The District Dispatch


The Monthly Newsletter of Rotary District 6250

July Edition

Important Note: Deadline for district newsletter submissions is the 25th of each month.
The newsletter will be distributed by the first full week of the month.

District Governor's Message


It’s July!  Warm weather – Summertime – The start of a new Rotary year!  How Exciting.  I love this time of year.  A chance to reflect on what we have done over the past year and a chance to plan our next year and figure out just how we can Make a Difference, which just happens to be the Rotary Theme for 2017-18.  I think that is such a fitting theme.  We are in Rotary to Make a Difference.  While many of us join Rotary to fellowship, we stay in Rotary to change lives.  Rotary allows us many different avenues to do this, so I am glad to carry the message forward from RI President Ian Risely that we need to Make a Difference.

One person that truly embodied the 17-18 Rotary theme was PDG McHugh.  I want to thank Dean for his tremendous year of service.  He led our district with a passion and a focus that allowed us to grow and thrive in so many ways.  Dean lived the motto of Service Above Self.  Whether he was visiting a club, serving beer at a fundraiser, or participating in a project, he showed how much he truly followed Past President Germ’s belief of Rotary Serving Humanity.  Dean gave us his time, focus, energy, and passion and I personally want to thank him and his wife Nancy and their children for their willingness to serve and sacrifice this past year.  

With the new Rotary year upon us, we have the ‘changing of the guard’ in our leadership throughout our district and throughout the Rotary world.  RI President Risely will take over for Past President John Germ.  I will be taking over for PDG McHugh.  Bill Hoel will spend the year training to replace me next July 1 and close on his heels will be Edwin Bos who will serve as our 19-20 DG.  We are already starting to look for who will be replacing Edwin.  Leadership continuity is so important to a strong district and a strong club.  Many of you are taking over as new Presidents for your club.  Enjoy this.  It is one of the most amazing years in your Rotary life.  To be a leader among leaders is an experience that you can’t quite explain.  You truly need to live it.  However, in this position, you need to make sure that you are planning for the success of your club for years to come.  That means if you don’t already have your PE and PEN, you should have them selected shortly so that they can be trained as well as prepared to take over if some unforeseen circumstance causes leadership to step up early.  I know some are thinking that it is hard to do this in a smaller club.  However, we have clubs that are around 15 members and some that are at 500+ members following this philosophy and selecting leadership in advance, and they are the thriving clubs in our district.  Club size doesn’t matter.  Leadership succession does and that is why I ask that your club make this your first priority in July.  I will be reaching out to you shortly for this information.

With the new Rotary Year, I want to emphasize some of our goals and focus as a district.  First, I would like to remind us all that our number one goal of Rotary is to eradicate Polio.  We are very close.  This Calendar year, we are at 6 cases of the Wild Polio Virus.  We are hoping that Rotary year 17/18 is zero cases.  With Rotary’s new slogan of ‘Drop to Zero’, we need to stay focused.  Our district goal for Polio giving is $1500 for clubs under 50 and $2500 for those over 50.  We owe it to these children to make sure that not even one dies or is paralyzed when we have the means to eradicate only the second disease in human history.  Stand with me as we ‘Drop to Zero’.

Second, I would like to thank you all for your kindness and generosity to Our Foundation.  We are averaging over $100/member to the Rotary Foundation.  This is allowing us to do so much good and Make a Difference in our own back yard and around the world.  With the foundation team and all the district
and global grant matching that they are helping to facilitate, we are doing so much good.  Sadly, however, we are not running out of customers and we need to continue to help where we can.  That means I need you to continue your generosity to Our Foundation.  We can change lives, but not if we don’t work together.  So, I ask you to please learn about Our Foundation and give at the level you feel is appropriate.  Also, if you are interested in giving to our Million Dollar Journey Campaign, I encourage you to click the link and learn more –

Third, I want to encourage each one of us to invite at least one guest this year to a meeting, fundraiser, or volunteer event.  We are all responsible for Rotary membership.  Sometimes we think it is up to the president or to the membership team.  It is not.  It is up to all of us.  Simply invite at least one person and give them the gift of Rotary.  Think about how important Rotary has become to you.  What if somebody wouldn’t have given you that gift?  We owe it to those we care about as well as those we want to help to share this gift.

