1999-2000, Rob Elder

Theme: Rotary International

The Rotary year began in July with a gift of a new Steinway Boston grand piano, purchased for the auditorium at North Salem High School. The Good Works committee determined this to be the top project for Rotary funds for two years. In 2000-2001, a second piano is to be purchased and given to South Salem High for that auditorium. These instruments will accompany thousands of students during the next 25 to 50 years.

The new millennium signaled a year of change for the club. The Black Angus ceased operation of the restaurant at the Ramada and by January Salem Rotary had to find a new meeting place. This was no small challenge. But with the work of key members, the club found a new home at Mission Mill.
In February, Salem Rotary sponsored the Salem/Keizer High School choir, orchestra and band all-city concert for the first time. Attendance was excellent, and plans are underway to continue with this event in the future. We again proudly sponsored the All City Concert. Salem Rotarians remain in awe of Students of the Month who come to us with impressive credentials. Further in the educational arena, the Preserve Planet Earth Committee established an innovative community garden and educational venue for Highland Elementary students, and it’s a pleasure to recognize true heroes in our club who serve as mentors to kids needing a positive role model. Salem Rotary again sponsored RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Award), this year for two candidates.

Salem Rotary was able to respond to other community needs through the help of our Good Works Committee. The board endorsed the committee’s recommendations and awarded grants to: Alphabet House; Richmond Elementary Soccer program; Skyball (Salem-Keizer Youth Basketball); RIF (Reading Is Fundamental); and a self-esteem project for middle school students. Food Share and our holiday Salvation Army bell ringing remained strong and productive as many of our members participated in these events. The club continued its pledge to provide dictionaries to every fourth-grade student in the Salem/Keizer schools, and continued to support the Reading Is Fundamental program, as well as Salem Skyball and soccer.
The Salem Rotary Foundation continued its growth, and the gifts to the Foundation reached an all-time high. Our foundation granted $6,500 from its endowment (using income only) for Salem youth opportunities. The fund now stands at approximately $135,000 and growing through outright gifts and our club bell ringers that raise $7,000 to $8,000 annually.

Our club examined our internal club goals. Because many business owners and corporate heads want to support the ideals of Rotary, but cannot attend regularly, a groundbreaking tool toward membership enhancement began with the development and initiation of corporate memberships. A Roundtable Conversation discussing club issues was held creating an informal survey, which was facilitated by a number of members who led discussions at individual tables at a regular weekly meeting. The results became known as “the good, the bad and the ugly, “ providing leadership a means for future planning. The use of e-mail and the Internet became a number one communication method. Rotogram editors were able to instantly send weekly program and club announcements for timely reminders. To aid on-time delivery, the editors have plans to make the Rotogram available in its entirety via the Internet or fax.

In April, all the Salem/Keizer Rotary clubs came together at the Mission Mill location for an all-city meeting. This was the first of its kind, and there is much enthusiasm for continuing this annual joint meeting.

We received Rotary International’s Presidential Citation. It was a good year of service-above-self opportunities for all the members of the Rotary Club of Salem.