Posted by Edwin Bos - District Governor

Fellow Rotarians!

Stay well and click on "read more" if interested in the weekly e-mails that have been sent to Club Leaders since the crisis began.

March 27th E-mail to Rotary District 6250 Club Presidents and Leaders,

Rotary District 6250 Club Presidents and Leaders,
Hope you are all doing well.  Received an announcement from Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation this week regarding new “COVID-19” Tools being added to the Swiss Army Knife that is Rotary.  As District Governor I’ve been asked to pass along this information so that 1) District 6250 Rotarians and Clubs who want to use these new tools can begin thinking about projects they may want to pursue and 2) so that you can, if asked, inform your fellow Rotarians that Rotary is being proactive and doing everything  it can to help clubs create their own “stimulus” during these difficult times.
The following are policy adaptations that the Rotary Foundation (TRF) has made.  This specifically with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic:
  • District Grants.  A one-time exception has been made to allow COVID-19 related expenses incurred since 15 March 2020 to be reimbursed through 2020-21 district grants.  Rotary District Grant Information Link
  • Global Grants.  A waiver of the 30% foreign financing requirement has been made for any new global grant that addresses COVID-19.  An international partner is still needed.  Global Grants can be used to fund COVID-19 projects within District 6250 communities.  Minimum dollar amount is $30,000.  Rotary Global Grant Information Link
  • Disaster Response Fund.  Rotary Districts can contribute DDF and designate that these contributions be held exclusively for COVID-19 grant activities.  Rotary Disaster Response Grant Information Link
  • Disaster Response Fund.  The Rotary Foundation is transferring $1 million from the World Fund to the Disaster Response Fund with the stipulation that these monies be used for COVID-19 response efforts; only one grant from this fund is available to District 6250.
On the giving side of our Rotary Foundation the following:
  • Disaster Response Fund.  The Rotary Foundation is encouraging contributions to the Disaster Response Fund; while the Foundation anticipates an increase in grant requests for COVID-19, this fund remains general in nature and monies may be used to respond to other types of disasters.
  • Annual Fund.  As always, contributions to the Annual Fund help support the District and Global Grants described above.
  • PolioPlus.  Recently the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, of which Rotary is a partner, endorsed using polio personnel, vehicles and labs to support COVID 19 response. Full polio surveillance will continue while house to house immunization campaigns will necessarily be paused.  Planning is underway to restart polio immunizations as soon as practically possible.
As you can imagine, the volunteers who make up our District Foundation Committee and Subcommittees have a lot of non-Rotary activities on their plates on the moment.  I would ask that, in the short-term, any questions regarding the above be directed to me at
Finally, these new Tools remind me of what I’ve been sharing with our clubs this year … what’s fundamentally remarkable about Rotary is that no one needs to ask for permission to use the Swiss Army Knife that is Rotary.  You just see a use for it, pull it out of your pocket, open the tool you need, made the tool your own and set to work.  Rotary is a totally bottom up organization …  remember that Rotary’s signature project … the fight to eradicate polio; started in 1979 as a single idea from a single person, in a single Rotary club in the Philippines.  So, don’t wait for a big “COVID-19” initiative to come down to you from Rotary International … it’s not going to happen … the next big initiative and the next small initiative will come from you or a Rotarian just like you.
Stay well!
Edwin K. Bos
Rotary District Governor (2019-2020)
March 20th E-mail to Rotary District 6250 Club Presidents and Leaders,
Rotary District 6250 Club Presidents and Leaders,
Very happy to see how quickly and efficiently our District’s Clubs have made alternative plans with respect to upcoming meetings and events.  As I did in my previous e-mail, I again want to emphasize that your Club has complete discretion in how it wants to operate during the COVID-19 Crisis, how it wants to maintain member engagement and how it wants to maintain the connections that so many of us find so important.  A few questions have recently come out of the club level and I want to provide you with information that has been coming across my computer screen this week.  I have done my best to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Club Initiatives During the CoronaVirus Crisis
Some have inquired about club initiatives being undertaken during the Crisis especially with respect to helping local businesses weather the storm.  Some of the ideas I’ve seen or received given below under the signature line.  I urge all of you to do something ... this is a unique time in that your members are itching to get busy ... help them scratch that itch!
