What a year it has been! Our Rotary Club of Milwaukee is a very special Club. Our members are impressive, our activities are diverse and meaningful, and our future is bright.
Our membership: We are strong in our numbers with 370 members. But more importantly, we are strong in our diversity with 30% women and 70% men, ranging in ages from 26 to 102 and representing all professions and callings from accountant to zoo director. It is what makes our Club “the place to be and connect” and allows us to engage in meaningful activities that make an impact.
Our activities: Focused on the opeations and growth of the Club, our finance, personnel, membership, recruitment, marketing, programs, social and Tyrotarian committees keep us going every week. We were informed and challenged by a long list of speakers, including among others, Governor Scott Walker, Chancellors Blank and Mone of the University of Wisconsin, Charlie Sykes, Todd Teske of Briggs & Stratton, Chris Abele, our County Executive and John Gurda, our favorite Milwaukee historian. We were well fed and entertained at Home Hosted Dinners and morning coffees. Afternoon drinks were shared as we toured the Pabst Brewery, Milwaukee Blacksmith and Milwaukee City Hall. With the arrival of summer, we will again share fellowship at the Rotary Amphitheater for Live at the Lakefront and at activities at the Rotary Arboretum.
Focused on our local community, Done in a Day, Environment and Ecology, golf and RCM Scholarship, Partners in Education, Reading is Fundamental, Inclusion, Racial Equity & Jobs, Military, Maritime, and Rotary Person of the Year were all lead by engaged Rotarians. This past year, all in, we raised over $175,000 for present and future scholarships. Most impressively, 60 Rotarians engaged with our Rotary Scholars to mentor them in their college pursuits. At Brown Street Academy we read to the students and presented bicycles to the most improved readers. We distributed over 30,000 books to students at nine elementary schools. Our Rotary Person of the Year, Bob Hillis, wowed us all with his story of how his success in business has improved the lives of senior citizens.
Focused on our Global Community, the A.D. Robertson Fund for the United Nations, the Global Milwaukee Committee, the Group Study Exchange, our Rotary Foundation, and World Community Service committees, made a lasting contribution to the health and well-being of those in distant places. Our Club’s response to eradicating polio was truly remarkable as we raised $31,550! And in May, nine of our fellow Rotarians traveled to Guatemala to assist with building pedestrian bridges that opened access to basic services for families.
Our future: Soon we will announce a Next Big Project for the Club. Following our success with the Arboretum and Johnsons Park, once again, we will leverage our resources with others in the community to make an impact. Thank you to all who have participated in the project proposals and selections process. It is an important piece of who we are.
I am humbled to have served as your President. Your support and confidence in me has been unequaled—not only those who serve on the Board, and as Committee chairs—but also each of you who lead and participate in our many volunteer activities and programs, recruit new members and proudly represent Rotary in the greater Milwaukee community.
I conclude my term as your President, with the same words I used one year ago when I began my presidency: “the state of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee is strong. In fact it is healthy and growing. Focused on the Four Way Test—is it the truth; is it fair to all concerned; will it build good will and better friendships; will it be beneficial to all concerned—our members are engaged and truly embrace our purpose…’leaders making a difference.’”
I extend my heartfelt thanks to Mary and Rita who work tirelessly to make our Club the best of Rotary.
It is with great confidence in the future of this impressive and very special Club that I hand the gavel to President JoAnne Anton.