 1: Eric joined one year ago, sponsored by Glen O'Gilvie. His classification is Accounting: Nonprofits.
  • Frank Reaves, May 2:   Frank marks 90 years this birthday. He joined in 2005, sponsored by John Oliphant. His classification is Mechanical Contracting. John noted that Frank has provided valuable technical assistance to the missions in the past.
  • May Gwinn, May 3: May was sponsored by Clara Montanez when she joined in 2007. Her classification is International Trade.
  • Max Salas, May 3: Max joined in 1996, sponsored by Ann Milne. His classification is Telecommunications: Corporate Development.

In announcements, Ken Kimbrough gave a call for volunteers for Saturday’s Habitat for Humanity build day, and promised 70 degree weather.  Contact him or Howard Davis or sign up on the website.

President Shaun said the May Monthly Happy Hour has been cancelled and the next one will be Thursday, June 5th, at the University Club.

President Shaun presented Paul Harris pins to Ken Kimbrough (+7) and to David Klaus (+8).

President Shaun gave Mike Carmichael his Blue Badge.

President-elect Jennifer Hara made a pitch for contributions to the Rotary International Foundation, reminding everyone that this club will match in points toward Paul Harris recognition.

Then since our speaker had been informed earlier that she had to leave for a train immediately after the meeting to fill in at a conference in New York, a few items were put off until later in the meeting.

Kathy Ward then introduced our speaker, Katherine Bradley, President and Founder of the CityBridge Foundation.  Katherine and her husband David have been called “venture philanthropists” and were named Philanthropists of the Year by the Washington Business Journal.  Why are we listening to Katherine today and not to David, Kathy Ward asked humorously?  Because of their respective track records:  as a boy, David tried a business venture with a monkey that he said was the worst experience of his life; while little Katherine raised docile snails and sold them in the neighborhood for ten cents each.

Katherine Bradley then demonstrated her total command of things audio-visual by speaking while standing up out front of the podium with a wireless mike. No notes.  Her slides appeared on our screen exactly when needed.  They were easy to read and made their points efficiently.  Smoothly, she complimented Rotary’s work and said it was the first time she had talked to a Rotary Club.  She skillfully worked the words of inspiration into her first paragraphs. 

CityBridge is a foundation dedicated to improving education for Washington DC urban schoolchildren, started by the Bradleys in 1994.  She says the task the Foundation has chosen is very hard because of the long-standing, intractable achievement gap in testing scores between families of higher and lower income.  She used full-price school lunch and free/reduced price lunch eligibility as her tool for stratification.  She showed the difference between Ward 8 and Ward 3 scores.

The slides went by swiftly, but she painted a very clear picture of two groupings, one that scored well and one that scored poorly.  The reforms instituted by Superintendent Michelle Rhee increased the test scores for better-off students, but didn’t help others much.  What can be done?

Ms. Bradley believes that the answer is to look for the best practices, the bright spots.  They should then be used as a model to create or completely overhaul schools that produce the best results for all children.  Targeted efforts won’t do it, she says.  Are there DC schools that do well in lower income areas?  Yes, she identified 23 out of 143:  DC Prep, Kipp DC, and DC Scholars, which works with Stanton Elementary School. She says that we need to replicate the results of these great schools for all 85,000 kids, because starting young is critical. Asking how to improve schools is the wrong question, she asserts:  there must be 100 new, transformed schools to do the job. Mere remediation is futile.

In questions and answers, she allowed that the distribution of dictionaries and books is a good thing.  She applauds effort to strengthen the community and the support of parents.  Kenny Barnes complimented her mention of the impact of violence, trauma and other stress. 

She says the role of parents is under-recognized and cited some research.  In response to a question about the value of charter schools, she strongly came down on the side of charters and said they are absolutely the best way to turn the situation around.  The full engagement of business and concerned people will be required.

President Shaun gave her the tree certificate and she was off to New York.  He then moved to the agenda items that were shuffled around to help our speaker.

Erin Thomas , Executive Director of the Rotarian Action Group for Peace, came to the podium and discussed the activity of her 800 members in 18 groups around the world.  She herself was a Rotary Fellow in Argentina in 2003.

Gretchen Kearney showed the new video made by Kevin Borow as a PR tool for the club – many of our members are shown working on various projects and the assembly appeared to approve the production.

Gretchen will be in Florida for a couple of weeks on personal business and Hillary will be in charge of the office.

Heather Jaffan brought forth the raffle container and Buz Gorman won – again! Not the large pot, though.

The Hospitality Table was staffed by Ted Hamady and Stu Shalloway, and the greeters were Ausra Kaminskas and Tony Cusack.    

The meeting adjourned at 1:30 pm, with the ususal reminder to turn the phones back on.