Rotary Log for January 7, 2021
President Jon opened the first meeting of 2021 in Zoom, the format we have become accustomed to during the Coronavirus pandemic.  The Pledge of Allegiance was recited aloud by some and in muted form by others.  Jon had hoped that Al Lantinen would lead us in Auld Lang Syne, the Scottish song that basically translates as “for old times.” It is traditionally sung at the end of the year.  Sadly, Al could not be located on the Zoom screen.  Jon and Ken Murphy were not willing to inflict their voices on the Rotary audience.
The scheduled speaker for today’s meeting, Jake Sullivan, President-Elect Joe Biden’s nominee for National Security Advisor, had to cancel his visit. Called to a meeting of the President-Elect’s leadership team, Mr. Sullivan says he will do his best to speak to us on a later date.
For those who were not present at the fellowship part of the meeting, Priscilla MacInnis, program chair, gave us a run-down of upcoming speakers. 
January 14 – Judge Tina Nadeau, Chief Justice of the Superior Court of New Hampshire
January 21 - Chris Cassidy, NASA Astronaut (and Janice Cassidy’s son)
January 28 – A representative from Special Olympics, New Hampshire
February 4 – Paul Brean, Executive Director of the Pease Development Authority
February 11 – Brian Hart, Executive Director, South East Land Trust
February 18 – Priscilla’s cousin, Rob, retired photography editor for National Geographic
February 25 – Will Arvelo, Director, State of New Hampshire Division of Economic Development
March 4 – Jim Bilodeau, audio producer at Sirius Radio
John Rice’s invocation was the prayer associated with St. Francis of Assisi “Make me an Instrument of Your Peace.”  It seemed particularly appropriate following one of the darkest days in American history, when a mob stormed the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.   
President Jon’s first announcement was that Ian Oneail has not only a new job, but also a new baby boy.  Ian shared a sweet photo of little Cullen Danger Oneail.  Asked about that middle name, Ian chuckled and said it would be a hit with the ladies.
Dave Underhill discussed an email sent earlier this week. The communique announced a live forum reporting the progress of the 7780 District Recovery team and community responses to ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences.)  Our club gave seed money to fund this program that works in conjunction with the Pinetree Institute. 
Thirty residents from York, Strafford and Rockingham counties took part in the October training, including six Rotary Club members.  Our own Ann Bliss and Moe Sullivan were in the class. Moe will speak at the Forum, as well as others, sharing what they learned and updating the District on what comes next.  Mark your calendars for Thursday, January 14 at 6:30pm - the Zoom meeting link is included in the email.
Our January 14th speaker is Chief Justice of the Superior Court of New Hampshire, Judge Tina Nadeau. She will give an update on the state’s drug courts.  Jon has let her know about that evening’s forum, since it ties in with her work.
Jon welcomed Cleo’s guest, Travis Billingham, recently relocated from New Mexico with his family and Larry Gray’s guest, Paul Turnowski.  Both are interested in joining our Club.
Jon shared the exciting news that, despite the pandemic, our 2020 fundraising has been extremely successful.  This after serious initial doubt about whether we would be able to raise any money this year. 
Steve Wood, Club Treasurer, summarized of our finances. Other than dues, he explained that we have two main sources of annual income.  We receive $87,000 from The New Hampshire Charitable Foundation.  These funds were set up by past Rotarians and do have some strings attached. For example, funds must go to the William Cash Committee, Basic Needs Committee and Rotary scholarships.
The second source of income is fundraising. The main sources here are the golf tournament and Christmas tree sales. These two events netted about $83,000 in 2020.  We also receive an average additional $10,000 or so in miscellaneous annual income. 
We have approximately $170,000 now that is available for contributions to the community. The William Cash Committee get about $53,000 from now to the end of the year and Basic Needs Committee has about $31,000.  We have between $90,000 and $93,000 unrestricted monies to fund other needs.  Some $24,000 of these funds are allocated for annual scholarships.
Jon explained that all our revenue is directly attributable to Rotarian contributions and their hard fundraising work.  He applauded everyone’s efforts and said now we can look forward to spending the money. Basic Needs and the William Cash Committee will decide where most of it goes. 
The former, chaired by Jessica Parker, concentrates on food, clothing, and other basic needs of the community. 
The latter, chaired by Barb Miller, funds more hands-on projects. 
The rest of the money is unrestricted. There are certain events that Portsmouth Rotary has traditionally funded, for example, Project Graduation at Portsmouth High School.  Some $2,500 is donated annually to this event which entertains students throughout the night of their graduation.
Both Barb and Jessica posted their email addresses in the Zoom Chat section: and
Jon encouraged Club members to be creative in coming up with ideas for these two committees or any other suggestions to help the community.  Further, he wants to make sure that we get public recognition for the work we do. 
“I am guessing that nine out of 10 people do not know about Rotary’s work,” Jon said.   He wants people to make Rotary their first charitable choice and donate or sponsor events like the golf tournament or the Thanksgiving dinner.  He would like to see Rotary celebrated, as well as attracting people who want to be associated with the club.
Nancy Notis, chair of the communications committee, has been very active and helpful in promoting Rotary’s public image in the community.  Jon would love to see a ‘bang’ for every buck we spend!  Rotary should be in the spotlight as much as possible – the sale of the Gilley’s Christmas ornament was a great example. 
The great work done to get the Christmas tree sales website up and running and the ornaments ordered and sold got Rotary noticed by local media.  In the Zoom chat, Joanie thanked Dave Underhill whose connections with the District folks were invaluable – in this case sharing information about the EventGroove fundraising website. 
Ken Murphy asked for an explanation of the process of applying for Rotary funds.  Barb explained that requests for funds from the William Cash Committee must be sponsored by a Rotarian.  She suggests that requests be sent to the Committee a week before they meet on the last Thursday of the month.  Fund recipients must be designated 501 (c) (3) organizations. Recent examples of funds allocated were for improvements at the Seacoast Repertory Theater and the construction of the Strawbery Banke Puddle Dock Pond ice rink.
Jessica Parker explained that the Basic Needs Committee reviews requests from 501 (c) (3) community organizations which address the needs of food, shelter, health, and clothing.
Don Chick shared photos of the Salvation Army bell ringers who took one hour shifts in Market Square on December 19th.  Thanks to Al Lantinen, who organized the annual bell ringing during a pandemic and to his band of merry volunteers. 
Don also showed photos of Rotarians distributing 400 gift cards to the waitstaff of 40 local restaurants.  These were purchased with the proceeds of the sale of the Gilley’s 2020 Christmas ornament.  Jon shared a heartwarming anecdote – a patron who saw the gift cards being distributed told Jon it was the best Christmas story he had heard.  Don pointed out that there are more photos of both these events in Clubrunner.
Sara Treacy gave a brief update on Salvation Army dinners.  Al Lantinen continues to retrieve the food so generously donated by the Edgewood Center.  The meals are now served in fixed boxes for guests to pick-up at their new location at 115 Heritage Avenue.  They have been serving about 28 people per night.  Sara is looking for two volunteers for the next date of Tuesday, January 26 at 4:30pm.  Joanie Dickinson signed up for this date right away.
In the hopes that we will someday be able to get back to in-person meetings, Jon closed the meeting with the 4-Way Test.
Respectfully submitted, Francoise Meissner
Photo Captures by Don Chick