Category Archives: 7. More

Celebrating 100 Years: A Look Back on Pearl Harbor

Rotary Club of Madison-Centennial LogoAs we celebrate our 100th anniversary, our History Sub-Committee is taking a look back in our club’s rich history and is sharing highlights from the past century.  This week’s message is shared by committee member Jerry Thain:

December 7, 2012, marks the 71st anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II. The first Club newsletter following the attack carried this:

We’re All In Service Now
   In opening the meeting of the Rotary Club last Thursday President Leon Smith said, “Since we met a week ago war has been declared as you all know, with Japan, and this morning with Italy and Germany.  I have been in correspondence with the President of a Rotary Club in the British Isles and he has declared that ‘one of the best ways to maintain morale is to not disturb the routine of habits of the people.’  If each one of us will each day do the best we know how in our personal, business and social activities to aid in the defense of our country it will help materially to maintain the morale.”

The following week’s newsletter reported an address to the Club by George S. Whyte of Kenosha, a “past District Governor and prominent manufacturer who had been scheduled to speak on ‘Defense’ but in wake of war being declared spoke instead on:

Victory-America’s Responsibility
When President Smith sounded the gavel, calling the meeting to order, a sextette standing in the doorway at the end of the room sang “Silent Night” and then Ray Dvorak led all in singing “Loch Lomond” in honor of the speaker, who was born in Scotland, and then called on George to sing the second and third verses, which he did in real Scotch dialect. Annie Laurie was then sung as further compliment to George.
It is regretted that George’s address cannot be printed in full. He spoke of the armistice signed on November 11, 1918, to end all wars; the Treaty of Versailles; League of Nations; and the disarmament program, which the democracies adhered to while Germany was re-arming for the present war. It was not until June 1940 that the first of the huge appropriation bills for rearmament was passed by Congress but the actual orders did not begin flowing to industry until near the end of 1940. “It was last December,” he said, “that Mr. Knudsen informed industry of the terrible urgency, and industry responded with sharp increases in every phase of defense production. On May 27, 1941, President Roosevelt declared an unlimited emergency.
“Industry has been accused of fostering the war spirit. This is positively untrue.  Industry abhors war and always opposed it. Manufacturers know the price of it in blood, sweat and tears. Thousands of today’s manufacturers were in the last war and know the cost in terms of depression—resulting in extended unemployment.  War-time profits—when they are made—are lost many times over in the period of economic maladjustment which always follows a big war.”

Also in the same newsletter was an item entitled “We Need Rotary Now” which took note of the Club in the days of World War I as well as in the new conflict.

Celebrating 100 Years: A Look Back in our Club’s History – George Wallace Visits Club in 1964

Rotary Club of Madison-Centennial LogoAs part of our celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Rotary Club of Madison, Jerry Thain and Rich Leffler are publishing original documents from the Club’s archives and other sources. We hope that these documents will recall for you the rich history of the Club and the times during this momentous century.

This week, Jerry Thain provides the following history piece:

The Rotary Club of Madison has had many famous people speak to it over the years. Possibly the most surprising name among the list of speakers is that of Alabama Governor George Wallace, whose February 1964 talk was an attack on the pending Civil Rights Bill that was enacted by Congress later that year. Since it was almost universally thought that some version of the civil rights bill that had been strongly promoted by President Lyndon Johnson was certain to be passed, political observers believed that Wallace’s purpose in speaking against it around the nation was not so much to block enactment of the bill as to start promoting himself as a future candidate for President. That campaign, of course, was ended when he was seriously wounded by a would-be assassain’s bullet in 1968.

I trust it goes without saying that this post is in no way an endorsement of the arguments by Wallace but simply the citing of a notable moment in our Club’s history. The Wisconsin State Journal reported picketing took place outside the meeting and there was a report of a supposed assassination plot as well.  As most know, Wallace later recanted many of his earlier views on civil rights and ran for Governor on a different platform.

Celebrating 100 Years: A Look Back in Our Club’s History – National Attention in 1952

Rotary Club of Madison-Centennial LogoAs part of our celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Rotary Club of Madison, Jerry Thain and Rich Leffler will be publishing original documents from the Club’s archives and other sources. We hope that these documents will recall for you the rich history of the Club and the times during this momentous century.

