|District 6900 Governor||Al Lipphardt|
|Rotary President||Carlo Ravizza|
|Theme||Rotary 2000: Act with Consistency, Credibility, Continuity|
|Convention Location||Buenos Aires, Argentina|
The condition of Rotary International District 6900 is one of excellence. The activities of our district are as varied and diverse as is our membership and bring great credit upon our clubs, our district, and Rotary International.
At the International Assembly prior to assuming my responsibilities as District Governor, Rotary International President Carol Ravizza identified a new theme logo and direction for the coming year. President Carlo instituted no new programs. The theme for 1999-2000 is “Rotary 2000 - Act with Consistency, Credibility, Continuity.” It is a theme about attitude. Our attitude towards our clubs and our membership. It is a theme about leadership. This is a year of change. Change from the 20th century to the 21st century. Arguably, it is the beginning of the new millennium. And so, we realize that this is not the Rotary of our fathers or grandfathers. Nor is this the society of recent times. Society has changed and so our association must change if it is to be viable in the next century. Five years ago in this same history then Governor Robert Jinright said, “The largest impediment that this Governor sees to moving on from a really good Rotary District to a great one is the almost fearful reluctance to change.” The President of Rotary International has embraced change and has removed the fear to change. We must remove from our Rotary vocabulary, and from our everyday vocabulary the phrase, “But we have always done it that way.”
In 1993-1994 I served as President of the Rotary Club of Stone Mountain. The Rotary International Theme of President Bob Barth was “Believe in What You Do, Do What You Believe In.” I could not have picked a more appropriate theme for my personality and my goals for the club. This year’s theme of Rotary 2000, again, could not have been better chosen if I had been able to pick it myself. For I am convinced that in order for us to grow as an organization, district, and clubs we must get back to the basics of Rotary and the principles upon which it was founded. So, I enthusiastically embraced this new theme and the ideas of change.
As First Lady Carol and I visited clubs and shared the message of attitude, of leadership by example, of unification of clubs within our district we saw the same enthusiasm for the theme as we had. The district staff was expanded to include at least one member from each club. A synergy has developed that continues to grow. The District Leadership Plan providing for Assistant Governors has aided in the creation of club groupings in a more formal manner. Assistant Governor Stewart Carlin is creating the Cobb Rotary Council of Cobb County clubs. Assistant Governor Doc Jaleel is researching interest for a Southwest Atlanta Council. Clubs in south Georgia under the leadership of Assistant Governors Dale Dover and Russ Childers are also looking at councils. There are already councils in DeKalb County and North Fulton. The unification of clubs in common projects and common areas of interest will bring greater strength to those clubs. However, we must always be vigilant to see there is no loss in the autonomy of each club.
While an introspective analysis of the clubs is of the highest priority the district continues to provide service to our local and world communities. A project began under the leadership of Governor Ann Henderson, Clubs Helping Clubs continues to gather momentum. One local, district endorsed, project “Warm Springs Rehabilitation Center” Tennis Facility is recognized worldwide. An effort to publish our accomplishments is being submitted to “The Rotarian” because of the Polio Plus implications. In the area of the Rotary Foundation we are seeking to create an awareness of programs and a minimum contribution of $100 from each Rotarian in the district. Achievement of this goal will result in the contribution of almost $500,000 to the Annual Giving Fund of the Rotary Foundation. Several times I have congratulated the district on having the money. However, today the majority of it remains in the pockets of our members.
Under the leadership of District Rotary Foundation Chair, PDG Bill Mulkey the District Foundation meeting, held at the Peachtree Conference Center in Peachtree City, was a huge success. At this meeting the Centurian program was introduced. A Centurian is a Paul Harris Fellow who has pledged to contribute a minimum of $100 per year to the Annual Giving Fund of the Rotary Foundation. The goal of our Benefactor Program is to have 400 new Rotary Foundation Benefactors. From our SHARE funds for 1999-2000 of over $175,000, this Rotary year we have two Ambassadorial Scholars, one long term Cultural Scholar, two short term Cultural Scholars, one Grant for University Teacher, two Discovery Grants, one Group Study Exchange Team from and to Iceland, and many, many Matching Grants projects. The Group Study Exchange Chair is Scott Cuthbert of the Rotary Club of Roswell East and the Team Leader is Mike Elliott of the Rotary Club of Muscogee. To date this year we have expended $10,000 each to disasters in Turkey, Venezuela and North Carolina also from our SHARE funds. The tragic tornadoes in South Georgia have resulted in a Rotary International Disaster Notification published by President Carlo Ravizza.
As of December 31, 1999 Rotary District 6900 is ranked number 37 in the world for 1999 contributions to the Rotary Foundation. This ranking is based on 528 districts around the world. Also, as of December 31, 1999 Rotary District 6900 is ranked number 1 in Zone 34 for these same contributions. This ranking is based on the 14 districts in our Zone. Clubs within our district contributed over $30,000 in the tornado relief effort. The district continues with tremendous growth in the area of Interact Clubs, Rotoract Clubs and the RYLA program. The district continues to impact our communities and our world through magnificent programs in literacy, aids prevention, character counts, all of which are directed primarily at youth, the omnipresent future.
What is absolutely the most important aspect of this Rotary year is the emphasis on membership growth and membership retention. Two new clubs have been chartered this Rotary year to date. The Rotary Club of Harris County, sponsored by the Rotary Club of LaGrange was chartered on October 22, 1999 with 21 members and the Rotary Club of North Fulton, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Alpharetta, was chartered on January 19, 2000 with 45 members. The goal of all clubs is to achieve the highest membership total over the last five years. Achievement of these goals will result in a net membership of over 5200 at the conclusion of this Rotary year.
The District Conference for 2000 will be the 43rd annual held at Jekyll Island, Georgia. The Rotary International President’s Representative is PDG Billy Foster of District 6200 and a member of the Rotary Club of Houma, Louisiana. The theme for this year’s conference is “To Jekyll and Beyond.” Presented at the conference will be Governor Elect Jim Bumaw of the Rotary Club of Atlanta, District Governor Nominee Robert Hall of the Rotary Club of Dunwoody, and District Governor Nominee Designate Tom Kent, Jr. of the Rotary Club of West DeKalb. The Conference Chair Carol Johnson of the Rotary Club of Fayetteville is endeavoring to create an atmosphere of Rotary Fun and Fellowship unequaled in the history of our district. The goal for conference registration is 2000 with each club being represented. Additional goals for the clubs are the achievement of a Presidential Citation and a Governor’s Citation. Criteria for both the Presidential Citation and the Governor’s Citation are found in the district directory, a most comprehensive book published by District 6900 Club Service Chair, George Lawrence of the Rotary Club of Fayetteville. A new member orientation manual was created and distributed for each club by George Lawrence. The district web page obtained a registered domain to facilitate future use. Under development, Brian Jobmann of the Rotary Club of Stone Mountain is the webmaster, the site has continued to improve making available club and district information including the Governor’s newsletter.
If there was to be a legacy for this Rotary year it would be that each member took to heart the prayer said for them and that was, “That you continue to be blessed with the many gifts you have, that you be filled to capacity with the spirit of giving, of involvement, of commitment, and that you receive the grace to live the life for which you were created, and that is to be the best you can be.”