Rotary Club of Northfield, Minnesota  |  Thursday, July 23, 2020


Here is the link to the 4-Way Taste Virtual Summer Fest flyer: Or, you may buy tickets at:
This Week's Meeting
This week's speaker:
Todd Jenkins
Todd Jenkins, Rotary Diversity and 2020He calls himself Mr. Bowtie and you will know why shortly into his presentation. Todd will speak about Moving from Diversity to Inclusion.  Dr. Jenkins is a certified Leadership Management International facilitator, coach, and speaker with more than 10 years of training and development, leadership development, and diversity and inclusion work experience. Todd was an outbound Rotary Exchange student and is a regular speaker at the Rotary International Youth Exchange events.  He will make you laugh and most likely make you think. (Hosted by V. Dilley)
Duane Benson (7.21, Jayne Hager Dee and Linda Willgohs (7.22), Steve Underdahl (7.24).

ZOOM in Thursday, July 23, 2020 at 11:45 a.m.
Members: Watch for a separate email message with login information for this week's Zoom meeting. Then Zoom in at 11:45 for casual conversation in a break out room before joining the regular meeting at 12:10.


Our Rotary Climate Action Team (RCAT) is dedicated to making climate change a strategic priority and to raising awareness, providing education and encouraging individuals and businesses to act in the interest of our planet.

For additional information about our club’s Rotary Climate Action Team chair, Alan Anderson, at 507-371-4673 or



District Governor Tom Gump, Edina; Dr. Nicole Christina Stuhrmann, RC Wiesbaden-Kochbrunnen, Germany; and Ashley Ringlien (Yogi), and Bill Tubbs (LeBeau). 


Four Rotarians were honored for their contributions to the Rotary Foundation. Kari Nelson, David Wolf, Richard Schulte and Janine Atchison all  have earned Paul Harris Fellows Plus One status. Dave Brown, foundation chair, said Jesse Steed, Meredith Galdeen, Penny Hillemann and Amy Goerwitz have also become Paul Harris Fellows. They will be recognized in the coming weeks. 


President Vicki Dilley welcomed three new members to the board of directors. Meredith Galdeen has volunteered to serve as Public Relations and Communications director; Mark Abbott, International Service; and Beth Kallestad, Diversity, Equality and Inclusion, a new board position. Thank you all for your service.

President Dilley said the board would like member input on a couple of matters before it finalizes a budget for the coming year. Look for a survey soon and please fill it out. All members are invited to Zoom in on board meetings each month. President Dilley will send everyone a link so you can watch the board in action if you choose. 


Rotary International has funded our $161,000 global grant for Phase II of the Guatemalan Water Project. Todd Thompson, who has so doggedly overseen this project, said the pandemic has impeded work in Guatemala, but the money will be transferred and work will move forward when it is safe to do so.

Our 4-Way Taste fundraiser is close to selling out. Brent Nystrom, a member of the committee, reported as of last week 34 of the 40 custom-made beverage boxes have been sold with two weeks yet to go. There is still time to host, attend or donate. Remember Todd Thompson and friends will perform a virtual concert that evening to cap off the event.

The COVID-19 pandemic has become personal for Itty, our 2018-19 exchange student from Indonesia. Itty, her mother, father and brother all contracted the virus, and her mother sadly died. Itty had been quarantined alone until recently when her father came home from the hospital. Amy Goerwitz has been in contact with her and reports that a GOFund Me page has been set up to help Itty navigate this difficult time. If you want to donate, go to: If you would like to reach out to Itty, her email is:

Carl Caskey reported that the Local Donations team allocated its $6,000 budget to 11 different Northfield projects and nonprofits over the last fiscal year. See the complete list of groups we supported below Vicki's Vision..

President Dilley still has Rotary protective masks available on her door step. Go to 714 Highland to pick one up. Leave your $10 in the container.



Tom Thorfinnson plans ahead. That’s his job.

As Rotary International’s first chief strategy officer, he is looking at societal forces shaping our world and determining how Rotary can remain relevant in the coming years. 

Currently Rotary has 1.2 million members in 37,000 clubs across the globe, but that number is slowly eroding. Tom’s task is to develop strategies to make Rotary more appealing to the next generation of service-minded people who are looking to make lasting change. Rotary has work to do. Tom has two grown daughters, and neither would be willing to join Rotary. They identify with our mission, he said, but Rotary is too male and too white. They are looking for a service club that looks more like them. 

His office has developed an action plan that is looking at four key issues: 1) How to increase Rotary’s impact; 2) How to expand Rotary’s reach; 3) How to enhance member participation and engagement; and 4) How to increase the ability to adapt.

