Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year fellow Rotarians!
Carol and I have had a wonderful start to the holiday season revisiting Rotary Clubs over the past three weeks.  We attended the Brookings Rotary “Hope and Healing” fundraiser for Ukrainian Relief where $50,000 was raised. Later, we attended a social with the Luverne Rotary Club where they presented several Paul Harris Fellows and became a 100% Paul Harris Club.  This week we visited the Black Hills and attended the Rushmore Rotary meeting.  Northern Black Hills - Spearfish Rotary Club invited us to their Christmas party where 5 of 6 new members were inducted.  Then Rapid City Rotary Club had a fun Christmas Party were longtime Rotarian Dr. Reuben Bareis was presented with his Paul Harris plus 7 pin.  All examples of the great fellowship among Rotarians and the generosity they have toward their fellow man.
December is Disease Prevention and Treatment month.  This is a major focus of humanitarian efforts in Rotary.  Consider our longtime efforts through Polio Plus to eradicate polio from the earth.  Many of our Global Grant projects are related to safe, clean water projects that enhance the health and life expectancy in third world countries.
As I end the first half of my District Governor term, I want to reiterate my goals for the District.  First, at my club visits I spoke about my goal of a developing a program to help our clubs to grow membership.  With consultation and advice from other district leaders, I believe that we will be soon putting together a program to assist clubs in strategic planning to help clubs determine where they are and where they want to be and then a plan to get there.  Hopefully, this will contribute toward my goal of increasing membership by 10%.  I have been encouraged by several clubs with recent great membership gains and enthusiasm in the rebirth and formation of Rotaract clubs.  My second goal is that our district contribute $200,000 to The Rotary Foundation.  Please consider signing up through My Rotary to make scheduled gifts.  It’s nearly painless to give online automatically.  $8.34 per month or $100 per year will make you a Rotary Foundation Sustaining Member. $83.34 per month will make you a Paul Harris Fellow.
Finally, I wish you and your Rotary Club a Merry Christmas and a joyous and prosperous New Year.

John Schneider
DG 5610