Rotary Club of Northfield, Minnesota  |  Thursday, January 20, 2021

Let's get UNcomfortable!

Talking about racial issues isn't easy and can be downright uncomfortable.  But as Rotarians we are called to learn about the truth and challenge ourselves to be in conversations that aren't easy.  For our February 4th club meeting we'll be doing small group conversations based on the first three episodes of the video series Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man hosted by Emmanuel Acho.  PLEASE watch Episodes 1, 2 and 3  (~30 minutes total) and join us for some guided conversations.
The videos can also be found on You Tube here


Join Our Thursday Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 853 8396 5788
Passcode: 601997

    Maggie Milano

Maggie Miland, RotexGraphic Recording: Building Equity and Community in a Virtual Age. As a community builder, has this past year left you feeling disconnected and Zoomed out? What if there was something that could help us reconnect in a meaningful way? Graphic recording, or visual note-taking, is a powerful tool that puts people and their voices at the center of every conversation. 

Mark Abbott (1.17); Wendy Sivanich (1.21).
Sue Boxrud-21 (1.20.2000); Jim Holden-10 (1.23.2011).


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. 
Our Climate Action Statement - Read our climate action statement here.

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


Thanks to last week's Cogwheel Reporter, Scott Richardson.

Kari Nelson, club secretary, reported that due to the pandemic, the board will take $50,000 from our Northfield Shares funds to support important Rotary work both at home and internationally.

Thirty-three thousand dollars designated for local initiatives will be distributed to: CAC ($15,000), HealthFinders ($5,000), KEY ($3,000), Laura Baker Services ($3,000), Hope Center ($2,000), Ruth’s House ($2,000), Northfield Retirement Center ($1,500) and Three Links Care Center ($1,500).

On the international front, $17,000 will be distributed equally to: Best Future Center in Nakivale, Uganda for food purchase and distribution; Nourish Bangladesh for food procurement and distribution; Mil Milagros for food, medical care and education services to the same villages that our Guatemala water project serves; The Rotary Club of Dapaong-Tandjouare in the Savannah Region of northern Togo for hand washing stations to be installed at schools; Polio Plus fund of the Rotary Foundation; Amnesty International or another organization serving people in the IDP (internally displaced people) camps of Burkina Faso, home to approximately 800,000 people who have fled Islamist attacks and now live in conditions with difficult sanitation conditions, and limited ability to social distance to control the spread of COVID

Kari reported that John Price, not a Rotary member, recently donated $1,000 to our youth exchange program. Todd Thompson, president-elect, will soon be convening a strategic planning session for the club. Look for his invitation in your email. The board is also thinking about how to lower barriers to club participation that may be preventing us from achieving a more diverse membership. Look for a Club Conversation on February 4 called “Let’s Get Uncomfortable,” led by our Diversity, Inclusion and Equity board member Beth Kallestad. The board is also trying to project beyond the pandemic to re-imagine club meetings, fundraisers and service going forward. If you have ideas, you are invited to share them with board members. 


Jim Pokorney is seeking volunteers to help the CAC food shelf bag groceries on Tuesdays from 2 to 5 p.m.  through March. We have committed to filling 20 three-hour shifts over the 10 weeks. Look for Jim’s sign-up invitation in your email.

Northfield Shares is offering a great pandemic diversion Saturday, Jan. 23, in the evening. They have arranged a “best of” Northfield musical talent in a remote concert from 7 p.m. You may register for this free event here.


  Holly Schoenbauer

Project Friendship’s business is booming. Holly Schoenbauer, executive director, said in the last five years the program has grown from 66 mentoring matches to 183. “We’re growing like crazy,” she said.

Project Friendship, a homegrown, non-profit, now in its 56th year, matches college students with local youth, second through seventh grade. Mentors are asked to meet with their mentees at least once a week for an hour. Holly calls what they do “intentional” mentoring. After screening and background checks, mentors receive orientation and set specific goals for their mentees. Holly supports their work throughout the year with ideas and ongoing training. The relationships are often life-changing for both mentors and mentees, she said. Some endure for many years.

