Giving thanks this week for a place to call home… there are many in South Carolina who do not have a roof over their heads. Summerville has two shelter’s – one for men and another for women. The Summerville Evening Rotary Club supports both. Last week, in lieu of a regular meeting, the Club met at the home of Terry and Jaime Moore to prepare dinner for the guests at Hope’s House (an eight bed facility for women). The Club prepared Caesar Salad, Beef Stroganoff and Apple Crisp. To sustain us through the labor of chopping, dicing and searing, we shared a meal of Chicken Noodle Soup and Apple Crisp with Salted Caramel Sauce. It was a great way to spend some quality time together while doing something for someone less fortunate.
Providing clean water, sanitation and education is the “first phase of hope” for a better life in impoverished communities in Ghana and South Sudan, according to Walter Hughes, a member of the Rotary Club of Rocky Mount, VA. Hughes (at left in photo with local Rotarian Bud Foy), was guest speaker for Capital Rotary’s March 6 meeting. Over the past 10 years, Hughes and teams of Rotary and non-Rotary volunteers have undertaken building projects spearheaded by Rotary International. They’ve sunk wells to provide clean water for over 300,000 people in Africa – helping to eradicate Guinea Worm disease – and installed microflush toilets in place of pit latrines that smell bad and pollute water and soil. In partnership with 170 Rotary clubs in the US, Canada and overseas – plus governments and other non-profit funders – Hughes’ efforts have raised more than $3.2 million for humanitarian projects. He’s been active in Rotary-funded school building including three elementary schools, a preschool and a junior high. One of the elementary schools now under construction is funded in part by Rotary District 7770 and four clubs in South Carolina, including Capital Rotary as lead club.
At a mid-year assembly Feb. 6 to review Capital Rotary’s accomplishments to date in the 2018-2019 Rotary year, president Philip Flynn shared highlights that included:
- Making $1,500 in charitable contributions to Rotary districts hit by natural disasters, including those affected by Hurricane Florence locally, by Hurricane Michael in Georgia/Florida and by the California wildfires.
- Donating 741 dictionaries to third-graders in 16 Richland District One elementary schools.
- Creation of a new Codified Policy for the club that’s a “standard operating procedure” resource for future leaders and committees.
- Collecting 58 units of blood at the annual Red Cross Blood Drive, each donation helping to save the lives of up to three people.
- Assisting five local college students with scholarships – current enrollees at the College of Charleston, Claflin University, the University of South Carolina, North Carolina State and Anderson University.
- Adopting a local family and providing gifts for the holiday season as part of the 2018 Midlands Families Helping Families Christmas program.
- Continuing community service projects with weekly Meals on Wheels delivery and annual volunteering at Harvest Hope Food Bank.
- Supporting The Rotary Foundation with $242 per capita member giving that ranks among the top 10 clubs in District 7770.
- Serving as lead club for a Global Grant Project, partnering with the Rotary Club of Sunyani East in Ghana, Africa to construct the Nkrankrom Elementary School. Our club donated $2,500, District 7770 raised more, and with a Rotary Foundation match, Sunyani East was awarded about $94,000 to build the school.
- Publicizing our activities with 39 club website and social media posts; reaching over 2,700 people through social media; 1,643 website users; 38 postings on District 7770’s website and newsletters; 53 press releases posted by local media; and six monthly club activity recaps e-mailed to members.
Capital Rotary members got a firsthand look Jan. 30 at Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation’s expanded facility in Lexington County. The $125 million investment adds 36,000 square feet of manufacturing space to the company’s West Columbia campus located off 12 Street Extension near the Amazon distribution center. Nephron is a leading maker of respiratory and other sterile medications for hospitals, retail pharmacies, mail order pharmacies, home care companies and long-term care facilities. Nephron announced plans to move to the Midlands in 2011 and relocated its headquarters from Orlando, FL. Capital Rotary first visited the campus in October 2014. The club tours various points of interest throughout the community as part of its Fifth Wednesday program that substitutes field trips in place of a regular weekly breakfast meeting.
Donors to the Rotary Foundation are supporting positive change for communities around the world, according to Deborah Burt, a Bluffton Rotarian since 2007 and Capital Rotary’s guest speaker on April 25. Burt (at right in photo with Felicia Maloney) is Paul Harris Society chair for District 7770 in eastern South Carolina. Society members donate at least $1,000 yearly to the Rotary Foundation, the international service club’s charitable fund for world understanding and peace programs. Burt said the Paul Harris Society – named in honor of the Chicago attorney who founded Rotary in 1905 – was established in 1999 and has about 20,000 participants worldwide. There are 315 Society supporters in District 7770, including seven in Capital Rotary. Burt said the Columbia area club also has 56 Paul Harris Fellows – giving at least $100 annually to the Foundation – plus 40 Benefactors – those who’ve arranged for $1,000 donations from their estates – and four Bequest Society members giving $10,000 or more via estate planning. Over the years Capital Rotarians have contributed a total of $315,667 to the Rotary Foundation. Burt noted the Foundation’s cost effectiveness means about 91% of the money goes for programs rather than administration.
