NEXT MEETING: January 8, 2016

A Visit from the Rotary District Governor

Richmond Rotary welcomes District Governor Ken Courville for his official Club visit. Ken was born in Fall River, Massachusetts. He received a degree in Public Service, Law Enforcement from Bristol Community College in Fall River. He received a degree in Public Service, Law Enforcement from Bristol Community College in Fall River.

Ken joined The Dixon Rotary Club in 2001, after attending a lunch meeting that impressed him with the Rotarians’ sense of giving and service. He has held various positions within the Dixon Club including Club President 2009/2010, Club Foundation Chair, District Foundation Representative for Solano County, and Assistant Governor for two years.  Ken was selected this year to become District Governor for District 5160 in 2015/2016. He will also serve as Chair of the Far West PETS in 2017.

MEETING OF December 18, 2015


President-Elect Josh S. called the meeting to order, since President Alan Blavins was recuperating from the flu. He asked Herb Cole to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Sid Chauvin’s thought for the day was from Jay Leno: If God wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates. Herb Cole called for a moment of silence for freedom and peace on earth.

Visiting Rotarians and Guests

Jon Lawlis brought his sweetie Darlene Quenville as his guest.

Special Events

Rather than be fined $50,000 for not wearing her badge, Mey Saechao opted to present her “Who Am I?,” even though she wasn’t prepared! Mey was raised in Richmond, and is the oldest of 8 kids. Her parents are Laotian refugees – her father fought against the Vietcong. Mey has been married for 7 years, and they have a cat named Ash, a recent rescue. Mey is a CPA and serves as Manager for Timpson Garcia in Oakland. She neglected to include information she had shared previously— that she was fortunate to receive a bike in the toy drive when she was a kid. Nice job, Mey, very interesting! President-Elect Josh was happy to give her her well-earned blue badge afterwards!


  • President-Elect Josh Surowitz reminded everyone that the Club would be dark the next two weeks due to Christmas and New Year’s, and would return again on January 8th.       That will be an important meeting since the new District Governor Ken Courville will be doing his official visit to address the Club. He encouraged everyone to attend.
  • In Pam Jones’ absence, Jon Lawlis announced that $13,000 was raised to buy bikes for kids, more than 275 in all!
  • Alan Baer announced that the Richmond Rotary would be participating in bell ringing again at Macy’s on Saturday December 19th. He noted that lots of Rotarians, including Interactors, would be present.       Alan also announced that on Tuesday, Dec. 22nd, the El Cerrito Interact Club would be providing gift-wrapping for free at Barnes & Noble in El Cerrito Plaza, though donations are, of course, welcome! Finally, he announced that the Rotocare clinic is now officially housed at the Family Justice Center.
  • Sid Chauvin announced that he had 11 copies only of the 2015-16 Richmond Rotary roster, first come, first served!



Happy and Sad Dollars

Norm’s Nonsense


President-Elect Josh introduced Your Scribe today, Stacey Street, who was pinch-hitting for the previously scheduled speaker, who had experienced a bad fall and was unable to present. After a long career in the nonprofit world, Stacey has been Chief Development Officer for Richmond Community Foundation for the past year and a half. Though most club members are likely familiar with the organization’s name, or know a little about what RCF does, since Board Chair and Rotarian Josh Genser gave a great presentation in mid-2014, most people don’t know the full extent of RCF’s impact in the community.

Stacey led the group through a presentation, which gave an overview of community foundations, and in particular Richmond Community Foundation’s history, mission and programs. RCF harnesses the power of philanthropy to ensure healthy, sustainable communities in Richmond and surrounding communities of Contra Costa County. RCF does this through “3 C’s”:

  • Coach: Provides capacity-building programs, workshops and grants that help local non-profit leaders – including several Richmond Rotarians! – and their staff better serve the needs of the community;
  • Connect: Connects and leverages resources and expertise for the highest impact in the community by hosting convenings such as the Northern California Summit on Children & Youth, and by leading county-wide initiatives such as SparkPoint Contra Costa;
  • Contribute: Works with donors to ensure maximum impact for their philanthropy. For example, Stacey is helping Menbe Aklilu increase fundraising and support for her “Menbe’s Way Fund,” and supported the Mayor’s Golf Tournament to raise funds for youth teams and leagues in Richmond.

RCF provides visionary leadership to foster collaboration, partnership and innovation, and has successfully created, expanded and broadened initiatives that have community-wide impact, such as its Social Impact Bond strategy for reducing housing blight. This strategy uses a new type of financing tool that leverages private capital for community impact, and has attracted recognition from both NBC News and The New York Times.

Visit for more information.

Stacey Street, Rotating Editor