March is Literacy Month.  I know that many clubs in District 5400 participate in the Dictionary Project, but just how many clubs and how many third graders are uncertain.  At the mid-winter conferences in January, I distributed a sheet to gather names of dictionary contact persons in each club so that we can begin to gather and assess that level of participation.  Rotarian Minnie Benton (Eagle-Garden City) is chairperson of the district’s Literacy Committee.  Minnie’s email is  Let Minnie know who in your club she should talk to about dictionaries, if you did not provide a name to me in January.
March is also Madness Month – and I’m not talking college basketball!  It’s Rotary awards season.  I’ve only received two applications for the Presidential Citation so far.  Deadline is March 31.  Clubs are also accumulating data for use in application for the district’s Distinguished Rotary Club awards for integrity, membership, club service, public image, leadership development, and Rotary Foundation.  The premier award is the Humanity in Motion Award.  A club who qualifies for the Rotary Foundation award, who has positive membership growth since July 1, and who applies in all other categories, will be a contender for this award, which comes with $1000 to the winning club. Deadline for district awards is April 15.  Applications for both are available at under District Docs & Downloads/Awards.
Qualifying for the Rotary Foundation award and increased membership might be considered the high hurdles on the track to Humanity in Motion.  Clubs do not apply for the Foundation award: it is determined from Rotary Foundation reports and records.  Clubs cannot apply for the membership award unless they have shown positive growth in membership.  In both cases this can come down to getting money sent in to The Rotary Foundation that is currently sitting in the club account and getting new members entered into the Rotary International data base.  The four hurdles are Rotary Foundation Annual Fund giving, Rotary Foundation PolioPlus giving, Rotary Foundation Endowment Fund commitments and membership growth.  As of March 13, only 1 club in the district has cleared all four hurdles:  Rigby.  Clubs who have cleared three hurdles so far are:  Ashton, Blue Lakes-Twin Falls, Boise Centennial, Eagle-Garden City, Gooding, and Hailey.  Nine more clubs are halfway there!  The commitment form for Endowment Fund commitments is titled “Your Rotary Legacy” and it is located on the district website under District Docs and Downloads/Rotary Foundation.
As a district, we are well on our way to Rotary Foundation success in 2013-14.  Total contributions to the Annual Fund of The Rotary Foundation exceed $121,000 ($69 per capita), at 72% of goal.  Forty-one of 43 clubs have contributed and 8 of those have achieved 100% of goal.  We are at 102% of our PolioPlus goal, at $41,648 ($23 per capita). Thirty clubs has supported the eradication effort with 10 of those having met goal.
Membership continues to be a hard-fought battle for us.  While we are up 30 net new members since July 1, to 1843, we have lost 35 Rotarians.  Some things can’t be avoided -- death, relocation, job change -- but I personally feel the weariness of two steps forward, one step back.  Let’s all have a conversation in our clubs – with all our members – about retention.  And let’s be sure to forward the names of relocating Rotarians to Rotary International so it can notify the new district or community of a former Rotarian’s arrival there.
Be safe and be caring, Rotarians, and don’t forget to “Engage Rotary, Change Lives” every day.