Notes from our Zoom Meeting of May 5

Tom Strode led the meeting with God Bless America. Though we were all on mute, you could see people singing.

Shelly McMillan’s meditation on mothers and children was in honor of Mother’s Day and from the Sondheim Into the Woods, recited the lyrics “Children will Listen.”

Our music selection was Espranza Spalding singing On the Sunny Side of the Street selected by Ingrid Sheldon in her wonderful jazz form.

Announcements included sympathy to Bob Discola on the passing of his wife. Four birthdays were announced for the coming week. Dues are due ASAP to meet the rotary International Deadline

Saturday morning breakfasts will start at Vets park 9AM this Saturday–with Washtenaw Dairy Donuts. Click here for a report.

Tod Kephardt reported on the fabulous success of the food drive. In place of collection boxes we did this virtually. Our goal was 150,000 meals, and we raised funds for 155,706 meals. Thank you from Food Gathers and without hesitation, Todd appealed for volunteers for next year.

Paul Harris Fellows were announced with 22 fellows this year, including five new members. The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute, or who have contributions made in their name, of $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation.

Rotary established the recognition in 1957 to encourage and show appreciation for substantial contributions to what was then the Foundation’s only program, the Rotary Foundation Fellowships for Advanced Study. This year there are 22 members in our Paul Harris Fellow class with five new fellows who are noted in gold on the slide. Overall, 65% of our 260 members are now Paul Harris Fellows. Over the years, our club and its members have given more than $1.1 million to The Rotary Foundation’s Annual Programs Fund, Every Rotarian Every Year and Polio Plus.

Representing the Foundation Development Committee, Norman Herbert recognized those that have made cumulative contributions of $1,000 or more to reach the initial level for recognition today as Sustaining Society Members, as well as those that are Benefactors Assembly and Legacy Circle donors.

The Ann Arbor Rotary endowment is a perpetual Charitable fund initiated in 1985 within the Ann Arbor Rotary Foundation structure, qualified as 501(c)(3) organization under the IRS rules, so that contributions are tax deductible.  The endowment fund is managed by a board of trustees. Its primary purpose is annually to provide additional funds for our club’s support of nonprofit community organizations, activities, and projects over and above that provided by our annual member assessment for charitable activities.

Our Foundation is both a true endowment holding funds in perpetuity and using the income therefrom to support designated charitable activities and our club’s tax-exempt vehicle through which we raise and distribute other funds in support of such activities.

It must be remembered, however, that the activities and causes funded through the Foundation, primarily focused on youth, are those adopted by the Club as official Club projects.

The Foundation currently has a Spending Policy that requires an annual distribution of 4.25% of the assets each year, based on the average market value for the preceding 20 quarters.  

As a result of contributions to the Foundation, as well as good investment results, the amount distributed over the last 15 years totals $871,762.  The average increase in the annual distribution approximates 6.0%

The Foundation’s endowment Fund had a market value of $2.9 million on March 31st (up $990,000 given the rebound in the market over last year’s impacted COVID-19 pandemic  market value) and now provides about 42% of our annual Community Service Budget.   Increases in future years will be based on the market value of the fund.

While our annual Community Service fees are critical in the support of current programs, our gifts to the Foundation help secure those programs for tomorrow. We invite each of our Club members to invest in the future by making a gift from your current assets, including your IRA for those over 701/2 or by designating a portion of your estate for distribution to the Foundation upon your death, a bequest.  Donated funds are invested permanently to build long-term, stable support for our many humanitarian projects–saving lives and improving health and well-being of those less fortunate abroad, and providing educational opportunities and other improvements in the lives of our young people locally.  In Calendar Year 2020, 151 gifts were received totaling $27,913 of additions to the Foundation value.

That support is recognized with a Sustainer Society pin, for those with cumulative giving of $1,000 or more.  Those with cumulative giving of $10,000 or more and/or those donors who notify the Trustees that his/her Will or Trust includes a gift to the Foundation of at least $10,000, are recognized as Benefactors Assembly members. Finally, those that have cumulative giving of $25,000 or more and/or those donors who notify the Trustees that his/her Will or Trust includes a gift to the Foundation of at least $25,000, are recognized as Legacy Circle members.

Program

Marsha Chamberlin introduced Sherriff Jerry Clayton—who gave an outstanding presentation on the history and evolution of policing and next steps to take.

Without understanding historical perspective from 1700 forward where slave patrols took an oath that involved capture, punishment and restriction, we can’t fully understand policing. Society supported this type of oath and condoned the work of the patrols.

Black Codes were enacted and were enforced by police, Then Jim Crow laws came to be enforced by police as well as the social norms that were part of this.

Much later came the War on Drugs. The use of “war” meaning acceptable collateral damage was essentially a war on minorities.

Practices and policies of our criminal justice system need revision based on what is law, what is order.

When the public bristles at being attacked, it is important to note that the police are the only civil professional that is allowed to use force and therefore are viewed negatively. If the focus just on criminal/legal system we are going to make mistake. This is a societal issue.

Totally reimagine:  what would be the impact based on race, health, responses? Don’t start with money as it restricts creativity, outcomes etc. Defunding is not the answer. Talk about outcomes first–then work back into ideas to address the issues.

(Notes by Marsha Chamberlin)