Posted by John Dean on Aug 14, 2019
President Casey Blair (Financial Services: Private Trading | Feis Options) welcomed Karen Schmautz, mother of Eric Schmautz (Banking: Management | Wells Fargo). Karen is a member of the Rotary Club of Indian Rocks in Florida.
We had many other guests, including:
  • Lady Tapatha Kendrick Smith, a guest of John Mathers (Management Consulting | eVo Associates). Among other activities, Lady Tapatha mentors professional artists.
  • Heidi Kuhn (Peace Building | Roots of Peace) introduced her nephew, Ian McNear, a recent graduate of USF Law School who is working in the Bay Area.
  • John Hoch (Financial Services: Advising | Retired) introduced Rodney Parker. Rodney, a native San Franciscan, is a clothing designer and image consultant, and was recently profiled in the San Francisco Chronicle.
  • Alison Healy (Medical Services | Alliance for Smiles) hosted two guests: Tricia Tran, the Office Manager for Alliance for Smiles, and Ayelet Norkin, an intern with AfS.
  • Joseph Fang (Financial Services: Advising | Transamerica) introduced two Interactors from George Washington High School, Ivy Lee and Nancy Deng.
  • Dan Joraanstad (Financial Services: Advising | Retired) introduced Carlos Infante, manager of the soon-to-open Chase branch near the new Chase Center in San Francisco.
  • Michael Petricca (Education Management | Academy of Art) introduced Greg Rustrom, an Instructor in the Automobile Restoration Department at Academy of Art in San Francisco. Greg has offered to develop an improved Rotary badge storage system for the Club.
Casey announced the recent passing of a former member of our Club, Geri Bell Langley. She was a member from 2008-2010. Those in attendance observed a moment of silence in honor of Geri and in remembrance of the victims of the recent spate of mass shootings across the country.
Casey recapped several recent activities, including:
  • Our Month-end Social July 29 at the SPARK Food Truck Park in Mission Bay. Over thirty Rotarians attended, including several from other Clubs around the world. Everyone enjoyed an array of food and beverage from the various trucks, and then met around the fire pit to roast s’mores (s’mores courtesy of our Club).
  • On July 30 over fifty attendees celebrated the newly-chartered San Francisco Rotaract Club, the only community-based Rotaract Club in the City. This new Club is co-sponsored by our Club and the Rotary Club of San Francisco Evening. The event was held at the Academy of Art Automobile Museum in San Francisco. Thanks to Michael Petricca for arranging access to the museum. This new Club, aimed at young adults (21-35 years old), offers opportunities to socialize and meet other young professionals, entrepreneurs and business people, largely through opportunities for service.
President Casey noted that the busy summer continues with a number of great upcoming events and activities, including:
  • Tonight, August 6, District 5150 will host a District Social at the Pacifics baseball game at Albert Park in San Rafael at 6PM. The Pacifics are a local professional baseball team that plays in the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs.
  • August 8: Twilight Golf at Harding Park. Enjoy a quick nine holes of golf, followed by refreshments and fellowship. Tee time is 4:15 PM.
  • August 14: New Member Welcome Event at the home of Deborah Wakefield (Elder Care and Senior Services | Concierge Senior Care and Family Support). Enjoy a chance to meet and socialize with new members of our Club. All members (new and long-term) and prospective members are invited.
  • August 25: Oakland A’s and Giants Baseball. Co-sponsored by several Bay Area Rotary Clubs. We will have a great pre-game BBQ with refreshments, then watch the game from a block of reserved seats. A great opportunity to socialize with Rotarians from around the Bay.
  • September 7: A work day at Rotary Meadow atop Mt. Sutro in San Francisco, beginning at 9:00 AM. We will pull weeds, remove invasive species of plants, rake leaves and do other tasks to beautify the meadow. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.
  • September 12: Save the date! The Club will sponsor a cocktail party for the Youth Leadership Initiative to raise funds for that exciting program. Space is limited. Sign up as soon as possible with John Mathers.
President Casey then presented a quick overview of how The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International (TRF) and the San Francisco Rotary Foundation generate funds to make the various project grants each year. Half of the donations we make to TRF come back to the Club as District Designated Funds three years later. Our local foundation uses the annual proceeds from the multi-million dollar corpus it manages to fund grants. This year our own San Francisco Rotary Foundation will provide the Club with $163,000 in grants.
Dan Joraanstad , Vice President of the San Francisco Rotary Foundation and Tim Hornbecker (Non-Profit Management | Retired) announced two grants to International Service projects:
  • $15,000 was presented to Alliance for Smiles. These funds will be used for the group’s first surgical mission to Guatemala in early September. AfS was founded by six members of our Club in 2004, with the goal of providing life-changing cleft palate and cleft lip surgery to children in underdeveloped countries, using teams of volunteer doctors and nurses. Since its founding, AfS has performed over 7,000 surgeries, all at no cost to the patients. Dan noted that Alliance for Smiles is now a Corporate Member of our Club, with five designated members.
  • $15,000 was presented to Roots of Peace. Roots of Peace received its first grant from our Club in 2007 to conduct landmine removal and vine planting in Croatia. Since its founding by our own Heidi Kuhn, Roots of Peace has removed over one million landmines around the world and helped local farmers plant sustainable crops. This year’s grant will be used for an upcoming project in Vietnam. The project will involve removal of landmines and the planting of vanilla trees.
