Fellow Rotarians,

Welcome to November! Harvest is over for most and we look forward to the holiday season. It is The Rotary Foundation month. Please promote The Rotary Foundation (TRF) this month in your clubs. TRF supports so many great projects year-round across the globe and in our own communities. Remember that about half of your donations to the Annual Fund of TRF are returned to District 5610 to be used for Global Grants at our discretion and to be returned to clubs for their own local or international projects. Please consider becoming a Paul Harris Fellow and if you are, consider joining the Paul Harris Society. Paul Harris Fellows are those that have donated $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation and Society members are those that pledge to donate $1,000 per year. Donations can be made nearly painlessly online via your credit card by signing up through your My Rotary account. If you don’t have an account, perhaps someone in your club can help you, or contact District Administrator, Nicole Rawden or myself and we will help you. Nicole sent an email on November with great reminders and this link https://clubrunner.blob.core.windows.net/00000060087/en-us/files/homepage/foundation-52-weekly-messages/2020-TRF-52-Week-Message.pdf  that has 52 weekly Foundation messages for you to promote TRF all year long.
About a week ago, a survey went out to club presidents and presidents elect to collect their opinions about their PETS experience last spring and what would they would like to see covered at PETS next spring (April 27-29, 2023). The due date for return is November 15th . It is very important for DGE Rich Burns to know what is important for you to know. Of most importance, is that clubs elect their president elects as soon as possible. This helps create a smooth transition of leadership in your club and allows planning between current and future leaders to work on shared goals for their club. It also help us in communication with PE’s to promote PETS.
The final question in the survey mentioned above is about a program to help clubs grow membership.
Can you IMAGINE your club RETAINING more members and GROWING your membership by 10%?
Can you IMAGINE having a club with VISION that is VIBRANT and dedicated to SERVICE in your community and around the world?
We have facilitators in our District that would be happy to come to your club and work with you to brainstorm and build a roadmap to make these things happen. It will require a commitment from your club in time and effort to accomplish this. Probably a 2 hour or more session with perhaps a follow up, but it will be well worth your effort. Almost every club brought up to me in my club visits that membership is a challenge and I am following through with my pledge with a program to help clubs with that.

Yours in Rotary,

John Schneider
DG 5610

The Rotary Foundation transforms your gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world.

Since it was founded more than 100 years ago, the Foundation has spent more than $4 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects.

With your help, we can make lives better in your community and around the world.

Our mission

The Rotary Foundation helps Rotary members to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace by improving health, providing quality education, improving the environment, and alleviating poverty.

What impact can one donation have?

  • For as little as 60 cents, a child can be protected from polio.
  • $50 can provide clean water to help fight waterborne illness.
  • $500 can launch an antibullying campaign and create a safe environment for children.

Rotary started with the vision of one man — Paul Harris. The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on 23 February 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships.

Over time, Rotary’s reach and vision gradually extended to humanitarian service. Members have a long track record of addressing challenges in their communities and around the world.

"Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves." 

Rotary founder

Our ongoing commitment

That commitment endures today through an organization that remains truly international. Only 16 years after being founded, Rotary had clubs on six continents. Our members now span the globe, working to solve some of our world’s most challenging problems.

We’re not afraid to dream big and set bold goals. We began our fight against polio in 1979 with a project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines. Today, polio remains endemic in only two countries — down from 125 in 1988.

A case of polio paralysis has been reported in an adult in a suburban county of New York. This is more evidence that polio is only a plane ride away and that clusters of people who are unvaccinated are at risk of dying or having a life of paralysis if children or adults do not get the CDC recommended vaccinations. There is sewage testing proof that the vaccine derived polio virus is still circulating in Orange and Rockland counties in NY and polio immunization rates there are only 60 %. These are also counties close to NY City so further cases are very likely. Covid is also a factor as children's immunizations have lagged across the US. But what has really happened is there is a large number of people across the entire US who refuse immunizations for religious reasons and other non-scientific reasons. It is now apparent that where there are groups of non-immunized adults and children, polio is a real possibility. This is ANYWHERE in the US, including SD, MN, IA and NB. The United Kingdom has not had a paralysis case but sewage tests in London show they have a similar problem as does Israel. The take home message is to educate everyone you know that polio is not conquered even in the US and anti-vaxxers are playing with fire. Their result may be death or life long paralysis in a loved one.

