Meeting in Review: August 21, 2013
At 12:30, President Shaun called the meeting to order, introduced himself, asked for cell phone silence (though one briefly trilled later in the meeting), and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
The words of inspiration came from Peggy Schoen, who asked that we remember the world’s peacemakers. She proposed a toast to people like Antoinette Tuff, who calmed down a young gunman in an elementary school this week, and Norwegian diplomats Terje Rød Larsen and Johan Jørgen Holst, who worked for peace in the Middle East. The club lifted their glasses in recognition.
Secretary Tim Hurd introduced the guests of Rotarians:
With the speaker, Daniel Studnicky, VP for Donor Development and Professional Services for the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region; Shawnn Fayson, Director of Finance, Center for Non-profit Advancement, guest of Glen O’Glivie; and Rhonda Helal, of Gray Graphics, guest (and sister) of Abe Helal. An American Rotarian was present: Francine Lawrence of the Toledo, Ohio club.
Standing in for Sergeant at Arms David Treadwell, John Jackson announced the birthday:
Joan Bristol, August 24. Past President of the Denver Rotary Club, Joan joined the DC Club in 2002. Her classification is Investments: Association Management. She was sponsored by John Prominski.
John Jackson also thanked volunteers for the Grate Patrol and reiterated its importance.
Rotaract Club President Stephanie Spivack spoke about their activities including an upcoming Rotary/Rotaract Networking Dinner, coming up in October.
President Shaun summoned Past President Howard Davis to the podium to remind about DCPS Beautification Day, Saturday, August 24 from 9 am to 1 pm. Counting both Rotary and Rotaract members, 25-30 helpers will be working at Stanton Elementary School under Past President Howard’s direction. Also, after the meeting, President Howard gave out T-shirts to volunteers for Stanton or for the first Habitat for Humanity Build Day, Saturday September 14th.
President Shaun reported that a new Rotary International website will debut on August 26. There are two versions, one for the public and on for members. We will need to re-register for the RI website.
President Shaun awarded a Blue Badge to Casey Mauldin.
Kathy Ward then introduced our speaker, Ms. Terri Freeman, President of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region. She summarized the growth of the foundation during the 17 years that Ms Freeman has been working there, and recounted some of the degrees and many honors that she has earned, including a listing as one of Washington’s 100 most powerful people.
Ms. Freeman is a dynamic and practiced speaker. She told us about her family – her 27 year marriage to her Baptist preacher husband, and her three daughters, 24, 21 and 14. When the daughters learned she was one of the 100 most powerful, they responded “Yes? What number are you?” -- A clue to the goal-oriented nature of the family.
Ms. Freeman came to DC from Chicago, but says she wouldn’t consider leaving this vibrant area. When she started with the foundation 17 years ago, its assets totaled about $10 million; they now control $326 million. They think of themselves as a hub for giving, connecting corporate and individual donors with non-profits in need throughout the region. There are a variety of vehicles: individual givers place funds in accounts for specific projects, for fields of interest, and for unrestricted use. The foundation’s grant-makers help them to put the money to work. The unrestricted money is less than 3% of total assets, and there is never a shortage of good causes and proposals to claim it. There are also scholarship and memorial funds.
Ms. Freeman digressed with a skeptical view of targeted scholarships. In her opinion, they are often too narrow, and unjustly leave money unused on the table.
Well-prepared and organized, she described the needs of the less fortunate in this prosperous region:
1) A sturdy, available safety net. Food. Shelter.
2) The means of developing a qualified workforce, equipped for today’s workplaces. Post secondary credential s for job seekers.
3) Quality education, the great equalizer. She reminisced about her extended family of teachers, who took it for granted that she would go to college and earn an advanced degree. Some of the 16-24 year olds of this area, troubled and hormonal, get off the track. They later need to reconnect and resume their education.
She sketched a disturbing picture of the working poor of DC, Maryland, and Virginia outside the Beltway. Poverty, poor schools and unaffordable housing mar the prosperous image. What are the big issues, how can the situation be truly improved? She sees a collaborative role the foundation can fill as a neutral convener, bringing together strange bedfellows from all sectors – public, private, profit and nonprofit. And she wants better evaluation of focus and effectiveness.
Ms. Freeman is take-charge and practical: there are severe strains and dislocations from gentrification, but developers are not the enemy. All sectors, working together, can solve the real human needs of this city and surrounding region, she believes.
Questions and answers returned to gentrification. Ms. Freeman doesn’t see either a plan or a conspiracy in the renewal of the city, but the taxes that drive seniors from longtime homes and the loss of neighborhood intangibles give her pause. She says development needs to be family friendly. She’s a fan of good charter schools.
Another question touched on education. Ms. Freeman gave high marks to “Turn-around schools”, the organization Raise DC, Trinity College and community colleges in general for their achievements.
President Shaun presented the tree certificate, and Terri Freeman laughingly said she’ll be bringing her three daughters to the future tree location for visual confirmation.
President Shaun called for the raffle container, managed by Andrea Ghiaroni. Judge Larry Margolis won the $34 small pot but did not turn up the Ace for the large one. Playing the obedient husband for the amusement of the crowd, he immediately surrendered his winnings to his wife Doris Margolis.
The Hospitality table was staffed by Stu Shalloway, Ted Hamady and Balraj Gupta. The greeter was Heather Jaffan.
The meeting was adjourned.