President Casey then announced Cecile Chiquette (Accounting | Retired) as Rotarian of the Month. He called Cecile the unsung Hospitality Queen of the Club: she arranges volunteers to make the luncheon meetings move smoothly, welcomes new members, and even assisted in arranging housing for a recent Rotary International exchange student. She has served our Club in many capacities over the years, including as President.
Those making donations of $20 or more included:
  • Anita Stangl (Medical Services | Alliance for Smiles), who noted that this was her first meeting since undergoing knee replacement surgery. She thanked all the members who sent flowers, cards, visits, etc. She extended special thanks to Susan Dean (Healthcare: Nursing Services | Retired) and Rosemary Welde (Healthcare: Nursing Services | Stanford Medical Center), both Registered Nurses who stayed with her the first few days after surgery. She also thanked Cecile for her support.
  • Jim Patrick (Retail: Office Supplies | Patrick & Co.) donated in honor of fifteen years of success for Alliance for Smiles.
  • Jiangying Chen (Healthcare: Acupuncture | American Institute of Zhizhen Therapy and New Qigong) noted the serious political crisis developing in Hong Kong and urged everyone to pay attention as the turmoil seems to be increasing.
  • Heidi Kuhn recognized her father’s ninetieth birthday.
  • Allan Herzog (Financial Services: Advising | Wells Fargo Advisors) made a challenge donation, offering $1,000 to Alliance for Smiles if ten other members would donate $100 each. Among those donating toward the match: Sunny Singh (Financial Services: Advising | Wedbush Securities), Ann Daugherty (Financial Services: Private Trading | IBN Financial Services), Lisa Christian (Development | Community Housing Partnership), Tom Brunner (Non-Profit Management | Glaucoma Research Foundation), Jim Patrick, Susan Dean, Heidi Kuhn, Cecile Chiquette, Bill Poppen (Banking: Management | MUFG Union Bank), Lilian Tsi-Stielstra (Insurance Services | Retired), Hana Xu Wang (Financial Services: Advising | Wang Wealth Management), John Hoch, Alison Healy, John Mathers, Anita Stangl, Irena Matijas (Real Estate: Sales | Compass), Bob Hermann (Information Technology: Administration | Retired), and Jianying Chen.
  • Dora Dye (Education: Community College | City College of San Francisco ) donated in honor of her husband David Dye’s (Management Consulting | Retired) return from two weeks at the World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia.
  • John Hoch apologized for missing the debunking of Past-President Rhonda Poppen (Grant Writing | GRANTdog) and President Casey’s initial meeting.
  • Mary Liu (Real Estate: Sales | Vanguard Properties/JM Real Estate Group) celebrated the Alliance for Smiles grant and the upcoming wedding of her son in Bali.
Today’s speaker was Phil Ginsburg, General Manager of San Francisco Recreation and Park Department. Phil noted that he has worked for the City and County of San Francisco for thirty years, the past ten as Rec and Park General Manager. Early in his career with the City and County he worked for the City Attorney’s Office under the leadership of our former member Louise Renne when she was City Attorney. He later served as Chief of Staff under then-Mayor (now Governor) Gavin Newsom.
Phil considers the Rec and Park General Manager position to be his perfect job. Although he is not a landscape architect, and is only a mediocre horticulturalist, he considers himself the ultimate customer of the City’s great outdoor spaces and parks. He and his family regularly use Marina Green, Golden Gate Park, neighborhood parks, golf courses and other outdoor areas.
He noted that this year marks the 150th anniversary of Golden Gate Park. Frederick Law Olmsted, the renowned landscape architect and designer of Central Park in New York decided that the area was too sandy, too windy and too cold to construct a park, and declined the opportunity. Later, John McLaren came up with the idea of mixing oats and barley with sand. It worked! He planted a line of trees near Ocean Beach, then more trees outlining what is now Golden Gate Park. The trees served as a windbreak, and stabilized the soil, allowing for planting of grass, shrubs and the beautiful gardens we enjoy today.
San Francisco is blessed with an abundance of open space areas. In fact, San Francisco was the first city in the US where every resident lives within a ten-minute walk of a park.
Today, over 80% of all Americans live in an urban area. As infill development and high-density construction continue, planning for access to and preservation of open space areas will become increasingly important.
Phil believes access to nature – parks, playgrounds, open space areas of all kinds – improves physical and emotional health, and increases productivity. He cited several studies which appear to provide supporting data that nature and outdoor activities reduce fatigue, decrease stress, improve physical health, increase creativity, and improve mental health. The average North American child today spends 7 hours per day in front of a screen and only a few minutes daily in unstructured outdoor play.
With all of this in mind, Phil noted that one of the real challenges Rec and Park faces is to insure equitable access to safe, well-maintained open space across all neighborhoods and socio-economic strata. The next big project under design: the India Basin Parkway along the shores of San Francisco Bay. This southeast sector of the City is in dire need of open space options.
President Casey presented Phil with a certificate indicating that 100 children were vaccinated against polio in his name.
Door Prize: The door prize winner was Nahla Awad (Engineering, Architecture, and Construction | ABA Global), who received a bottle of Merlot courtesy of Cecile Chiquette. 
Photos by Nahla Awad.
Edited by Scott Plakun (Management Consulting | The Plakun Group)