Worldwide the drive to eliminate polio is steady but not great. The wild virus exists in only Afghanistan and Pakistan, but Pakistan's numbers are up to 7 as opposed to 4 for the entire year in 2021. There are a number of countries in Africa where circulating, vaccine-caused polio is  a major problem. This includes  Nigeria, Yeman and D R Congo. The new type 2 vaccine that has been developed should help, but many African countries are at war or having problems administering vaccines. I am still optimistic that polio can be eliminated from the world but it is extremely tough. Please continue to support Polio Plus and see that Rotary gets the promised Gates Foundation match of $2 for each $1 we donate to Polio Plus. OUR DISTRICT HAS STEPPED UP FOR POLIO PLUS IN SUCH A WONDERFUL WAY. Thanks to all of you. If you could summarize this for your fellow members and the need to give, I would appreciate it so much.

1. Rotary was the first to promise a polio free world. 
2. We have given $2.2 billion to never have another polio victim. 
3. Our effort has kept 2 million children from gruesome, terrible deaths. 
4. Rotarians have kept over 20 million people from a life of paralysis.
5. Yet polio is still only a plane ride away. 
6. Rotarians will not stop until this scourge of humanity is stamped out forever.
7. Rotary will keep its' promise.

Willis Sutliff

Polio Plus Chair District 5610

Congratulations to Steve Sikorski of the Downtown Sioux Falls Rotary Club, who was awarded the 2022-23 Roger Kozak Service Above Self Award at the District 5610 celebration conference in Sioux City on the evening of September 23rd.  It was presented to him by Rotary Past International Vice President and Rotary Foundation Trustee Greg Podd.
Steve Sikorski is a dedicated Rotarian, dedicated to Rotary, his community and the world. He is very active in his local Rotary club, Sioux Falls Downtown, and has served as president. In our district he was District Governor in 2015 - 16 and has remained active since that time serving as the District Treasurer for many years. One of Steve’s special loves is working with Hope Haven and Rotary to help deliver wheelchairs around the world especially to Romania where he has worked on special projects and has built many bridges of friendship. Speaking of friendship he has participated in and encouraged others to participate in Rotary Friendship Exchanges, helping to spread Rotary ideals around the world. Steve has also worked very hard supporting his college fraternity SAE and is very active in his church. Through his involvement with Master Gardeners he is working with “Ground Works” introducing S. D. Ag in the Classroom so children can learn where their food comes from. He has built over 150 raised garden beds for schools, daycares and churches. Steve is truly a #Service Above Self” Rotarian.
Roger Kozak
Service Above Self Award
“In recognition of exceptional service to Rotarians in Rotary District 5610. This award honors the memory of Roger L. Kozak, long-time member of the Vermillion Rotary Club, who served as District Governor, 2009-10, and who distinguished himself as an exceptional servant leader.”  Click here to learn more about Roger Kozak and his Service Above Self.

Past Kozak Award Winners:

2016-17 - Larry Lyngstad, Pierre-Fort Pierre
2017-18 - George Twitero, Rapid City Rushmore
2018-19 - Pat Sutliff, Rapid City Rushmore
2019-20 - Chuck Lindemann, Marshall
2020-21 - No Award (Covid Pandemic)
2021-22 - Dr. Willis Sutliff, Rapid City Rushmore
2022-23 - Steve Sikorski, Downtown Sioux Falls
Congratulations to Mary DeVany of the Rotary Club of Sioux Falls South, who has been presented Rotarian of the Quarter by District Governor John Schneider for her dedication as a Rotarian and as an Assistant Governor to Rotary District 5610.  She has been a resource person for several clubs.

