September, 2020

  Wendy Bowman, District 5970 Membership Chair

Adapting and Innovating in Times of Crisis – Our Rotary Legacy
In 1918 the Spanish flu pandemic swept around the world and it is estimated that 500 million people, representing one-third of the world’s population became infected.  The number of deaths was estimated to be at least 50 million with about 675,000 of those occurring in the United States.   Rotary was only 13 years old.
In Chicago, where the world headquarters was then located, the number of new cases reach 1,200 a day.   Several district governors reported at the June 1919 convention in Salt Lake City, Utah, that war work and then the great flu greatly interfered with their club activities and club visits- but not with the spirit of Rotary service.   Clubs were inspired to adapt and act.   They adjusted how they met, following local guidelines at the time and took action to help give local governments and health providers necessary services and support. (Source:
Today, we face a similar challenge with COVID-19 as well as the civil unrest around the country and the derecho that swept through Iowa in early August (our own war at home).   We are challenged with our inability to turn to the friendly faces of our fellow Rotarians, let alone our family and friends.   We are being asked to change the way we connect and communicate and it’s not what we signed up for.   However, I imagine this is the same feeling many Rotarians had 102 years ago.
Thankfully, many of those Rotarians chose to change and adapt for the benefit of the organization and the communities they serve.  
  • What choice will you make in 2020 and how will that impact your club and community?  
  • What can you do to adapt to make sure we continue to do the things that only Rotary can do?
How will you make sure that when Rotarians in 2120 look back 100 years, they appreciate what we did to carry on the spirit of ‘Service Above Self.’
Dennis Jordan, is a Membership Team Member in District 5970 and a members of Cedar Rapids Downtown Rotary. You can contact him about your membership concerns at
District 5970 is offering nine mini-grants in the amount $500 to clubs who show the highest net membership gain in the 2020/21 year.  Grants will be paid to clubs in the 2021/22 year.  Grants to be executed by the new members of the top clubs in the 2021/22 year. 


  • Increase new members
  • Promote member retention
  • Engage new members in meaningful service
  • Engage new members with the Foundation
  • Engage clubs with the Foundation
  • Provide an attractive incentive to clubs
  • PR Opportunity for clubs

Challenge Qualifications:

  • Qualifying clubs must show a net gain their total membership by the June 30, 2021.
  • Nine clubs with the highest percentage net gain will be awarded a mini-grant.
  • Each new member must have dues paid and be entered in Club Runner to qualify.

For Winning Clubs Project Qualifications & Stipulations

  • The new members will form a committee to propose how the grant will be spent.  They may enlist the help of their mentor, sponsor, or other club members.  However, the new members should allowed to choose their own project. More seasoned membered should only provide support and assistance as needed. Projects should be in keeping with the Rotary areas of service and/or current community needs.
  • A written proposal will be presented to the club board for review, input, and passage. 
  • Upon passage, a member of the mini-grant committee will submit the proposal to the District Foundation Chair for review.
  • Execution of the grant will be complete by May 30, 2022 with a written report submitted to the District Foundation Chair no later than June 30, 2022.
  • Clubs are encouraged to provide matching funds.
  • A photo of the new members, names, and description of proposed project to be sent to District Secretary for use on social media and in newsletters.
  • A press release should be submitted to local media by the committee or Public Image Committee.
  • A photo of project and description to be sent to District Secretary for use on social media and in newsletters.
Many clubs in our district are meeting virtually or virtually and in-person with great success.  Every Rotarian in the district is invited to attend these virtual meetings.  Log ins and procedures vary from club to club. Find the full list of club meetings here.
Featured Virtual Meetings:
Cedar Rapids Downtown Rotary - Weekly Meeting  for link. 
Cedar Falls Noon
Cedar Valley 5:30PM
Contact: for link.
Mason City Sunrise 7:00am
Contact for link
Decorah 11:30am
Contact for link
Your District Membership Team is available for a personal consultation to help you analyze and strategize your club's membership game plan.  Contact Wendy Bowman, for details and to get matched with a team member.
Find great membership resources at
District 5970 Membership Committee:
Wendy Bowman, Chair, Rotary Club of the Cedar Valley
Dennis Jordan, Cedar Rapids Rotary
Shanon Duncan, Decorah Rotary
Brooke Fitzgerald, Cedar Rapids Rotary
Bruce Lindholm, Cedar Rapids Sunrise Rotary