President's Message
John Mathers
member photo
It’s That Time of Year!
It's time to look back and to look forward. Columnists, bloggers, and all holiday cards are designed to review the year and to “wish you a Happy New Year”. So in keeping with the flavor of the season, let me do a little remembering and a little prognosticating.
We can all agree that the past year has been tumultuous … politically, economically, and socially. Whether you’re on the right or left, we can agree on that! And amidst it all, the Rotary Club of San Francisco has provided opportunities to serve our community – both locally and globally. Perhaps I am naïve, but a part of me sees the Club as a refuge from the turmoil, a place to go and enjoy “community”, whatever that may mean, and to serve others. And we have certainly done that this past year!
  • We have supported and worked on over 15 different service projects.
  • The Club surpassed $2 million in giving to The Rotary Foundation.
  • The Club grew its membership month over month.
  • Our small District 5150 was at the top of giving amongst 350 districts worldwide.
  • The Rotary Foundation won the prestigious Association of Fundraising Professional’s Best Non-Profit award.
Thanks to Immediate Past Presdient David Dye’s leadership and to all the members that have made all this possible.
Looking to the next year, we can easily assume that the various sources roiling our local, national and international world will continue. And our Club will still be here to provide friendships and the opportunity to serve. Our members are strong, resilient and committed. Our service committees are thoughtful, strategic, and committed. Our Board – old and new – is competent, focused, and committed. What more can we ask for the coming year? Please join us at our meetings whenever you can. Please find projects that bring a smile of pride to your day. Please find community with our Rotary Club.
And best wishes for a Happy New Year.
Congratulations January 2018

