The Flywheel

October 19, 2009

NEXT MEETING: October 19, 2009

What is RIchmond Promise?

Launched in January 2016, the Richmond Promise is a community-wide college success initiative to build a college graduating culture in Richmond. Created with the belief that all Richmond students should have the opportunity to develop their skills and reach their full potential, regardless of race, income level, or personal background,the Richmond Promise aims to ensure all Richmond students excel to and through higher education, reach their career goals, and become change-making leaders in the Richmond community. Jessie Stewart, Executive Director, will share stories of Richmond Promise’s successes to date.


  • We will return to the Richmond Country Club for the October 19th meeting. Several times over the last couple of months, the Club met at other locations because the RCC hosted golf tournaments. Therefore, our use of the dining room was preempted. The tournament season is now over and our meetings will be held at RCC without interruption until next fall.
  • Do you like Zachary’s pizza? The San Pablo Rotary Club has arranged a tasty fundraiser to support World Polio Day. On Wednesday, October 24, take your partner or family to Zachary’s Pizza, at 1853 Solano, in Berkeley. Fifteen percent (15%) of total sales of customers who mention the “World Polio Day fundraiser: will be donated to the cause. Thanks.
  • Rita Moreno is the featured performer at a benefit for the Rotacare Richmond Clinic on Friday, October 26th, from 7-9PM, at the Town and Gown Club, 2401 Dwight Way, Berkeley. The evening will include a silent auction. To learn more and RSVP—don’t wait, Rita Moreno is hugely popular—visit the event page.
  • Rotary Districts 5130, 5150, 5160, and 5190 are holding a District Convention at the Peppermill in Reno on May 17-19, for the “4-Way Fest.” (Get it?) Lots of fun activities and great speakers are planned. To lean more, and use the Promo Code for the room discount, please visit the event page.
  • Pam informed us that the Club will once again hold its Bikes for Kids donation program in December. Bike plus helmet will be $49, as in the past. Our club will match members’ donation up to $5,000.
  • Rotary Day at the Races is Saturday, November 17th. Tickets are $41 each. Rotarians attend in droves—400 to 500 we’re told. If you want to join them, give cash or credit card to David Brown.

MEETING OF October 12, 2018


President Jerry convened the meeting at La Strada Restaurant. Tom lead the Pledge of Allegiance and Josh Surowitz gave the invocation.

Syd offered a Thought-for-the-day penned by Winston Churchill: “Life is fraught with opportunities to keep your mouth shut.” (Note the choice of the word, “fraught,” which usually means accompanied by something undesirable or dangerous. Is Churchill saying that by not speaking up, we may invite trouble?)

Guests and Visitors

  • Jan’s guest was Stepanie Ny, an AmeriCorps member working with the City of Richmond.
  • We’re always happy to see Mac Lingo from the Berkeley Rotary. He joined us on this day.
  • And last but certainly not least, we welcomed today’s speaker, Pierre Thompson, a Rotary Peace Fellow.

Recognitions and Happy and Sad Dollars

A low attendance today may explain this rare event: No Recognitions. No Happy and Sad Dollars. (Maybe it was the low ceiling in our subterranean dining room.)


The Global Peace Index

Levels of peace. Dark green = Very high. Yellow = Medium. Orange = Low. Red = Very low.

Today’s guest, Pierre Thompson, talked about the Global Peace Index, which was launched in 2007 to rank countries around the world according to their peacefulness. The GPI gauges global peace using three broad themes: the level of societal safety and security, the extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict and the degree of militarization.

After reporting on the US ranking (121 of 163—the lower the number the more peaceful), Pierre identified 10 factors correlated to peacefulness. They include a well-functioning government, high levels of human capital, acceptance of the rights of others, an equitable distribution of resources, a free flow of information, low levels of corruption, and the use of diplomacy.

Pierre, who was born in and attended elementary school in Richmond, lead us through a conversation about the factors that contribute to, or frustrate, peacefulness in our own city. On the plus side, several of us said that Richmond enjoyed the benefits of a well-functioning government and efforts to improve economic opportunities for residents. On the negative side, members mentioned the reputation for crime that burdens Richmond, and the impact that has on the readiness of businesses to establish in the city.

Many of us joined the conversation; too much was discussed to cover in this summary. But if you’d like to learn more about the Global Peace Index, why it was developed and how it is used, read this short article.



Nick Despota, Pinch-hitting scribe