The Flywheel

Next Meeting: Friday, April15th

Building early railroad across a mountain pass

Building the Central Pacific Railroad

Howard Abelson, long time El Cerritan and lifelong railroad and train enthusiast discusses the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad over the Sierras to Promontory Point Utah.

Meeting of Friday, April 8th

Welcome, Invocation, Thought for the Day

President Alan Baer welcomed the members and their guests. John Wilson led us in the pledge. George Egan led us in a silent prayer for freedom, peace and justice on earth. There was no thought for the day because we did not have a federal budget yet. I heard Henry Kelman saying that was the thought of the day.

Visiting Rotarians

Our visiting Rotarians today were Mac Lingo from Berkeley and Troy Feddersen from Lafayette.

Rotarians with Guests

Henry Kelman introduced his younger brother, Joe.

Because Liliane Koziol was absent, her assistant, Jerome Nelson of UC Berkeley’s International House, introduced Liliane’s guests. [They were] Twelve students studying at UC Berkeley, they came from South Korea, Nigeria, Ghana, Japan, Australia, Austria, Norway and Beijing, China. Their fields of study varied from economics and public policy to business and finance.

Joan Davis introduced her guest, Jim Becker from the Richmond Community Foundation.


  • Alan announced that the sign-up sheet for Cinco de Mayo was going around.
  • He encouraged the members to attend San Pablo’s fund raising event on April 29th.
  • He reminded us about the District’s conference on April 16th at Solano Community College in Vallejo. The conference starts at 8:30 a.m.
  • Sid Chauvin's youngest daughter’s organization is having a casino night on April 30th at Blackhawk Auto Museum. The cost is $70. Tables for 10 are available.

Special Events

Erle Brown presented Ralph Hill with his ninth Paul Harris.


Pam Jones was in charge of recognitions.

Pam recognized Ralph Hill for his 36th anniversary. Pam asked Ralph how he celebrated his anniversary. Ralph answered, “How do you expect an 88-year-old man with a cane and broken back would celebrate his 38th anniversary? I took a shot of Geritol and went to bed.”

Happy and Sad Dollars

  • Edgar Deleon was happy about his son’s promotion to Cadet Senior Master Sergeant and about Jonathan Javier’s appointment to the US Air Force Academy.
  • Leslie Levy was happy about getting $2000 credit from AT&T, although it took 10 months to get it.
  • Ralph Hill was about the demolition of Oak Knoll Naval Hospital. Ralph commented that in the Navy there is nothing as permanent as a temporary building.

Norm's Nonsense

A couple are dining in a nice restaurant and sharing a bottle of wine when all of a sudden, she says: "I love you."

He replies: "Is that the wine talking?"

She says: "No, I was talking to the wine."

PROGRAM of April 8th

The Richmond Community Foundation

Richmond Community Foundation logo

Joan Davis, our Rotarian, was our speaker. Joan is a native of Nebraska. She came from a family of lawyers and became a lawyer herself. Joan worked on school desegregation issues and served as a Community Builder Fellow with the US Department of HUD. Joan moved to California in 2001 as the CEO of Satellite Housing Inc. she also worked with the Alzheimer’s Association. Joan lives in Richmond’s Marina Bay. Currently she is the President and CEO of Richmond Community Foundation.

A community betterment fund, Richmond Children’s Foundation, was established in 1999 as a result of an acid leak at General Chemical Corporation, to improve children’s lives. In 2010, Richmond Children’s Foundation became Richmond Community Foundation RCF). The RCF has a strong board of directors from the community.

Community foundations are the fastest growing sector of philanthropy. Foundations started in 1914. Now there are 700 foundations across the USA. These foundations have a total of $44.8 billion in assets and grant $3.4 billion annually. The foundations encourage individuals, organizations and companies to fund activities in areas where donors live and work. The foundations are tax-exempt. The donors receive a charitable deduction.

RCF is managing many projects and has partners such as the City of Richmond, CCC Unified School District, Rosie the Riveters and others.

The pillars of the RCF are: providing quality education, access to health care, public safety and economic development.

Richmond Rotary and RCF have established the Auto Skill project where students from Nystrom Elementary and Richmond College Prep Schools are trained on computers.

RCF is managing the Nystrom United Revitalization Effort (NURVE) projects; Nystrom Village (165-unit project), Maritime Center (rehabilitation of the Kaiser facility and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park. Joan invited the members to the Park’s grand opening on Saturday, May 7, 2011.

Joan gave 10 reasons why people choose to give through the RCF:

It is a local organization, has a professional staff with broad expertise, provides personalized service, invests in causes that people care about most, accepts a wide variety of assets, partners with professional advisors, offers maximum tax advantage, multiplies the impact of gifts by pooling them, builds endowment to benefit our communities forever, and finally—the RCF consists of community leaders who create positive change.

- Rotating Editor and Scribe, Nabil Wahbeh