Rotary Club of Northfield, Minnesota  |  Thursday, May 6, 2021


Join Our Thursday Zoom Meeting
Find it here.
Meeting ID: 836 2096 1395
Passcode: 164383
Here is the timeline for our regular Zoom calls. On some days there will be slight variations, but not for coming on to the call.  
11:30 -11:45 — Zoom Managers log in and get set up.
11:45 - Noon — Club Members and Guests are invited to join and go into a break out room for casual conversations.
12:10 — ALL Zoom callers are invited back together to begin the meeting. Generally, the meeting will begin with an Invocation, the 4-Way Test, introduction of guests and then introduction of our speaker. Speaker and Questions/ Discussion.
12:40 — (approximate) Birthdays, Announcements, Happy News and more.
1:00 — Meeting is dismissed until next week.
     Philip Welkhoff
Philip Welkhoff, How Community Engagement, Innovation, and Partnership Help Create a Pathway to Malaria Eradication. Malaria is preventable and completely treatable, yet about 400,000 still die from malaria each year, most of them young children in Africa. We review the present malaria situation, the challenges of fighting malaria during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and the work going on around the world—including new partnerships with Rotary—both to drive down burden and to make it possible to eradicate malaria. Hosted by Richard DeBeau.

Dr. Philip Welkhoff is Director for Malaria at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, joining in 2018 to lead the Foundation’s strategy. Prior to this role, he served as a pro bono external advisor to various programs, including Agricultural Development and Water, Sanitation & Hygiene. Previously, he served as director of research at the Institute for Disease Modeling (IDM), where he helped develop computer simulations of malaria, polio, and other disease transmission dynamics to assist public health professionals and other scientists in planning the eradication of different diseases.  He grew up on the north coast of Haiti where his parents worked at a humanitarian hospital, he had malaria many times as a kid, and he served as the hospital's radio operator as a teenager.  

Dr. Welkhoff received his PhD from Princeton University in Applied and Computational Mathematics and has dual undergraduate degrees in Mathematics and Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas, Austin. At Princeton, his work focused on computational neuroscience and biophysics-motivated models of decision making. Also, while at Princeton, he began working on malaria and mathematical models of disease transmission. Beyond modeling disease eradication, Dr. Welkhoff’s research interests include technologies for improved public health in the developing world, as well as other global development issues, such as vaccine delivery, developing world nutrition and agriculture, and improved sanitation. He has served on the Board of the Fannie and John Hertz Foundation and serves as a senior interviewer for its graduate fellowship programme.


Rick Estenson (5.4); Charlie Cogan (5.6); David Halsor (5.7).

Scott Richardson-19 (5.2.2002); Mary Hahn-4 (5.4.2017); Virginia Lorang-2 (5.7.2019).


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, Penny Hillemann.


Greg Storlie, our newest member, with Edina Realty. Greg recently returned to Northfield after 15 years away. 

Joe Wakely, in Guatemala with Todd Thompson, where they are finishing a project that can serve twice the water needs of the current population of 175.


Todd Thompson provided an update from Guatemala on the water project nearing completion there.

Jim Pokorney sent an email looking for Meals on Wheels volunteers May 30-June 5.

The Literacy Committee is coordinating the summer book bike. Sign up with Laurie Williams to volunteer Jun 22-Aug 11. Two volunteers are needed for each date: one to ride the bike, one to help people with books.


The Rotary Club of Northfield was well-represented as Habitat for Humanity broke ground on a new multi-family home project on Sunday, May 2, 2021.


     Scott Wopata
Scott Wopata, Executive Director, Community Action Center, An Update On All Things CAC. A discussion with Northfield Community Action Center leadership on expanding the breadth and depth of the CAC's work, including breaking ground for Hillcrest Village, a zero-energy housing development. Hosted by Alan Anderson.

Originally from northern Minnesota, Scott has been in Northfield for 20 years. He is a St. Olaf grad and has been a soccer coach, a youth pastor, the director of Northfield Union of Youth, and now is the director of the Community Action Center. 

Scott reflected on the CAC’s name and what it means to do action in your community. The work is all centered around building community, and all input is welcomed. The CAC has shifted to a “people over programs” mindset. Deeply listening to the people they serve, they empower programs to happen as a result and embrace the “mess” of many overlapping issues, needs and solutions – such as housing + climate, food + health, and employment + transportation.

For example, they heard that people want fresh food, not just shelf-stable staples. They developed partnerships with local CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) to help CAC clients have access to CSAs. This uses their food-sourcing dollars to stimulate the local economy. 