Finally, I would like to ask you all to tell our story. Let our friends, our family, and our communities know what it is that we do as Rotarians.  I know many of us don’t give or serve for the accolades.  However, we owe it to those we help today and those we hope to help tomorrow to Tell Our Story.  The only way that we will continue to receive the support, the membership, and the partnerships we need is to let people know who we are and what we do.  So, I am personally asking you to Tell Our Story!

I am so humbled, excited, and honored to serve as your District Governor for the 17-18 Rotary Year.  I am here to walk with you and help you, your club, and your community reach their goals of Making a Difference.  If there is anything that you need help with, know that I and the 50+ district team members are here ready to serve you.  Our job is to not tell you what to do.  Our job is to ask you what we can do to help you.  So, as your partner and advocates, we are here to serve.  Now, let’s go Make a Difference and have a great Rotary year.


Joe Ruskey
District Governor 2017-2018
Rotary District 6250

District News, Events and Announcements


District Website Information

The district has been updating website information for the 2017-2018 year. 

You will find the District Calendar available with most locations secured for the next fiscal year. Please click here for further information.

The Governor's 2017-2018 District Strategic Goals have been posted. The district will provide support, expertise, and resources as we work together on each goal. Please click here to review these strategic goals.
The two programs that Joe Ruskey introduced at PETS for the fiscal year are as follows:

Meeting Grant Program:
- The meeting grant program is available to the first two clubs in the district to set up and register a Satellite/Alternate Meeting with the district by June 30, 2018. This Satellite/Alternate Meeting are clubs meeting at a different time than the sponsor club. Further information on this grant program available here.

Membership Grant Program:
- The membership grant program is a new program for the first five clubs to recruit four or more new members between July 1, 2017 and April 30, 2018. These clubs will be eligible for a $1000 grant for these new members to use for a project of their own. Visit here to lean more. 

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What's the Million Dollar Journey All About?

District 6250 is undertaking a very special promotion to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of The Rotary Foundation.  Please click here for a video explanation by District Foundation Chair Dave Warren of our Million Dollar Journey.  

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Support District 6250 Charitable Trust by Shopping

What if I told you that with every purchase you make on Amazon, a donation could be made to the District 6250 Charitable Trust?  It’s possible with AmazonSmile!  When you shop at, you’ll find the exact same prices as, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price
to a charitable organization of your choice.  It costs you nothing and is simple to set up.  Follow these easy steps:

1. Click here and login with your existing Amazon account, or create an account if you don’t have one yet!
2. Press the “Select” button next to “Rotary District 6250 Foundation Inc” (Note: this is the legal name of the District 6250 Charitable Trust.)
3. You can verify you have selected our Trust by confirming "Supporting: Rotary District 6250 Foundation Inc" is shown right under the Amazon search box.
4. Make sure to use from now on whenever shopping on Amazon — shop to your heart’s content! All the prices are the same, but every purchase will support Rotary!



Club News, Events and Announcements 

Updated Information on 2017-2018 Insurance Policy for Clubs

Note the new exclusions:
Fireworks:  There is very limited coverage as relates to fireworks. Fireworks are considered a high risk activity by insurance underwriters; the Program’s coverage is limited to liability arising out of selling pre-wrapped fireworks purchased from a licensed third party or a fireworks display that is part of an
event where a third party (not the Named Insured i.e. your local Rotary club) has contracted with a pyrotechnic company.  If the Rotary Club is a sponsor of an event where there are fireworks, the pyrotechnics company should include the Rotary Club as an Additional Insured on their policy (in addition to the party contracting with the pyrotechnics company).  
Club sponsored events with attendance of 25,000:  If your club is organizing an event that draws 25,000 or more attendees, your club is required to purchase a primary special events liability policy.  Include liquor liability if liquor is being served at the event. 

When your club is a vendor at the State Fair, this requirement does not apply – but it does apply if your club organizes, sponsors or is putting on the large event.
NOTE:  Just as you cannot “lend” your health insurance coverage to another person you cannot “lend” the Club’s liability insurance to another
nonprofit or an organization your Club is working or partnering with on an event.  Always confirm that the other organization has insurance coverage in place.