Club Meeting Ideas During the CoronaVirus Crisis
Others have inquired about what clubs are doing with their meetings during the Crisis.  Again, some ideas I’ve seen or received given far below and in the attachments to this e-mail.  Zoom Meetings have been a popular avenue for the clubs interested in meeting virtually.  In the short-term the District has some ability to help clubs in this respect (subject to the capacity of the accounts).  Contact Heather Dyer for more information, time limitations etc.    
Information concerning Zoom and Zoom pricing can be found at  20% Discounts by using "ZoomRotary".
The Rotary Foundation – Annual Giving, PolioPlus, etc.
The one thing we definitely can do during the Crisis is raise funds for the  Rotary Foundation.  Once this Crisis passes there will be need in our own District and around the World.  Let's contribute now to support our own future efforts.  All clubs can focus on their Fundraising goals with respect to both Annual Giving, $100 per member per year and PolioPlus.  The following, from the Rotary Foundation’s Annual Giving team’s fundraising professionals, are a few tips about fundraising amidst the COVID-19 pandemic:
  • Put people first – With the global economy shaken, many loyal Foundation donors are fearful. Acknowledge that situation. Ask a few of your club leaders or key club donors how they are feeling and listen to their needs.
  • Make no assumptions – Yes, we acknowledge the fears of many, but we do not assume that is how everyone feels. Some donors feel more driven than ever to help through Rotary.  For such donors, remind them that Annual Fund gifts generate funds for district grants that are relatively easily accessible. Larger gifts to the Endowment Fund can be directed to more specific causes.  Rotary's Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) can also be used to directly support Rotary or other 501(c)3 charities that are helping your community during this time.   
  • Plan for a brighter future – Focus on how fundraising will help Clubs and Districts fund safe, effective ways for your community to recover.  Inspire people by sharing the example of how Polio teams around the world are using their experience to help countries track COVID-19.  Remind people what The Rotary Foundation has done and will continue to do in helping communities in need.
District 6250 Meetings and Events
With the exception of RYLA and RotaryFest/District Conference/Annual Meeting; all District 6250 meetings for the remainder of the 2019-20 Rotary Year have been cancelled, postponed or moved online.  Virtual meetings concerning both RYLA and RotaryFest were held by the respective committees this past week and these events are being carefully monitored.  Further announcements will be made as decisions are made.
In conclusion, hoping very much that you are doing everything you can to keep the Rotary Spirit strong in your club.  Yesterday my wife, Joanna, was on Skype with her mother in Poznan, Poland.  Mom and dad are holed up in a small apartment taking care of two school-age grandchildren while their parents are away at work.  They’re in their upper 70’s and were looking forward to their final trip to the USA at the end of April.  Attending their grandson’s college graduation, visiting some national parks, participating in RotaryFest were just some of the things on their agenda.  Sadly, those plans all changed this week. 
But, as is usually the case, Lućja and Joanna found something positive and interesting to talk about because all I heard for an hour were mother and daughter laughing and laughing and laughing.  My mother-in-law spent over half her life behind the Iron Curtain which gives her, I believe, the unique ability to put almost everything into perspective.  Many of you have far bigger things than a cancelled trip to put into perspective, nevertheless, I hope you'll be laughing and laughing and laughing with your loved ones, and your fellow Rotarians, throughout these difficult times.
Stay well!
Edwin K. Bos
Rotary District Governor (2019-2020)
Club Initiatives During the CoronaVirus Crisis
Rotary's marketing pitch is that we Rotarians are "People of Action".  I believe the Rotary Club of Green Bay West has come up with a great program for us to sponsor and encourage our communities with regards to helping our local business owners during this period of coronavirus.  The program basically is encouraging the community to continue purchasing from local business by purchasing gift cards/certificates now for use when they re-open.  This will help our community small businesses with cash flow in these difficult times.  Please see the attachments with regards to this program and I encourage that you consider doing a similar program in your community.  You will find attached the email to me from Club President Bob along with an outline of the program and media coverage of a previous campaign their club carried out.   More information in attachments.
I am encouraging individual Rotarians throughout my District, who are healthy, to volunteer as a Blood Donor during the next 8-10 weeks .  Each donation saves three lives, and answers our Four Way Test questions perfectly.
There is a large interest in our Club in Prairie du Chien to help out those in need/community during this Coronavirus outbreak.