Service and fellowship are still important to members, he said. In fact, friendships formed in Rotary are “the heart and soul” of what drives our service. Younger people, however, are also looking for personal growth. Tom said we need to pay attention to that. As an organization, we also have to innovate. The pandemic is forcing us to adopt new ways of meeting, some of which may be used well beyond the pandemic. 

Rotary is also taking a hard look at its calcified governance model. It probably needs to be flatter, Tom said. Its hierarchical structure and many time-honored traditions keep members with good energy and fresh perspectives from key leadership roles. “We’re a monstrous cruise ship,” he said of RI’s organizational model. “It takes a lot to change.”

One change is RI’s recent adoption of environmental service as a seventh Rotary focus. Eighteen million dollars have been allocated over the next five years for global grant funding related to climate change. Grant applications will be accepted beginning in July of 2021. Tom complimented our club for its advocacy on this issue.

Tom's presentation and the entire July 16, 2020 meeting can be viewed here: 


July 30 — Sean Carroll, President of Arera. He is Anera’s president and chief executive officer, overseeing a staff of 120 who work in offices in Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Washington, DC. Sean oversees a wide range of programs that reach refugees and vulnerable families in the places Anera works, from educating out-of-school Syrian youth and bringing water to underserved communities to providing essential healthcare services and much more. Under his leadership, these programs continue to touch the lives of thousands. (Rogers).

July 31 — 4-Way Taste Summer Festival

August 6 — Thilo Van Debschwitz, Infographics Pioneer (Yogi)

August 13 — Rick Olson, RotarAct and School 

August 20 — Club Climate Social (RCAT)

Vicki's Vision

Vicki Dilley, President

Dear Northfield Rotarians, 

As we continue to "social distance" and yet try to find that fellowship that we are missing, I am thinking about our different living spaces. Right now, Lee and I are doing a little revamping of our front patio so that we can have company, keeping our distance and still be comfortable.   

I am also thinking about our Rotary meetings quite a bit, as we try to create a space that is meaningful, where we feel the fellowship and still remain safe.  I know that many of you are just not able to come to the zoom calls because of new situations with work or childcare. I also know some of you are feeling "zoomed out" and I get that too.  Unfortunately, I don’t see our situation changing back to having lunch together at the church anytime soon and we need to remain committed to being people of action and fellowship.  

We are going to continue to give and serve in the ways have in the past … Polio Plus, literacy, Fast for Hope, camp RYLA, The Key, human trafficking, ethics workshop, college scholarship, Mill Towns Bike Trail, local donations (see the list where we gave last year), climate action, Healthy Community Initiative and more.  

But, in what ways can we continue to be in fellowship with each other?  How about … come onto the zoom meeting at 11:45 and join fellow Rotarians in a break out room until 12:10, attend or host a 4- Way Taste event or just have a few Rotarians over to your patio or deck and stay connected. When there is an invitation from the club to do something safely, alongside another Rotarian … accept the invitation, if you can. 

Tomorrow, Dr. Todd Jenkins will be speaking to us about Equity and Inclusion. Northfield Rotary remains relevant to issues today and by walking alongside some of the leaders in social justice we can also continue our walk towards world peace. We hope that you are able to join us tomorrow. But, when you can’t, we have the presentation recorded and that link included in the Cogwheel.   

Remember, this is our time to have speakers from nearly anywhere in the world. Do you have some ideas of people to invite to speak to us?  

The day we come back together, with Covid-19 behind us, will be a day to certainly celebrate, but until then … let’s stay engaged and committed to why we joined Rotary. I wish you good health and fulfilling service! 


Our Local Donations at Work 

Ever wonder where our local donations go? During the 2019-2020 Rotary fiscal year, the Rotary Club of Northfield supported 11 local causes with a total of $6000.

Northfield Healthy Community Initiative: TORCH Revolving Student Loan Fund - $500; TORCH Snack Pack Project - $500.
Northfield Community Action Initiative: Hygiene Product Initiative -$750; Operation Backpack - $300.
Northfield Public Schools: Move 5 Reading Improvement Program - $500.
Northfield Union of Youth: Wallflower Project - $1,000. 
Northfield Area United Way: Imagination Library - $500.
Northfield Youth Choir: Tour Scholarships  - $500.
Health Finders Collaborative - $450.
Hope Center - $500.
Ruth's House - $500.
Contact Local Donations/Good Neighbor Award chair Carl Caskey with any questions.

Statement of Purpose: Northfield Rotary Club is dedicated to promoting peace and understanding through service and shared experience. We invite people from all corners of the community to join us as we partner with others to support youth, build sustainable infrastructure and preserve our planet.