She helped establish a regular schedule of monthly events for her club during her second term as President of Sioux Falls South which included 1 social and 1 service event and 2-3 regular presentations by speakers.  Several of their speakers were from outside Sioux Falls and presented remotely, including a Rotary International Director from our Zone. This schedule has been a great recruiting tool for new members to the Sioux Falls South club.  She is a constant reminder that new members are not only good for our clubs, but good for the new member and our communities.  She had led the outreach of the Sioux Falls South club to Harrisburg, SD for potential new members. Her organization and presentation skills are key.

Mary and her family also hosted a Rotary Youth Exchange student-Awan for six months.  Mary and her husband-Rex have one son.  She is a graduate of Leadership South Dakota, member of Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, sings in the choir and is a champion for Lutheran Outdoors. She has been a member of the Lennox Band for over 25 years and plays in the USD Alumni Band.  
Mary’s professional career for over 30 years has centered around telehealth.  She is the Associate Director at gpTrac for the University of Minnesota as a TeleHealth Enthusiast and Rural Health Advocate helping people visualize how they might use telehealth.  Her educational background includes a Master of Science degree in Organizational Leadership from the University of South Dakota and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications/PR-Advertising at USD as well.
The District Governor Award for Rotarian of the Quarter is a Rotarian who has gone above and beyond and has proven to be extraordinary in her service above self.  This award honors one individual each quarter who has exhibited these attributes.  Congratulations Mary!
Nominations are being accepted for the following District 5610 position:
District 5610 Governor Nominee to serve as District Governor during the Rotary year of July 1, 2025 to June 30, 2026.
  • Qualifications are to have served as a club president for a full term (per Rotary International bylaws), be a member in good standing in a club within the district, and to have been a Rotary club member for seven years before taking office.  The successful candidate is expected to fulfill the training expectations and be willing to fulfill the duties and responsibilities of the governor.
  • Nominations or expressions of personal interest should be forwarded no later than September 30th, 2022 to:
Doug Lind, IPDG and Chairperson, dougdg2122@gmail.com and
Nicole Rawden, District Administrator, rawdenconsulting@gmail.com
  • Include your nominee's name and Rotary Club.  Should any Rotarian have any questions, please contact Doug Ling at 605-390-1502.
Please consider this an exceptional opportunity.
Doug Lind   
District Governor 2021-2022  
Rotary District 5610 / Rotary Club of Rapid City Rushmore    

Good afternoon, Club Presidents and Grant Officers,

District 5610 has funds available in its FY 2023 District Designated Fund account for clubs to use on projects. This is a "Call for Proposals" from clubs to apply for these funds for projects to benefit their communities.

A few notes:

  • Please use the attached grant application form.
  • The district requires a 1-to-1 local club financial match. For example, if you have a $2,000 project, the club should provide $1,000 and request $1,000 from the district.
  • The deadline for these grant proposals is Friday, September 30 with funds being disbursed to clubs shortly thereafter. Those clubs who submitted grant applications in May during the last fiscal year that were not funded will have those applications roll over into this grant round.  Projects must be completed within 24 months of receipt of funds.

As with all Rotary grants, these proposals must be for projects that have not yet started. You will be required to submit receipts validating your expenditure of funds, and the hands-on involvement of local Rotarians is required. Projects must involve more than just “passing a check” to an organization. Please email me if you have questions.

You are invited to attend the "Better Rotarians - Better Communities" session at the District 5610 Annual Meeting September 23rd to learn more about how clubs have utilized grant funds to create successful projects.

Application can be found under News/Downloads section on the right hand column of the district website homepage.


Thank you,

Don Norton

District 5610 Grants Chair
Upcoming Events
November 2022
Roger Kozak Service Above Self Award