Posted by Scott Plakun
About 50 club members and guests attended today's lively luncheon meeting. We were joined by visiting Rotarians from several Clubs across California, and by an unusually large number of guests.
After the basic preliminaries, President Rhonda announced that a get-well card was circulating so that everyone could offer personal wishes to Immediate Past President John Mathers (Management Consulting; eVo Associates), who is having knee replacement surgery today.
President Rhonda reviewed eight major Club projects, asking each of us to think about how we want to get engaged in the things that will be most exciting for us:
  • We will be working with Interactors, Rotaractors, and other Clubs in the district once again to provide what has dependably become the largest group participating in the Italian Heritage Parade in mid-October. Stephanie Schmautz (Retirement Living; The Carlisle) is the chair.
  • Our annual Holiday Luncheon and Annual Meeting will be held somewhere in the Union Square area in December. This year, we'll also be celebrating our Club's 110th birthday. President-elect Casey Blair (Foreign Equity Trading; Feis Options) is the chair.
  • In January, the annual Super Bowl Pool is expected to raise $20,000 or more for The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. Each entry costs $100, and 4 out of every 100 entrants will win a Paul Harris Fellowship. Co-Chairs are Fred Marschner (Financial Planning; Northwestern Mutual) and Eric Schmautz (Banking Managemennt; Wells Fagro).
  • February brings Emergency Services Day, where we will honor heroes and unsung heroes from the San Francisco Fire Department, SF Police Department, SF Sheriff, and the local US Coast Guard. The chair is David Dye (Management Consulting; Retired).
  • We will honor the San Francisco Consular Corps in March, at World Wide Rotary Day. This year, WWRD will include a focus on the many water projects sponsored by Clubs across our district. VP of International Service Sacha Shashi (Nimbus Systems) is the chair.
  • In April, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) will provide a weekend leadership camp experience to about 150 high school students from around the district. VP of Youth Service Lynn Luckow (Development; is the chair.
  • Also in April, the Gold Miners Ball is a joint project of several Rotary Clubs in San Francisco that will raise a substantial amount of money for our Club's service projects. John Mathers is the chair.
  • Finally, some time in April or May will bring out 11th annual Bike Build, where we'll provide free bicycles, helmets, locks, and lessons to 100 elementary school students from San Francisco public schools. Sunny Singh is the chair.
More details are available at Please contact the chair of the project(s) you'd like to get involved in. (Contact information for all members is available in the Member Area of
President Rhonda announced that Bob Hermann (Retired) is the Rotarian of the Month for July. Rhonda read a statement from Maddie Mumm, a Rotacare nurse, outlining the amazing work he has done, helping Rotacare successfully complete a sustainable transition to electronic medical records. Congratulations, Bob!
San Francisco Rotary Foundation President Tim Hornbecker (Humans Services; The Arc of Alameda County) presented Lynn Luckow with an $8,000 check to provide scholarships for Interactors at Washington and Lowell High Schools.
Have you read the August edition of The Rotarian magazine yet? In the article about free cleft lip surgeries in Chile, credit is given to PDG Peter Lagarias (Civil Litigation; Lagrias and Napell) and former Club member Angelo Capozzi for launching that project over twenty years ago, under the auspices of our Club. And Eric Schmautz is appreciated for helping to form the new Rotary Club of San Francisco - Castro, the first LBGTQ Rotary Club in the world.
VP of Membership Dan Joraanstad (Financial Management; Retired) reported on our Club's recent service project with Project Homeless Connect at the Bayview Opera House, where he and husband Bob Hermann helped set up the facility for the day, working under the guidance of Project Homeless Connect manager Caleb Plakun, nephew of Scott Plakun (Management Consulting; The Plakun Group). They were later joined by John and Susan Dean, who helped with other administrative tasks. See more details about this project, and more pictures, here. Dan said, "We spend so much time feeling uncomfortable about all the homeless people we see. This was a great opportunity to do something to help." We hope to see a larger turnout at the big PHC event at Bill Graham Auditorium in late September. Watch for details.
President Rhonda led us through a fun round of Member Jeopardy, where the crowd had to guess which not-quite-accurate set of characteristics most closely described Connor Krone (Non-profit Management; Student Investment Lab), Michael Petricca (Security Services; Academy of Art), Stacey Poole (Law - Family; Lerner-Poole), or John Rigoli (Retired).
Connor announced that Interact is in need of a venue that can house a couple of dozen Interactors for a training project August 5-8. Please contact Connor if you can help.
Those giving $20 or more today were Vice President of Development Carla Walter (Non-profit Management; Dance in the Spirit), who was proud to announce that she is leading a series of Dance in the Spirit workshops at ODC in San Francisco on Saturday mornings August 11, 18, and 25. Secretary Luis Moran (Real Estate Sales; Coldwell Banker) was grateful for the Fitbit watch he won as last week's door prize: by an odd coincidence, he had just decided that he wanted one and had even had started shopping; Tom Brunner (Non-profit Research; Glaucoma Research Foundation), announced that the his Foundation has just completed another successful year, and that they were pleased to launch a new research study of how vision might be restored after it is lost to glaucoma; a guest, the manager of Harry Winston in Union Square, announced that they occasionally sponsor concerts by students from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and invited us all to attend.
Today's speaker Bebo White, talked about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as possible agents for social change. He pointed out that the only thing we ever hear about cryptocurrency is bad, but it is also the source of a lot of good. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are forcing us to reconceptualize how we think about money.  There are issues, since cryptocurrencies can be used ubiquitously and anonymously. Some of the ways cryptocurrency has improved things include:
  • Providing foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong, who are not allowed to use Hong Kong Banks, with a way to send money back home to their families in Malaysia and the Philippines.
  • People who own property that has been in their families for so long that there is no legal documentation of their ownership can access the value of their capital.  - UNESCO uses cryptocurrency to distribute funds directly to people in Africa, eliminating the opportunity for theft or corruption.
  • Cryptocurrency can be used immediately after natural disasters, before the local banking system comes back online. Bebo pointed out that many questions are unresolved, using the Four-Way Test as a way to discuss some of the issues. He hopes that clarity will emerge as cryptocurrencies become more well established.
President Rhonda closed the meeting in memory of Jim Deitz, who was a member of our Club from 1966-2008 and our Club president in the 1979-1980 year. He had been a member of the Rotary Club of Tiburon for the past ten years.