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Rotary International Night at the Ballpark

Sunday, July 30
Warner Park, Madison

The various Rotary Clubs on Madison invite you to Rotary International Night at the Madison Mallards Duck Pond on Sunday, July 30 at 4:05 p.m. 

$15 admission includes your ticket for a reserved stadium seat and an official Mallards hat. $5 of every ticket sold will go back to Rotary International. The Madison Mallards will be giving away a Harry Potter Themed Bobblehead.

Important Details:
- To purchase tickets, Click Here!
- Tickets can be picked up at Will Call Windows
- Hats can be picked up at Fan Services located behind the Festival Foods Grill.


Sun Prairie Club and Sun Prairie Community Schools Opening Doors for Kids and Families

Westside Elementary is one of two community schools in Sun Prairie. It was chosen as a community school due to almost 60% of students who attend our school living at or below the poverty line. The goal of their community school is to provide much needed resources or access to resources along with quality out-of-school programs focusing on positive child and youth development while meeting the community’s needs for keeping kids safe and families empowered and engaged.  Much of their programming is funded by in-kind donations and grants received from various organizations.   

Project – First Friday Family Fun Nights (FFFN) is a project I have been involved with for the past two years.  These events held monthly on the first Friday of each month are a place that families can spend time having fun, being safe, building relationships with each other and at no cost to them.  These events were started in 2015 with 30 Westside families attending.  We heard great feedback and knew we wanted to continue these events by making them bigger and better the following school year.  We also had a new community school space that we needed to furnish as that space would be used during these events.
To fund the FFFN, in which a free meal was provided to all attending, as well as furnish the new community school space, we asked for in-kind donations along with submitted several grant requests.  We were blessed to receive a grant for $2000.00 ($1000 from our own Rotary club and $1000 from District 6250).
As this school year started, we spent August furnishing the new community school space which included receiving lots of in-kind donations of furnishings from the Sun Prairie Area School District and other organizations in our community.   We also used this month to start planning our FFFN for the 2016-2017 school year.  Our first FFFN was held in October with over 50 families attending and our theme that month was a Community Resource Fair.  Throughout the school various activities were held from arts and crafts, working and harvesting in the school garden to various partners being on hand in both the community school room and cafeteria to work and help families get connected to various resources in Sun Prairie and throughout Dane County.  Such resources included our SP Public Library being on hand to sign families up for library cards, our food pantry representative being available to get families signed up for their Friday snack bags (providing food to families over the weekend), to local health providers on hand to talk with families about
vaccinations, diabetes prevention and so on.  A free meal was also served to all attending.  Many of us take this for granted, but for many Westside families, this event and meal, helped fill a very real need they have that for one night of the month, they do not have to worry about what their family is going to eat and if they will have enough food.
Each month attendance continued to climb with our largest night attracting over 90 families, with an attendance of 337 participants!  Each month, we had a different theme or focus and some examples include – Winter Carnival, Healthy Families, Reading Can Be Fun and so on and as always, a free meal was provided.  Rotarians volunteered at each monthś events and could be seen supervising and hanging out with families while playing bingo, we had Rotarians playing board games with families, we had Rotarians helping kids shop and then wrap Christmas presents for their family members, we had Rotarians help greet families as they arrived at Westside and we had Rotarians playing basketball with our youth as there was open gym time held after each FFFN.
These events have been so successful due to the many partners involved from our community school – they are truly what collaborating is all about.

We now have a community school space which gets used by many people throughout the day and night.  The long-term outcomes as we continue to interconnect together the many resources and strategies are to enhance our Sun Prairie community as it supports all youth and their families.  This will
help improve our schools and strengthen neighborhoods.  Building such partnerships required visioning, strategic planning, creative leadership and new multifaceted roles for all who work in schools and communities and having a designated space in which to continue this collaboration is key. Another long-term outcome, is that Rotarians have become an integral part of the First Friday Family Fun Nights and have really become invested with the kids and families.  Many Rotarians are even bringing their own families along, which is great! Our FFFN events will continue next school year and I know I will still
plan to be involved and it sounds like many of my fellow Rotarians will be too.  These events are not only a chance to interact with others from the community but also each other.

Questions? Please contact Rich Darga or Sue Halambeck.