They recently expanded operations into Faribault, where a food shelf had closed abruptly last year. 20+ partners asked the CAC to step in as coordinator for food access efforts. They have distributed 12-15,000 boxes of food, plus fresh produce, in 100+ distribution events to nine neighborhoods. They are building a new resource center and food shelf there. Local resources stay local for each community -- but there are opportunities to tie together shared needs to build system solutions.

The Community Advocacy Council provides families' input. As the staff has grown from 13 to 28, the Council members have had input into every one of those new hires. Scott commented, “It’s easier to ask for help from someone you've helped hire to help you.” The staff is about 40% people of color, reflecting the community they serve. 

Hillcrest Village on the former Hillcrest Motel site is a community-led, sustainable, accessible housing project on the north side of Northfield that’s been featured in several recent articles. There will be no fossil fuels on the site and any energy use will be offset by the solar array. They are in the final stretch of fundraising and hope to start demolition by July 1. They have $500,000 left to raise, and $250,000 will be matched to meet that goal. More info at 

The entire April 29 meeting can be viewed here.


     Emmett Lefkowitz
May 13 — Emmett Lefkowitz, Taipei: Home to the Second Tallest Building in the World (from 2010 to 2012, that is), and My Second Home. Emmett, a sophomore Political Science and Chinese double major at Carleton College, will talk about his experiences abroad in Taiwan in the 2018 - 2019 exchange year. Hosted by Vicki Dilley.
     Sandy Malecha
May 20 — Sandy Malecha, HCI Gathering for Good. HCI is eager to share information with the community about its work with children, youth and families during the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, HCI is excited to share that StriveTogether has committed a $70,000 gift that must be matched dollar-for-dollar by local donors in 2021 — we hope to inspire local support to meet StriveTogether's match challenge. Hosted by Erin Bailey.

Vicki's Vision

   Vicki Dilley, President

Dear Rotary Friends,

Dear Fellow Rotarians,

I hope you got to hear Scott Wopata speak last week at Rotary. Aren’t we fortunate to have him lead our Community Action Center?!  Oh, MY!

An area of interest that I have had for a while, but never really studied, is the cultural differences between independence vs. interdependence. The Me vs. We way of thinking.  

I think Rotary is a We kind of thinking group, an entity that elevates the way we live interdependently. Our 4 Way Test emphasizes that ... All parts of it:  

  • 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?   

According to an article online from Social Psych online, January 2016, here in the USA we live in a culture that leans more towards seeing ourselves as independent selves. While other cultures from East Asian cultures like China, Japan, and Korea tend to think of themselves as interdependence selves.  These are based on ‘an average difference, but it can relate to cultural differences in what’s valued most’.  

Having grown up in Wyoming and Montana, you might guess which cultural difference was highly valued there.  When I am feeling particularly vulnerable, I find myself leaning sharply into that independent nature I learned so well. But, thank goodness I also lived long enough in Tuvalu, where we served as Peace Corps Volunteers, and I saw firsthand how interdependence was lived out and how valuable that was for everyone.   

The society took care of one another, no one went hungry, food was fairly evenly distributed around the community. If someone was widowed and left vulnerable, the neighbors and extended family cared for them. The individuation of a person was downplayed. If we gave our adopted family member a new garment, it took them a long time to actually wear it, not wanting to stand out as having more than someone else.  They lived in a mindset of abundance. I think this is partly because they did not see just what they owned but what the entire island was together… more than enough. This is explained somewhat in the article I referenced. 

Culture and Visual Perception. “Vision is one of those things that seems so universal. When you look into the world, you’d probably guess that you’re seeing what I see. Time and again, however, psychologists find that what we see can be biased by our own motivations and beliefs. Indeed, plenty of research has shown that people from different cultures can perceive the same visual information in reliably distinct ways”

The article also asks, “do we have the power to look at the world in both of these ways?”  

“The real point of all of this is to say that differences between cultures reflect the default mindset that a given culture tends to adopt. It doesn’t mean, however, that there are strict cultural divides. We can all be nudged to think in slightly different ways, and it can end up coloring our perception of the world in front of us.

Even further, this research highlights the relationship between how we view ourselves (as independent or interdependent) and the way we visually perceive the world. By focusing on our interconnections with other people, we start to pay more attention to context, environment, and the “bigger picture.”

Once again, aren’t we fortunate to belong to Rotary and our local club that is able to see the world from different points of view ... allowing us to flourish as individuals but also to see the bigger picture and see where we need to go next, as a ‘cultural group’?  

I look forward to seeing you tomorrow or one day soon! 


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.