This week, Rich Leffler provides the following history piece:

The Rotary Club of Madison has, from its early days, sought members from a cross-section of the community, including faculty members at the University and leaders in the Wisconsin Historical Society. The Club took great pride in 1952 when Newsweek and Time, the two great newsweeklies, printed stories about two Madison Rotarians, Professor Mac McCarty and Society Director Cliff Lord. Mac was one of the leading figures in the University’s effort to create a state broadcasting network and a television station. He served as Club president in 1975–76. Cliff Lord had been Director of the Society for six years in 1952. The Society is one of the greatest libraries in the world for the study of American History (I should know: my life’s work has depended on the Society’s great research collection).

Continuing in this tradition of broad-based membership, today the Club has as members Mike Crane of Wisconsin Public Radio, who joined on October 3, and Society Director Ellsworth Brown, a member since 2005, in addition to new-member Diane Nixa, co-director of the Wisconsin Historical Foundation. (Ron Bornstein, director of Wisconsin Public Television, was president of the Club in 1992–93; Malcolm Brett, director of Broadcasting at UW-Extension and General Manager of WHA-TV, was a longtime member; Dick Erney and Nick Muller were also members when they were directors of the Society.) Ellsworth, by the way, has corrected one of the few mistakes Cliff Lord made: he has restored the Reading Room to its original state, down to the reading lamps, as it was before the “modernization” done in the mid-1950s. The Reading Room is now an architectural masterpiece. You should take a look.

The October 25, 1952, issue of The Rotary News contained the following report by secretary Brud Hunter.

Celebrating 100 Years: A Look Back in Our History Continued

Rotary Club of Madison-Centennial Logo


The October 3, 1939, Rotary News summarized remarks made to the Club by Henry Noll, a native of Germany who had been a Madison newspaperman for 36 years, about getting back to the United States after being in Germany in the summer of 1939 and in Vienna when World War II began. He also noted his personal assessment of the political climate in Germany just prior to the war. The Rotary News caption “Interesting Experience” seems quite the understatement.
–submitted by Jerry Thain

Celebrating 100 Years: A Look Back in Our History

Rotary Club of Madison-Centennial Logo

As part of our celebration to mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Rotary Club of Madison, Jerry Thain and Rich Leffler are today beginning a series in which we will publish original documents from the Club’s archives. We hope that these documents will recall for you the rich history of the Club and the times during this momentous century.

Here is our first posting for the series:

Paul F. Hunter, Sr.

On September 1, 1939, the German Army and Air Force attacked Poland. After diplomatic efforts failed to end the invasion, on September 3, Great Britain and France declared war on Germany. For the second time in a generation, the lights were going out all over Europe. The essay, almost certainly written by Paul F. Hunter, Sr., the longtime Club secretary and the editor of The Rotary News, appeared in the News issue of September 12, 1939 (volume XXIV, no. 18, p. 3).
The essay is beautifully, lyrically written and also suggests the broad  international connections our Club had at the time. It presciently fears  “what may be the worst war in the history of the world.” Even that  understated the horrors that were to come. It also speaks of a halcyon America,  which was perhaps a rose-colored vision of the reality of 1939. But it may have  been true of Madison, Wisconsin. Even then, in the last days of the Depression,  Madison was a special place.

–submitted by Rich Leffler

Philanthropy Committee Completes First Year of Work

–submitted by Renee Moe, Philanthropy  Committee Chair 

“What’s the difference between the Rotary Club of Madison Foundation and the Rotary International Foundation?”
“Didn’t I already make my gift to Rotary this year?”
“I thought the annual fund drive supported scholarships.”
“What’s the expectation for giving? I already pay for my dues and lunches.”
“There seems to be an awful lot of asks coming from the podium – how much is too much?”

The Philanthropy Committee with input and approval of the Board and Trustees announced our Club’s four giving priorities at the July 25 lunch meeting which are, in priority order:
1) Annual Fund Drive;
2) Rotary International Foundation;
3) Birthday Gift;
4) Synergy Scholarship Fund

Click here for more information on these priorities; the timing of each; and recommended giving to each.

All fundraising chairs will reference these priorities at the podium throughout the year to provide focus and clarity when members make their personal decision regarding what to support throughout the Rotary year.

   The questions above led the 2011-16 Strategic Planning Committee to think about our Club’s Philanthropy. Over the years, many creative ideas and forward-thinking Rotarians developed new and innovative reasons and methods for giving.

