The Flywheel

Program for July 21, 2006

A Global Epidemic

Dr. Sundari Mase from UCSF & the Francis J. Curry National TB Center will discuss the current status of MDR-TB and the Puentes de Esperanza Project along the US Mexico Border.

Meeting of July 14, 2006

Still newly minted President George Egan opened the meeting asking Glenn Daggs to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance. X-Prez Stoney Stonework lead the group in a moment of silence for freedom and peace in the world.

Our new Prez-In-Waiting Pam Jones thought for the day was attributed to Aristotle and Jim “The Bev” Beaver, “There are three kinds of people in the world.  People that make things happen, people that watch things happen and people that are wondering what happened.” 

There was another quote that could have been attributed to the Editor’s Mama, but was apparently inspired by the Beav at the Contractors Lunch, “Don’t ever look in a woman’s purse.”


Brian Thiessen, District Governor Just Retired, but we’ll get to him later. Nick Wells form El Cerrito thought he went unnoticed.


Newly minted club Secretary Jon Lawlis introduced X District Gov Brian T. who is also a Rotarian.


David K said the Norm Foley continues to improve, and just made a $200 contribution to the community fund.  See David K. for the card circulating for Norm.  Dave K. was also in communication with Dave Calfee who must be doing OK as he just made a $1,000 contribution to the club.


  • Red badge Rookie Liliane Koziol became a full Blue Badge member of the Club as Prez George gave her new Blue badge and John Nicol encouraged them to stand closer to the mike.
  • Bob Dabney introduced brand new Red Badge Rookie Tony Thurmond who lives in Richmond, raises his family, is a youth social worker in San Francisco, and oh yeah, is a Member of the Richmond City Council.  Bob knows Tony will be OK because like other great members of the club he is a graduate of Temple University, and, he is a Philly guy. (What other great member?)   
  • X District Gov. Brian T helped Foundation Dude Erle Brown in recognizing our new and continuing Paul Harris Fellows.  New Paul Harris fellows were Glen Daggs and Josh Genser.  Continuing Paul Harris Fellows, that is, PH + one stone, signifying an additional $1,000 contribution to the Rotary Foundation, are Ren Partridge and David Brown, a PH + 2 Fellow.  A round of deserved applause was given to these Rotarians for their support of Rotary Foundation and all the local and international philanthropy it supports.

  • PDG Thiessen then awarded the Club the Presidential Citation Award. This citation is giving to outstanding clubs around the world that have demonstrated outstanding dedication to all areas of the Rotary World. Past Pres Jon accepted the Award and told the members that it would be safely stored at his house.


  • Pam Jones reminded everyone that there will be a poker night fund raiser at La Strada, August 5th, mark your calendars and sign up.
  • Salvation Army Capt. Frank Desplancke also needs volunteers on August 5th but he needs them at 6”30 Am to chaperon the annual Mervyn’s Back-To-School shopping spree for needy students.


Jim “The Beav” Beaver took over the less organized portion of Recognitions at this point asking Judy Kafka if was true. Judy replied it was, she had another birthday and its portion of her $200 contribution to the Polio Plus campaign added up to $77.

The Beav then called on Monique le Conge and she admitted it was also true for her, another birthday, but it was a relaxing day with her family at the ball game. Too bad the A’s lost. Monique gave $100 to the club’s general fund.

The Beav then undertook the always risky, sometimes risqué task of asking Werner Schwarz if he could remember anything special happening recently in his life. Werner said, “No, you must mean my anniversary. I’ve been married so long I can’t remember freedom.” The Beav observed that Rotary records suggest it is his 54th anniversary and that, “…freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.” Werner contributed $100 to the Rotary Foundation.


Bob Dabney got lucky enough to have his ticket selected but not lucky enough to get anything more than a free lunch.  So, there is $230 in the kitty to start the day at Friday’s Rotary.


The Program

Prez George asked Jim Young to introduce today’s speaker, “without any further ado” (which means BS, but with more letters).

Jim then introduced Lester Ellis, Founder of The 1200 Foundation and Rosemary Corbin, Foundation Trustee.  Les and Rosemary are both Richmond natives, both grew up “poor” and both were blessed with circumstances and opportunities that allowed for a transition from the widespread poverty of the mid 20th Century to successful lives and well-being today.  As most of you know, Rosemary Corbin is a Past Mayor of the City of Richmond.  The 1200 Foundation is a non-profit organization committed to helping the working poor move up and out of poverty.

Rosemary Corbin began with an impassioned remembrance of what it was like to grow up poor:

  • Never having quite enough.
  • Watching your parents struggle every month to pay the bills
  • Buying your groceries on credit and hoping you could pay for them later.
  • Having your car repossessed.
  • Praying that no one got sick or injured or God Forbid, laid-off, because you might become homeless.

Rosemary said that the modern working poor, with exactly the same problems are not so lucky.  Rosemary said a lot about why but it can be summed up in the fact that if you work for the current minimum wage, you earn $14,000/year.  The most basic annual expense for a family of four in the Bay Area are estimated at $47,000/year.

Les Ellis then took the podium.  He acknowledged the great works of Rotary, specifically noting the $800,000,000+ that Rotary has given world wide for the eradication of polio (the Polio Plus Program).  He humbly noted that the 1200 Foundation is new and not in that league, yet.  “1200” refers to the foundations archetype idea that many small, dependable $1,200/year ($100/month) contributions can be gathered and focused (or as we say in finance, “leveraged”) into supporting the very best of programs that really work to help the working poor, “make it”. 

The 1200 Foundation is a clearing house for social programs and acknowledges that all social outreach efforts are not equal.  Ellis held up as examples of very successful programs that are supported and recommended by the 1200 Foundation;

  • OPTIC, a business skills and technology training program in Antioch that helps minimum wage women move into the much better paid clerical service work force, and;
  • St. Vincent’s Day Home, that provides the fundamentals to 230 West Oakland children so they can go to school.  Those “fundamentals” include, three square meals a day, decent clothing and a safe supervised place to come home to until your parent(s) gets off their minimum wage job.
  • The 1200 Foundation is also in the final analysis of what Les described as a much needed mental health clinic that is being organized at Brookside Hospital in San Pablo.

Les noted that because the 1200 Foundation does not operate programs itself, 95% of all contributions go directly to successful programs it recommends.  Because of its efforts to leverage successes, the 1200 Foundation does not help people who can not work and need public assistance to live.  That is job for public as the resources needed are very difficult so produce with charitable contribution.  Les noted that in the case of the St. Vincent Day Home, Chevron very generously provided an initial contribution of $200,000, but that it expires in September.  The 1200 Foundation is working hard to fill the gap created by Chevron’s more modest continuing contribution.

And so it goes.  But in a world where much that is new seems violent & destructive, bad for children and bad for the environment, it is great to hear about creative new efforts to continue and expand the best of the American Dream.  Thank you and good luck to Lester Ellis and Rosemary Corbin, pillars of the  1200 Foundation.  We hope you get many opportunities to tell The 1200 Foundation stories around the East Bay Rotary circuit.  If you would like more information about the Foundation go to

The Foundation accepts any size contribution, if you're so inclined.

- Submitted by rotating Flywheel editor, Jim Young