Wisconsin Dells Club District Grant Completion

The Wisconsin Dells Rotary Club just completed their first district grant.  We completed a few community improvement projects and would like to share what was completed. We had a few members attend grant writing seminars through the district.  In May of 2016, we applied for money and were rewarded with matching money to complete our goals.

Our first project was to buy and install a kayak dock on the Wisconsin River. We worked with two other groups in Wisconsin Dells, and now have an excellent dock with a stairway that will provide access to the river to both citizens and visitors to our area.

The second project was to buy and install Buddy Benches at each of the elementary schools in our district.  This was very popular with the students and staff.  The benches are installed in recess areas. When a student does not have anyone to play with, they sit on the bench.  Other children are taught to invite the kids to play.  It has been very successful, did not cost too much, and provided a good atmosphere on the playgrounds in our area.  Click here to read the article in a local newspaper giving credit to the Rotarty Club.
The final project is making banners along the new city Riverwalk in downtown Dells.  We found the whole process to be great for our club and community.  


Working Dogs for Conservation

The Rotary Club of Madison West is looking for other Clubs to join in a venture to help an organization save endangered species (i.e. Rhinos, Elephants) from poachers and smugglers in Africa. "Working Dogs for Conservation" ( is located in Bozeman, MT, where they train rescue dogs to sniff out ivory
and ammunition. They found out through years of experimenting that it is especially the hyper, more problematic dogs that qualify for these tasks. Dr. Jane Goodall, scientist and animal activist, endorses this Organization full heartedly. See and here their story on YouTube  and Facebook. WD4C will have Zambia and Mozambique on this year's list of countries that dogs and trainers will be sent to. Please contact Chet Thomas at 608-835-8549 or Michael Edlinger at 608-832-4468.

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RI News

The Rotarian Magazine

The Rotarian Magazine is our link to the greater Rotary world. The pictures and stories tell us of the wonderful work that is being done, in and through Rotary, to make the world a better, safer and a more peaceful place…all because we are advancing the key elements of social justice, health projects, and educational opportunity and alleviating the dire effects of poverty.

A person is not free if they are hungry. A man is not free when he has to watch his children die because of the lack of clean water or adequate food. A mother will not be free if her sick child cannot receive medical care and when people are not free they will seek social justice even if it means going to
war to achieve it.

Our magazine, paid for in our RI dues, is not junk mail. It makes you and me “literate” in the great story of Rotary. Read it. Share it with others. Drop it off in
a public area where literature is offered, a dentist's reception area, the waiting room at your local hospital or when you go to your accountant's office to pick up your tax filings. Plant the seeds of Rotary by sharing our great story.

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Friendship Exchange News

We had a successful experience hosting 8 Rotarians in our district.  We had traveled to Gujarat, India in January, and they came to visit us late in May.  They enjoyed visiting Chicago, Dells, La Crosse area and Madison area.  Many homes were opened in our district, while our Rotarians hosted and showed them around. 

We are looking for persons interested in hosting a group of Rotarians from Peru.  It may be a small group, from 4-10 persons, arriving on Tuesday, August 15 and leaving on Thursday, August 31.  If you and your club would like to be a host for a day, a few days or more, let me know.  Please send an email to Dave Clemens,, and let him know of your commitment.  You will be expected to pick them up from the previous club, provide a room, meals and entertainment, then make sure they make it to the next community on their itinerary.  It is great fun, which we want many clubs to enjoy.  Don't miss this chance to enjoy the fun of a Friendship Exchange.


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Zone News


Update on Annual Giving

New RI Foundation Donation Forms

Club executive members can now download a Multiple Donor Form that is pre-populated (filled out) with details of club members including their ID number. This form is on at member access. Club presidents and club secretaries have access to this form. Also club treasurers and club Rotary Foundation chairs can get this form if they have been registered on member access by the president or secretary. Select the club members who have donated and add the amount of each donation. The new form makes it easy to forward donations from a group of club members who contribute weekly, quarterly, etc. More Info.

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Attendance Report

Reporting Tool for District Attendance

Check out the reporting tool for District Attendance!

Clubs can view each month’s attendance in a visual graph. Also Club Secretary’s can request access to update their information directly online!

Click here to submit your club's attendance report

Click here to see the full Attendance Report.


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