Category Archives: International Service

Making A Difference in Haiti

We’ve written before to share with you the details on the wonderful partnership between our club, others in our district and Rotary International – and the amazing work that’s be being done in Haiti. We’re happy to give you an update on our latest efforts.

Last year, we raised funds to initiate a third well-drilling project in Haiti. The total cost was $60,000 which came from matching grants from Rotary International as well as several clubs in our district. Three of the five wells included in the project have been completed and a community latrine has been started. This project should wrap up entirely by late March.

We recently began raising funds to being our fourth project in Haiti that will provide 6 wells and 2 latrines. We’re aiming to raise $80,000 this time around. We are so grateful to the following clubs for their participation and commitment:

  • Our Own Salem Downtown: $4,500
  • Keizer: $4,000
  • Portland: $1,000
  • Milwaukie: $1,000
  • Newberg Early Bird: $1,000
  • Dallas: $1,000
  • South Portland: $1,000
  • Lake Oswego: $2,000
  • And a VERY generous donation from Wilsonville of $5,000

This totals $20,500 so far. Our goal for fundraising at the club level is $24,000, with the remaining funds to be provided by a matching grant from Rotary International. That means we’re just $3,500 away! If you and your club are interesting in getting involved, let us know! We’d love to have you be a part of this amazing partnership that is changing and saving lives.


Weekly Newsletter | March 22, 2016

This is Water and Sanitation Month on the Rotary International calendar. In that spirit, I thought I would share the attached handwritten note. It was delivered to me by Cynthia Witham from Lavaud Cheristin of Hinche, Haiti.

The text reads, “Dear President Mary, Thank you for sending Cynthia and the other Rotarians to see the realization of the last project/wells and latrines. Thank you also for this year’s project. Your time and financial help are appreciated. -Lavaud Cheristin, Secretary of Rotary Club Hinche.”

In my recent President’s Message of February 23, I wrote about Cynthia’s visit to Haiti, along with fellow Club member Bo Nyleen and others. Cynthia and Bo will present a program to our Club on March 30, along with photos of the projects we’ve sponsored in earthquake-ravaged Haiti.  This is an excellent opportunity for you to invite interested guests and prospective Club members to a meeting. It will highlight some of the best work that our Club accomplishes on the global front. I hope to see you, and a good number of guests, to help celebrate all we do around the world as Rotarians.

Wednesday’s meeting: Oregon Community Foundation. Max Williams, President and CEO of the Oregon Community Foundation, will talk about the key OCF initiatives and programs that are truly making an impact across our state.


Weekly Newsletter | February 23, 2016

Club members Cynthia Witham and Bo Nyleen departed for Haiti last week, along with their spouses and another Rotarian from Keizer named Doug Lusk. One of their missions is to visit the locations where wells and latrines have been installed under the sponsorship of Rotary. Our Club and others in the Willamette Valley banded together in two previous Rotary projects to make these facilities a reality for the villagers in Haiti. Since the magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck early in 2010, the majority of Haitians are still without electricity. And many are without clean water to drink.

One of the wells is currently pumping safe drinking water for a nearby orphanage. Another one is in a small city, next door to a hospital that had been boiling their water to use for surgery.

A six-stall latrine has also been installed, helping the villagers avoid contaminating their available water sources.

Their key local contact in Haiti has been a Rotarian named Lavaud. Do you remember his visit to Salem last summer, his inspiring talk for our Club, and the beautiful reception at Don and Teresa Lulay’s new home? During this current visit to Haiti, Lavaud will show Cynthia and Bo the locations where the next set of wells and latrines will be installed. A third Global Grant for $60,000 is being written right now by our own Howard Baumann. It takes many, many hours of dedicated time to prepare the grant and gather the funding from the different Clubs. Howard and the International Service committee have been gathering pledges to total $18,000, the amount needed to attract Rotary matching funds. This funding is expected to come not only from our Club, but from 9 other regional Clubs.

Howard hopes to secure all the pledges they need and submit the grant request during March of this year. This has been a labor of love for Howard, Cynthia, Bo, and the dedicated members of the International Service committee. Because of them and our Rotarian partners, thousands of Haitian villagers now have safe water to drink and a chance at a better life.

Please note that this week’s (Feb 24) Club meeting will take place in the Dye House at Willamette Heritage Center. I will be required to miss this meeting, due to an all-day seminar in Portland. According to our Club’s bylaws, the President-Elect shall preside over this meeting in my absence. So, please be nice to Steve Ickes!


Weekly Newsletter | December 8, 2015

What a privilege it is to be part of the international community of Rotary. It takes an organization as huge and well organized as Rotary to tackle some of the world’s most difficult problems. During this month of December, which is Disease Prevention and Treatment Month on the Rotary calendar, please watch this video about providing health care to hundreds of Ugandan children who have been orphaned by the loss of both parents to the AIDS epidemic.

Doing Good: Fighting Disease from Rotary International on Vimeo.

This week, our meeting is all about our club. We’ll celebrate the accomplishments thus far, and vote in our new officers for the 2016-2017 year. See you at the Salem Convention Center at 12pm!

Read more…


Hope for Haiti 3.0

In July, we told you (as did the Statesman Journal) about our partnership with Rotary clubs in Hinche, Haiti to provide clean drinking water. With help from Rotary International’s global grants, and the support of other Rotary clubs across our district, we were able to raise over $30,000 to provide safe drinking water for over 15,000 people.

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We heard recently from Lavuad Cheristin – our liaison there. He sent these photos, along with the message, “Just looking at these photos, you will see how important your help is for water in the communities. See how people place their buckets and take a line. This is an every day true history from 5am to 8pm.”


In addition to the first grant, a second global grant has expanded our initial work, adding three wells and a community latrine in Hinche.


While we are happy to celebrate how far we’ve come, our work in Haiti isn’t done. We have much more we’d like to accomplish, and we’re launching another initiative to continue making the difference: Hope for Haiti 3.0.

This isn’t just a catchy name for this project. Hope is the little girl pictured above, who was adopted by the family of a Rotarian in our club. Hope for Haiti 3.0 is our next global grant that will provide water for a newly built school, irrigation for several acres for year round crops, and many rural townships. Sound intimidating? That’s the beauty of Rotary – your dollars go further to make real change. We need your support.

To read more about Haiti, Hope, and how you can get involved click here: Hope for Haiti 3.0 – Summary.


Help Us Do Something Amazing

Did you know that Rotary is this close to ending polio? World wide.

On October 23rd, Rotary International will host our third annual World Polio Day event. You can tune into a live stream from New York City to catch the inspiration yourself. Guests will include Polio Eradication Initiative partners, celebrity ambassadors, polio survivors and more. Click here to learn more and add the event to your calendar.

Between now and then, we’ll be posting “Finish Polio Friday’s” to remind you, inform you and keep you inspired.

Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only countries where the wild polio virus has never been stopped. Join us on World Polio Day to help end polio for good.

We’re this close. All we need is you.


Statesman Journal Article: Partnership with Haiti

We were happy to an article in The Statesman Journal this morning covering yesterday’s meeting. It shares the touching story of the way our club – as well as others in/around the Salem area – got involved with the well projects in Haiti.

Several of our members were quoted in the article, including Cynthia Witham. “It started with … a vision to give something back to the country that gave me a granddaughter.”

To read the entire article, click here.