Gubernatorial candidate James Smith (in photo with Rotarian Gloria Saeed) says South Carolina needs “smart government” to move forward responsibly and promises to deliver that if he’s elected. Smith, currently a state representative, is running in June’s Democratic primary and was Capital Rotary’s April 18 guest speaker. He addressed three main topics: (1) need for a state energy policy that “drives efficiency” on the part of utilities and promotes solar power – where South Carolina is “15 years behind other states” making progress; (2) supporting and improving public education, which he called a governor’s “number one job” because “education equals jobs” for our work force; and (3) reapportionment of Congressional and state legislative districts after the 2020 census, which Smith said offers a chance to remedy “30 years of gerrymandering” that’s led to partisan politics where “party is more important than government of, by and for the people.” Smith, a Columbia native with undergraduate and law degrees from the University of South Carolina, was first elected to the SC House in 1996.
Advocacy for, preservation of and education about the capital city’s unique houses and gardens has been the mission of Historic Columbia since the non-profit organization’s founding in 1961. A milestone will be celebrated in May with the 200th anniversary of construction of the Hampton-Preston Mansion, according to Robin Waites, Historic Columbia’s executive director since 2004. Waites (shown at right in photo with Rotarian Allyson Way Hank) was Capital Rotary’s April 11 guest speaker. She said the historic property’s May reopening follows more than a year’s worth of mansion repairs and restoration of its gardens and grounds. Also featured is a holistic reevaluation and restructuring of the site’s historical interpretation. Waites noted that from the 1820s to the 1870s, the estate grew to be Columbia’s grandest residence under the Hampton and Preston families and the many men, women and children enslaved there. In addition to the mansion, Historic Columbia provides house and garden tours at four other sites downtown, offsite bus and walking tours, and education programs for youth and adults. Waites was the SC State Museum’s chief curator of art before joining Historic Columbia’s staff.
Today’s technology is a strategic asset companies can use to differentiate themselves from the competition, but a business not on board with this philosophy may not survive the future. That’s what Capital Rotarians heard from their March 7 guest speaker, John Eckstrom, Carolina Business Equipment president and CEO. Eckstrom said technology’s marketplace impact includes (1) social media – where two-thirds of the earth’s 3½ billion connected people are on Facebook; (2) Twitter – allowing mobile access to information at up-to-the second speed; (3) cloud computing – that lets users store data elsewhere and retrieve it via the internet from any device; and (4) big data – where companies can analyze their information to look for hidden patterns, correlations, market trends and customer preferences. As these “converging technologies” continue to be applied in the business world, Eckstrom said, “we don’t know where we’re going because we’ve never been there before.” In addition to his career at Carolina Business Equipment since 1994, Eckstrom also serves as president-elect of the Business Technology Association, an organization for office technology dealers nationwide. (ChannelPro Network photo)
Capital Rotary president Blake DuBose recognizes at-large director and service chair Neda Beal for continuing Rotary Foundation donations that support world understanding and peace programs. Beal is now a Paul Harris Fellow plus-three giver (signifying an initial $1,000 donation with three additional gifts at the same amount). The club previously honored Beal as 2016 Rotarian of the Year for guiding local community service, literacy and volunteer projects.
Eight of the state’s central region counties are enjoying the fruits of economic development efforts seeking new business and employment – to the tune of investments totaling over $12 billion and creation of more than 68,000 jobs. That’s what Capital Rotary Club members heard from Sept. 13 guest speaker Mike Briggs, shown talking with Rotarian Andy Markl (back to camera). Since 1997, Briggs has been president and CEO of the Central SC Alliance, a regional public-private partnership dedicated to stimulating economies in Calhoun, Clarendon, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland counties as well as the City of Columbia. The alliance has been especially successful in boosting global investment. Briggs said more than 22,000 workers in the area are employed by foreign affiliates, and there are businesses from over two dozen countries represented region wide. He said the most important keys to continuing economic expansion are (1) a workforce dedicated to becoming more highly skilled and (2) an abundance of suitable buildings and site locations to quickly accommodate business needs.