NEXT MEETING: April 18, 2014

Fleeing civil war, building a life in America

Toula Siakotos, author of New White Sandals, A Memoir,  will talk about her recently published book. The memoir recounts her experiences in the 1940’s & 1950’s in a small village in Greece, during Germany’s occupation of Greece and the bloody civil war that followed. As a result of dramatic traumatic events in her family, Toula left her home and the only life she knew and crossed the Atlantic, alone, at the tender age of eleven in search for a brighter tomorrow in a distant land.

MEETING OF Friday April 11, 2014


Prez Liliane was busy with Cal Day duties at the UC so Secretary, ADG-In-Waiting PP Alan Baer called to order the stalwart few of the Richmond Rotary Club. The lovely Stephanie Baer was asked to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Tom Waller led us in the invocation. Sergeant at Arms Sid Chauvin’s absence deprives us of Words of Wisdom for the day.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

  • Jeff  (decisions, decisions) Mulivihill, from the Redding Club but now living in Richmond El Sobrante, for a long time.
  • Acting Prez for a Day Alan Baer’s guest was daughter Stephanie Baer.
  • Josh Genser brought several guests: Ken Phillips of Auto Marketing Solutions who is moving his business to Richmond; And from the Richmond Community Foundation, Jim Becker, Executive Director, Stacy Street, Development Director & Lenard Berry RCF Board Member.


  • The District Assembly will be held May 3rd at Solano Community College, Vallejo, from 8:30 until 2 PM. Besides finding out everything you ever wanted to know about Rotary at various workshops, donuts, coffee and lunch (as well as the entire conference) is FREE!
    The Assembly also includes this special event. Watch Richmond Rotary’s own champ, Niki Basas, compete in the district’s 4-Way Test speech contest! More info at the meeting and here: . Did I mention the whole thing is FREE?
    San Pablo Rotary is holding their always fun Night in Tuscany, May 9th. Alas, this  is not free. Alan Baer is organizing a table. Contact Alan for details,
  • Hercules Rotary is looking for Rotary volunteer to help with their Rotary Sponsored 4th of July celebration and Dynamite 5K Run. Rotary has taken over the celebration from the city because the city has no money. Info at  or


Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense

More quotes from W. C. Fields …
– If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bull.
– Asked if he believed in clubs for women, Fields responded: “Yes, if every other form of persuasion fails.”
– I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.


The Richmond Community Foundation and the role of philanthropy

Acting Prez Alan interdicted the otherwise well known Josh Genser, but with a different ‘hat’ as he is Chairman of the Board of the Richmond Community Foundation (RCF).

Josh began his presentation about the RCF asking a series of thought-provoking questions about contributions, ‘giving’ and philanthropy in general.  He noted that many people today have surprisingly large net worth, surprising to themselves as well as others. Also many people do not have a clear idea of their net worth and this statement seemed to be supported by a show of hands when only about half the members acknowledged that the did know this important but ever changing number. Then asking the rhetorical question, ”How many in the room plan to leave an estate to their heirs?”, Josh suggested that if that estate was only 90% of actual value:

  • The heirs would probably not notice the difference
  • The 10% if contributed to the good of the community could in  fact do a lot of long term good, and;
  • Community foundations like the RCF could be a very effective tool for getting the most good possible out of that gift for the future.

Josh also provided a short history of the RCF which started in the early 1990s with settlement proceeds from the General Chemical sulfuric acid spill litigation. RCF started as the Richmond Children’s Fund and developed and operated Richmond College Preparatory K-6 Charter School on Florida St. next to Nystrom Elementary School. The school opened to enrich and improve academic performance and opportunities in the community but eventually concluded that the entire neighborhood needed to be improved, not just the schools. So RCF launched the Nystrom United Revitalization Effort (NURVE) to rebuild the whole community around Nystrom school. This has included the school MLK Jr. Park, and the community center.

RCF is also very proud of its unique collaborative, umbrella organization model for otherwise uncoordinated community 501c3 non-profits. As an example of this success Josh describe SparkPoint Richmond which is a one stop, financial crisis intervention service agency that helps low income people resolve serious problems and perform standard  tasks (like income tax preparation) essential to living in a modern economy.

The RCFs services to donors are particularly valuable in a community like Richmond that has 186 community 501c3 nonprofits interested in helping the community and your donations. As RCF ED Jim Becker said during the Q&A, Not all nonprofits are equally efficient in helping the community or leveraging benefit from donor funds (or something like that anyway.)

Thank you Josh  G. & Jim B. for an informative program about the Richmond Community Foundation.

Substitute, substitute, substitute Editor Jim Young, standing in for Josh S., Tom W. & Dandy Don Lau