There are some great ideas in this email thread!  FYI, I wrote a posting about the Four-Way Test and COVID-19 for our Rotary Club of Madison (Downtown) blog. You are welcome to share it if you'd like:
Service Opportunities Some service projects can continue even while observing safe contact rules. For example, some clubs are planning trail or highway clean-up projects during this time. Consider what projects your club has that could help your community while maintaining appropriate hygiene like dropping off food to the local food bank.
Service from Home Consider creating a suggestion set of service projects for your members that can be completed or delivered from home. This might include members' hobbies or even service that involves reaching out to others (club members and others in your community) in a time of potential isolation e.g. calls, texts and even old-fashioned letters might make a world of difference to others.
Social Activities Some clubs are planning on taking regular hikes together where they can keep a safe distance while sharing fellowship with other club members. 
Rotary reading This may be a great time to catch up on your Rotary reading - like the Rotarian Magazine, Century of Service: The Story of Rotary International by David Forward, articles on, Discussion Groups, podcasts, etc. You might even be interested in signing up for the online Peace class or other options on the Rotary Learning Center or checking out Rotary Discussion Groups
Club Meeting Ideas During the CoronaVirus Crisis
We had our first Marshfield Rotary Zoom Meeting this morning and it was well attended by 26 of our Rotarians.  We expect to continue this mode of delivery for the 3 meetings with the possibility of extending.  It actually went so well this morning I suggested that we discuss keeping this as an option for members even after we resume face to face meetings.  I hope you and your club are finding ways to meet and share the Rotary spirit!
Rotary District 6690 has put together a great resource which is attached and can be found here
Madison South did a rotary “happy hour” yesterday using Zoom and about a dozen Rotarians joined the call. It was great to see everyone. We have canceled meetings at the Sheraton through the end of March for now. 
Madison After Hours meetings are cancelled through at least April 5th for now. Will probably do a Zoom meeting. I love the happy hour idea!!
Lodi Rotary Club is canceled until further notice.  We will begin discussions via email soon to figure out an approach to moving forward.  I have seen many viable solutions such as Zoom meetings, Teleconferences, New letter meeting formats, having members watch an RI video and then open discussion via email responses during a set time…….  Looking forward to seeing everyone’s creativity so all members regardless of their technological capacities can join in, in one way or another.
Madison Breakfast used a format for our board meeting that is used in some group therapy.  Essentially, after opening the meeting, each person is allowed a minute to report on what is going on in their lives and there is no “cross talk” allowed. The moderator goes through the list of attendees until everyone has had a chance to speak. Before moving on to the next topic, it is important to give a chance for people to comment. The overall response from attendees is that this was successful.  We have a robust happy bucks crowd at our meetings, so this will be like that. Usually we have 15 minutes of fellowship and 15 minutes of club business before the speaker, so having a happy bucks minute for each attendee should fill that time. I will send an agenda with this explanation in advance so I don’t take anyone off guard…like I did last night!
March 13th E-mail to Rotary District 6250 Club Presidents and Leaders,
We’d like to provide some updates from District 6250 and Rotary International regarding the Coronavirus or COVID-19:
  1. Rotary International guidance on various Rotary Programs can be found here  To date they have not cancelled or postponed the Rotary International Convention in Honolulu scheduled for early June.
With respect to club and district operations RI is currently stating the following:  “Rotary International recommends that members and participants follow the guidelines set by the World Health Organization and your national, regional, or local health authorities to protect your health and safety. If authorities recommend it, postpone or cancel in-person meetings, or conduct them online or by phone.  Closely examine your personal circumstances, including any health issues, when you consider travel and participation in events.”
Individual Rotary Clubs should make their own decisions regarding their meetings and events keeping in mind that many clubs have a high proportion of “at risk” individuals.  Current guidance from the Wisconsin Health Department can be found here:  Included in this guidance is the following:  “The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) recommends that all non-essential gatherings of 250 or more people be cancelled or postponed statewide to help protect Wisconsinites from the spread of COVID-19, particularly those who are most vulnerable to infection and severe disease”.
Good luck navigating through this challenge.  We’re all proud of Rotary and we want to do all that we can to make our clubs and district as successful as possible but in the greater scheme of things we are a volunteer organization … let's do all that we can to make our members as comfortable as possible with their own individual decisions.
All the best!
Edwin K. Bos
Rotary District Governor (2019-2020)