Climate Change Statement

November 12, 2018

Northfield Rotary Club recognizes that climate change is real, it is us and it is urgent. We are committed to initiating a grassroots response to climate change to accelerate the action required to meet this monumental challenge. Our Rotary Climate Action Team recently adopted the Climate Change Statement below and invites other Rotary clubs around the world to do the same.

Climate Statement Northfield Rotary Club

Thanksgiving Turkey Trot is Community’s Unofficial Homecoming

October 24, 2017

The Northfield Rotary Turkey Trot has become Northfield’s unofficial homecoming event for the 1000-plus runners and walkers who participate each year.

Now in its 17th year, the 5K run/walk is a Thanksgiving tradition for many Northfield households, a “must-do” for those who want to connect with old friends and neighbors and be reminded that Northfield is always home.

Rob Bierman, chair of Rotary’s Turkey Trot Committee, said this event has become one of the community’s signature events.

“The Turkey Trot gives Northfielders an opportunity to touch base with one another and reflect on their shared experience here in Northfield,” said Bierman. “You’ll see lots of hugs and hear a lot of catching up before and during the run/walk. There is always a lot of positive energy here.”

He said it also gives people an opportunity to express their gratitude by running or walking for a good cause.  Funds raised at the Turkey Trot will support Rotary’s ongoing work with its youth exchange program and polio eradication. Northfield is known as a “rock star” in Rotary youth exchange circles. Northfield regularly sends 10 to 15 students abroad each year and this year is hosting five foreign students.

On the polio front, Rotary International and its partners have made remarkable progress toward a polio-free world. Over the last 30 years, polio cases around the globe have been reduced by 99 percent. Only three countries remain polio endemic — Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria — so the campaign continues.

The Turkey Trot will begin at the Carleton College Weitz Center (north entrance) at 9 a.m. Same-day registration opens at 8 a.m. The cost is $15 per participant if you register by Thursday, Nov. 9, or $20 if you register after that. Runners and walkers are encouraged to bring their dogs to the event. Canines will be recognized with a bandana complements of Countryside Animal Hospital and Kennels, one of the Turkey Trot’s major sponsors.

For those who will not be in town the day of the event, there is a “free-range” option. You can show your solidarity with Rotary and its goals by staging your own 5K with family and friends on Thanksgiving Day and upload a photo or video of your experience. Registration for the “free-range” run is also November 9.

The Turkey Trot is also dedicated to collecting food for the Northfield Food Shelf. Runners and walkers are invited to bring a food donation to the Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning.

For registration or more information, go to: If you have other questions, please call Rob Bierman at 612-226-9237.

Turkey Trot Registration is Open

October 12, 2017

Click here to read more about this year’s Turkey Trot and to register.

Click here to register directly.

Chris Weber is Rotary’s literacy champion

April 25, 2017

Northfield Rotary is well known for its support of Polio Plus, an international campaign to eradicate polio. Closer to home, people associate it with youth exchange and bike trails.

But thanks to volunteers like Chris Weber, literacy is another area where Rotary is making a difference.

Chris has been chairing Rotary’s Literacy Committee for five years. During his tenure, Rotary has partnered with the local Early Childhood Initiative Coalition (ECIC) and other community organizations to make gently used books more accessible to families across the community. It has also contributed monetarily to the recent Northfield Public Library expansion and the new bookmobile, coming soon to neighborhoods near you. In 2016, Northfield Rotary received a district literacy award for its work here at home as well as its support of international literacy work, such as Books for Africa.

Chris comes by his literacy passion both from personal experience and from his Rotary connections. He and his wife, Deanne, read to their kids from infancy on, and saw the difference it made in their children’s social and academic development. Then, at a Rotary International convention he was seated next to the point person for Rotary’s literacy efforts. After listening to him for an hour, Chris was all in.

Rotary joined with ECIC, Healthy Community Initiative and Early Childhood Family Education to create a system for collecting gently used books and then distributing them at key community locations. It has also contributed to Northfield Promise’s reading team. Chris invites anyone with used children’s books to drop them off inside the north door to Northfield Community Resource Center.

Michelle Lasswell, president of Northfield Rotary Club, said literacy is one of Rotary International’s six areas of focus.

“Basic education and literacy are essential for reducing poverty, improving health, encouraging community and economic development, and promoting peace,” she said. “This is the main reason why Rotary International is dedicated to promoting literacy.”

Chris’s leadership has been a difference-maker, she said.

“Chris took the initiative to act on his passion, and since it began he has helped make this a sustainable program that puts books into the hands of children who might not otherwise have access to these books,” she said. “He has expanded it to include Spanish speaking books. His leadership and commitment have truly helped this program grow and has made a difference for children here in Northfield.”

Chris points out that Rotary’s literacy efforts are possible because of the active support from his committee and other Rotary volunteers.

“We couldn’t do any of this without the help of other Rotarians, especially those on our committee,” he said.

Chris and the Rotary Literacy Committee would like to make adult literacy the next area of focus. Rice County’s adult literacy rate is lower than the state average, he said. Closing that gap would enable more adults to fully participate in community life and to better navigate the business of daily living.

— 30 —

Caption: Chris Weber, chair of Northfield Rotary’s Literacy Committee.

Rotary raises funds for international projects

March 27, 2017

Northfield Rotary helped build a school in Thailand by funding a brick-making machine

Northfield Rotary Club raised more than $10,500 for international service projects at its recent Rotary Foundation Centennial dinner.

“This is a remarkable amount, above and beyond our club members’ normal contributions,” said Michelle Lasswell, president of Northfield Rotary. “This is another example of our members’ strong commitment to building goodwill around the globe.”

The dinner was held February 16. Sarah Swan McDonald, a Social Studies teacher at Northfield High School, Northfield’s Teacher of the Year and a former youth exchange student, talked to the 80 people present about philanthropy. Members of the club’s International Service Projects committee reviewed past projects underwritten in part by the club.

Rotary Foundation is the $1 billion charitable arm of Rotary International. Its mission is to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty. The foundation taps into a global network of Rotarians who invest their time, money and expertise to address the challenges of poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition with sustainable solutions that have a lasting impact.

Northfield Rotary is currently developing a major clean water project for some 50 villages that surround Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. Past projects funded, in part, by Northfield Rotary include Books for Africa,  a generator project  for Yendube Children’s Hospital in Togo, solar panels for a rural medical clinic in Korbongou, Togo, school supplies and books in partnership with the Cilongu Foundation for a school in Democratic Republic of Congo, and bunk beds for a residential school in Tanzania.

Northfield Rotary Club was formed in 1925 and is one of 64 clubs in southeastern and east central Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin. With 130 active members, it supports youth exchange, polio eradication, literacy, bike trails and a variety of international projects designed to improve health and education around the globe.