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Rotary Club of Oakland Civic Luncheon Meeting, June 2nd, 2022

President Dudley Thompson called to order the 5,389th Civic Thursday meeting of the Rotary Club of Oakland both In-person and Zoom at 12:33 pm.

Dana Sack recited a famous quote by Jane Goodall about doing good and doing well. “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.” 

Merlin Edwards introduced our newest Rotarian, Mary Finch, with several interesting facts. Mary is a good singer who has soloed with the San Francisco Opera. She has also sung in movie trailers and previously worked at Skywalker Ranch. She is an avid San Francisco Giants fan. Her father was a golf coach, but she isn’t very good at it…like most of us. Welcome, Mary!

Past President Sean Marx reintroduced Cal Stanley. Cal was born in Arkansas in a family of 10 siblings. He moved to California in 1960 and in 5th grade joined the Boys & Girls Club. He was later hired by the Boys & Girls Club working through high school while being paid $.75/hour! He was a great basketball player and graduated from Castlemont High School and later from the University of Pacific. Shortly after graduation he was recruited to run the Boys & Girls Club of Oakland and has now led that organization for decades.

Community Service Committee Chair David Kittner gave a year-end update. The committee focuses on four major areas for grants; social justice, arts, environment and community. The Community Service Committee gave multiple grants to social justice organizations including St. Vincent de Paul for new computers. They also gave a total of $10,000 to four separate arts entities, $18,000 to four different environmental organizations and $9,000 to two community non-profits.

The Feed the Hungry campaign raised $51,300 from Rotarians setting a record for the most ever raised. They made grants of $7,328 to seven organizations who source and distribute food: Alameda County Food Bank, Bay Area Meals on Wheels, Harbor House, Oakland Catholic Worker Food Program, Operation Dignity, St. Mary’s Center, and St. Vincent de Paul. The committee had multiple service days with the Policy Activity League and cleaning Lake Merritt Gardens. 

There will be a service day June 11th at the Torii Gate Garden at Lake Merritt. Committee members will be cleaning and prepping an area to install a sign in recognition of the 60th partnership anniversary of Oakland and its sister city, Fukuoka, Japan.

Instead of a traditional speaker this week, Pres. Dudley called on six Rotary Club members, who had joined during the pandemic, to give their respective “Three Minute Introductions”. 

Nicole Wilhelm explained that she is former Oakland Rotarian, but moved to Folsom during the pandemic because of her real estate business with her husband. She has done TED talks and will give a TEDx talk on The Real Estate of your Mind. She is a Bay Area native and mother of a five-year old. Nicole belonged to the Sacramento Rotary Club while living in Folsom and shared that her mother-in-law was president of a club in the Philippines.

Pam Claassen joined Rotary two years ago as she anticipated retirement. She met her husband John, also an Oakland (and former Stockton) Rotarian, online through eharmony over 20 years ago even though they were geographically “undesirable” – meaning they lived 70 miles apart. A third-generation Oaklander, she graduated from Skyline High School and from Linfield College. She was an accountant and later CFO of American Baptist Homes of the West.  

Lou Rigali was born in Boston and trained as a chemist. He does custom printing and spends a lot of time with his nonprofit, Home All. This organization he started looks to find ways in the community to shift the culture to care for one another.  

Pauline Fox’s retirement motto is “do good and have fun”. She has an accomplished family of news anchors, authors, and healthcare professionals. She has been a lawyer and was Chief Legal Officer of Kaiser Permanente. She likes to hike, bike and crochet.

David Kersten is a video producer.  A graduate of Georgetown University where he received his Master’s degree, he’s is most grateful for his family and two daughters.  He previously worked in politics and is an adjunct professor at University of San Francisco.  He produces videos for entrepreneurs to help them connect with their ideal client.  His core values are collaboration, vision, justice, knowledge and excellence. He observed that Rotary fits well into them.

Trisha Connors grew up in Garden Grove and went to UCLA, partially funded by a Rotary scholarship. She moved to San Francisco and got involved in local politics.  Later she moved to Sacramento and spent time supporting the legislature. She graduated from law school and had a variety of jobs in different cities, including Chicago, Spokane, St. Paul, New Jersey and San Jose, as her husband’s career at Merrill Lynch took them far and wide. She was a court appointed special advocate (CASA) and moved back to the Bay Area before getting a teaching job.  

A big thank-you to Nicole, Pam, Lou, Pauline, David and Trisha for sharing your stories.  You are one step closer to receiving your permanent blue membership badge!

Click here to watch the video segment of our 6 Rotary Club Members who joined duing pandemic.

Missed our meeting, but interested in checking out the next one? Click below to learn more. https://www.oakland-rotary.org/calendar

#serviceaboveself #rotaryinternational #rotaryclubofoakland #rotaryopensopportunities

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