During the pandemic, Project Friendship has had to adapt with remote contacts and virtual field trips. More than half of the mentees have never met their mentors in person. But she has concluded that virtual mentoring works, mentors are brilliant and kids are resilient. 

The annual Carleton Garage Sale is one of the organization’s major revenue sources. It was canceled this year and may not happen in 2021. Rotary has donated to Project Friendship through its Local Donations Committee.  

The entire January 14th meeting can be viewed here.


  Cecilia Cornejo

January 28 — Cecilia Cornejo, At Home as a Perennial Outsider. Artist, filmmaker, and educator, Cecilia Cornejo, will share her experience as an immigrant living in Northfield, her residence since 2010. Drawing on her ongoing project, The Wandering House, Cecilia will discuss how she finds both a sense of purpose and belonging in a community-engaged artmaking practice. Hosted by Jean Wakely.

Vicki's Vision

   Vicki Dilley, President

Dear Friends,
Are you like me, you say The 4 Way Test to yourself during the week, not just on Thursday at noon? When I come to a challenging spot in my day and I wonder how to react there are certain guidelines I use to know where the path ahead is ... my personal faith is one of the guides, but the Rotary 4 Way Test is an easy one for me to draw from too. 
How easy is it sometimes to follow something that is not 'exactly' the truth because you kind of want it to be true or think 'it should be' true. Truth really matters and I am thankful to the Rotary founding fathers that chose this is their first premise in their relationships and have passed this on to us. Is it the Truth? We can apply this to the big picture of life and in the small details. I am writing this to you on Monday, the day set aside to remember Martin Luther King Jr. He was speaking truth and some folks weren't willing and able to hear it, some folks today are still not ready to hear it. Truth always matters. 
Is it Fair to All Concerned?, our second test. We live in families, in community, in a nation, in a world of nations. How far do we need to extend this test? Life gets complicated when the circle gets bigger, much easier to just think of what is fair to me or my family, but when I need to consider what is fair to someone I may not know that lives in Bangladesh or Zimbabwe, it gets hard. Rotary has been a wonderful tool for many of us to expand our world views when we learn about water needs in Guatemala or we meet a young person from Hungary and learn about his family in a small town like ours. What I choose to do, does it impact them, is it fair to all concerned?  
Will it Build Goodwill and Better Friendships? Again, how far is this expected to go? Do I need to feel goodwill towards someone I don't know and extend my friendship when the opportunity allows? I think so, I would hope we are always ready to be that ambassador, much like we expect our exchange students to be. I will never forget a magical moment we encountered on our last night in beautiful Istanbul. We were wandering casually in a courtyard and a young newlywed couple came up and asked us to take their picture for them. We gladly obliged and they asked us where we were from, we told them and we asked where they were from ... Iran they said and they very quickly told us how much they cared for us, despite what their government said. It was such a quick and sincere response, it created a jolt in me. Would I have done the same to ease any potential tension, would I have extended that goodwill and better friendship to them or would I have walked away without doing so? What are other times I have the opportunity to do so, as they did for us?
And the fourth test ... Will it be Beneficial to All Concerned? How much do we need to compromise for our own benefit to make it beneficial to all? I want to think of the whole first and me second, but it is not always my first instinct. I believe we can do this without total disregard for what I need/ want ... especially if others are practicing the same test ... they will be the ones looking for what benefits me. 
These are exercises we can practice every day. I doubt that any Rotarian has perfected their tests, but as long as we continue to strive towards these ideals, we will make this world a better place and peace and understanding will be more evident in our world. Some days I can see it more clearly than others, but I want to always look for it. Rotary, others, you make me a better person and I hope by sticking together on this journey your path is more clearly marked too.   
Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

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.