By 2011, there were no fewer than two dozen ways to give and projects/areas to give to!

The multitude of options created a need to “clean up” and re-focus our Foundation’s philanthropic initiatives for increased member understanding. Membership comments seemed to boil down to this:

“I want to do the right thing. I want the right thing to be reasonable and advance our Club’s priorities. Help me understand what that right thing is, because as giving programs are communicated and executed now, it’s confusing to know what my expectations for giving actually are.”

   Further, we determined it was very difficult for new members to understand that giving is a cornerstone of member engagement and participation. While the expectation is included in orientation, the various appeals and programs were difficult to understand as they were presented throughout the Rotary year. We did not want this to become a disincentive for member retention and a quality member experience.

“It took me three years to figure out the giving programs. I thought I made my gift when I joined and made my first dues payment. Then, the annual fund drive came up. I assumed I had already given and was surprised when I got a follow-up call asking me to give.” 

“It took me a while to figure out what money went where. I really liked the Ethics Symposium and scholarship programs, and didn’t realize dollars for each came from different sources within the club.”

   So, the Club’s strategic plan called for the creation of a Philanthropy Committee. It was to be composed of Chairs of all the major fundraising groups, as well as club leadership:

  • Madison Rotary Foundation President and VP
  • Rotary Club of Madison President and VP
  • Fund Drive Committee Chair
  • Madison Rotary Foundation Major Gifts Committee Chair
  • Rotary international Committee Chair

Its charge is to:

Provide a venue for the planning and execution of an overarching philanthropy strategy for the Rotary Club of Madison and Madison Rotary Foundation, inclusive of other Rotary world interests such as Rotary International Foundation and Rotaract. The Committee works in concert with the committees and boards represented on the committee, as well as with other club members and staff working on Tri-Quest, Centennial (including Family Fun Fair), Scholarships, and other fundraising activities such as birthday contributions, fines, memorials and new ideas.

The committee’s duties include:

  1. Serving as a clearing house and evaluation mechanism for ideas
  2. Creating opportunities for communication and planning
  3. Articulating a philosophy, strategy and plan for philanthropy, including an annual calendar and member expectations

Members of the inaugural committee included Renee Moe, Ellsworth Brown, Michelle McGrath, Paul Riehemann, Wes SparkmanFran Taylor, and Tripp Widder. The committee worked very hard to keep the strategic objectives and members’ best interest at the forefront of all decision making. Care was also taken to update the Board and Trustees and get their input throughout the year, as well as to keep membership informed of committee progress from the podium. In the 2011-2012 year, the committee met six times to advance their work plan, engaged both Boards four times; and made membership update announcements six times.

The Committee was pleased to accomplish all objectives set out for the year. Specifically,

  1. Evaluating and documenting current giving programs
  2. Developing a system of criteria and an evaluation process for new fundraising proposals
  3. Recommending priorities for member giving, including a donor giving profile to clarify priorities for an improved member experience

A recap of these results and the new donor summary was shared with the membership at the July 25 Rotary lunch. Members not in attendance received their summary via mail. So far, all responses have been positive.

“The Giving Profile is excellent.  Well done!  This is exactly what we need.”

“Congratulations on producing the giving summary. The comments at my table were extremely positive. People really seemed to “get it” and appreciate the effort that went into this thoughtful tool.”

It should be noted that all previously exiting projects/areas remain available to be funded by member gifts.

The Philanthropy Committee will continue to meet quarterly and has developed its 2012-13 work plan. Ellsworth Brown has agreed to step into the Vice Chair role and will take over as Chair in 2013-14 for a smooth leadership transition.
Committee membership now includes: Renee Moe, Ellsworth Brown, Richard Bliss, Cathy Durham, Michelle McGrath, Ruth Shelly, Wes Sparkman.
It is our plan that the membership, orientation and other key committees work in concert to consistently communicate our Club’s overall expectations of membership (dues/lunches, attendance, participation in leadership and fellowship committees, philanthropy), including our four giving priorities (annual fund drive, RIF, birthday, Synergy).
Ultimately we hope that you, our members, have a better understanding of the various fundraising “asks,” know more about where your donations are being put to work, and have more clarity around overall giving expectations for better, personal decision making.

   The Committee welcomes your feedback and will use it to improve upon this first year of work. Thank you for your generosity and Service Above Self!