January 4
   Angie Ong

January 6
   Heidi Kuhn

January 8
   Michael Mustacchi

January 10
   Stephanie Schmautz

January 22
   Ellie Giorgis
   Rick Harrell
   Ryan Wilson

January 25
   Fred Marschner

1979: Allan Herzog 

1990: Donna-Lee Rubin 

1994: Otis Paul 

1997: Lilian Tsi-Stielstra

2000: Eric E. Schmautz 

2004: Robin Azevedo
   Lisa Stark 

2007: Renee Scudder 

2008: Dan Joraanstad 

2010: Xu Wang 

2015: Jennifer Ji 
   Christy Nguyen 
2017: Carla Walter
   Michelle Vu
   Michael Petricca
   Ryan Wilson 
December 2017 Highlights
Service Projects:
  • Thirteen Rotarians and friends packed 50 diaper bags with necessities, and enjoyed a very informative tour of the Homeless Prenatal Project’s facilities led by HPP founder Martha Ryan. A few days later, the diaper bags were handed out to mothers-to-be and new mothers at HPP baby showers.
  • Over 30 Interactors, Rotarians, family members, and friends joined the Institute on Aging to visit facilities and homes of shut-ins to sing Christmas carols. This happy event brought smiles to many faces.
  • Rotarians and friends joined the Celebrity Bell Ringing event on Union Square to raise money for The Salvation Army. Having staked out the best spot on the Square, our team had great success – especially when Major Raymond Erickson-King (Human Services; The Salvation Army) and his band played for the holiday shoppers.
A visit from the Sheriff: San Francisco Sheriff Vicki Hennessey talked about what has been going on with the Sheriff’s Department as they deal with overcrowding and antiquated facilities. As always, she was personable and informative.
Support for The Rotary Foundation: Congratulations to these members for achieving new levels of Paul Harris Fellowship recognition!
  • Paul Harris Fellowship +2: Bill Poppen (Banking Management; MUFG Union Bank), Lisa Stark (Video Production Services)
  • PHF+3: Ben Lam (Banking Services; UBS Financial Services)
  • PHF+5: President-elect Rhonda Poppen (Grant Writing; GRANTdog)
  • PHF+8: President John Mathers (Management Consulting; eVo Associates)
Holiday Luncheon and Annual Meeting: More than 125 Club members and friends enjoyed another festive holiday luncheon at the Westin Saint Francis Hotel.
Between several rounds of random gift-giving by Melissa Galliani (Media Sales; Cumulus Media) and Carla Walter (Higher Education; Argosy University), Past Club President and PDG Eric Schmautz (Banking Management; Wells Fargo Bank) presented a Presidential Citation from Rotary International to Immediate Past President David Dye (Management Consultant; Retired), four new members were inducted by District Governor Ron Gin (see more about them below), and Rick Harrell (Veterans Services; Heroes' Voices) recited a delightful poem about a Haight Ashbury Christmas Eve before leading us in a joyous round of singing. And we were all as excited as young children when Santa made a surprise appearance, bringing goodwill and cheer to all.
Club members approved all nominees to open Board positions by acclamation at the annual meeting segment of the luncheon. Congratulations to these new and returning Board Members:
  • Rhonda Poppen (Grant Writing; GRANTdog): Club President 2018-19
  • Casey Blair (Foreign Equity Trading; Feis Options): President-elect
  • Dan Joraanstad (Financial Management; Retired): VP, Membership
  • Sacha Shashi (Nimbus Systems): VP, International Service
  • Kathryn McCall (Attorney; Sideman & Bancroft): VP, Local Community Service
  • Carla Walter (Education; Presidio Graduate School): VP, Development
Best Wishes to all members of the Rotary Club of San Francisco for a wonderful holiday season and a terrific new year!
December 2017 Membership Corner
When you joined Rotary, your potential to make a difference in the world grew exponentially. The top two reasons people join Rotary are to connect with and to give back to their communities. But simply joining is not enough. Step out and share your ideas with the Club and the leadership about a project you think we should pursue.
Consider helping to organize a service project or a social event. Through organizing with others, you get to know people and connect. Even more powerful would be to take on a new role. Join the leadership team by becoming a committee member or volunteer to fill a leadership position. We depend upon you to step up….and your experience of Rotary will step up, the more you volunteer.
Coming up in the New Year, we have several big projects where you can help out and become more involved. Here are a few of the events that need your help: Emergency Services Day in February, World Wide Rotary day in March, Build a Bike day in April. And along the way are many opportunities for projects to work on including the Homeless Prenatal Care project, the Dictionary Project, and the Monday Night Dinner club with clients of the Arc.
We celebrated our new members for December by inducting them at our Holiday Party. All four members are characterized by their skills and past accomplishments. And we hope and depend on them—like you—to take on roles in leading and connecting within our Club.
Mark Barmore has had two careers: one in the law and one in education. He’s sponsored by David Eastis and mentored by Anita Stangl. He brings a rich background in volunteer work. including San Francisco School Volunteers, the Huckleberry House and a tutoring program called First Graduate. He currently runs a nonprofit organization called Baykids Studios, which uses art to help enrich and guide the lives of students. He and his wife live in the Haight Ashbury and have two adult daughters. He wishes to focus his volunteering on the areas of health and education.
Flora Burke, a financial advisor with Merrill Lynch, works at the B of A Tower on California Street and lives in Belmont. Her pride and joy is an 11-year-old daughter named Savvy. Flora is currently a member of the San Carlos Chamber, the Auxiliary for Children, PTA Board, Girl Scouts and more. Flora suggests that she has deep strength in organizing, marketing and fundraising. She says that meeting folks who are involved with helping others is inspiring and motivating for her. Savvy, who accompanied her mother to the Holiday Party, won a gift certificate for $100. Savvy commented about her availability for future meetings: "I can come every Tuesday." That's the spirit! We look forward to seeing both Flora and Savvy in the future.
Bob Hermann has new vistas opening for him as he joins the Club. Bob has had a lengthy career in Healthcare Information Technology at Kaiser and the University of California San Francisco. But he is happy to have just retired from this rewarding career, so that his attention can shift to helping others. He is currently much involved in the electronic medical record conversion for RotaCare, a Rotary-sponsored program which provides healthcare to those in need. He hopes to build the connection with our Club and Rotacare. Like our other new members, Bob has a long list of organizations and projects with which he has been involved. Those include the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, Old First Presbyterian Church, and the Blacktie Club. He says it so well in his application: “I hope to give and in giving, to receive in so many ways…” He also likes to travel with his husband, Dan Joraanstad, and go for walks with their Jack Russell terrier.
Jane Mermelstein has done so much for others. She changed her busy career fueled by travel to a San Francisco-based position in real estate—working with Zephyr—so that she could be more available to help others. With a graduate degree from MIT, she has brought much to bear on behalf of the Dolphin Swimming and Boating Club, Order of St John, Little Jim Club, Baykeepers, and Save the Bay. Being an avid swimmer and having a focus on San Francisco Bay, her passion for clean water projects is clear. She is open to many projects and committees within our Club and has leadership skills to offer.
After a long career spent mostly in education, it seems fitting that Lynn Luckow is Youth Services Chair on the Rotary Club of San Francisco Board and District 5150 RYLA Director.
Lynn was born and spent his early years in the small town of Hettinger, ND, population 1,800, and majored in German, English, and creative writing at the University of North Dakota. At the end of his sophomore year, he was invited by the dean of the freshman college to spend the summer registering and acclimatizing new students to the university. That led to a part-time job talking to prospective students and their parents in North Dakota and Minnesota. By the time he graduated, Lynn had abandoned the idea of teaching German and English, and went to work full-time for the freshman division, continuing to work with students about their options and career paths. That’s when he met his Club sponsor, Membership Chair Dan Joraanstad, who was a member of Delta Upsilon fraternity, which Lynn was advising. On the advice of the dean of students, Lynn earned a master’s degree in higher education administration/college student personnel at Indiana University in Bloomington, working as a graduate scholarship adviser at Delta Upsilon fraternity as part of a full scholarship.
Lynn was recruited back to UND to focus on the registration process and, as dean of continuing education, headed the division of conferences and institutes. In that capacity, he was the only non-lawyer in the state on the legal continuing education committee, the only non-doctor on the medical continuing education committee, the only non-nurse on the nursing continuing education committee, and so on. After four years, he was recruited to the University of Mid-America in Lincoln, NE, which “produced PBS-quality television in the 1980s to extend better education in rural areas of the Midwest.” He says. In that role, he developed a national institute to train people to work with adult learners.
Immediately after moving to San Francisco in 1981, Lynn was recruited by UC San Diego as head of all executive management programs. That’s when he met Jossey Bass, founder of Jossey-Bass, publisher of books on management and leadership, primarily focused at professionals and practitioners, such as teachers, therapists, and counselors. From 1984 to 1991, Lynn progressed from senior editor for adult higher education to director of new business development, then to president and CEO, a position he held until 2000. Lynn then spent three years as CEO of Northern California Grantmakers, which comprises 170 foundations and corporate contribution programs. As a full-time consultant, Lynn has worked with 50 nonprofits nationally to improve their bottom lines.
For eight years, Lynn worked with the Noyce Foundation, the architect behind the Noyce Leadership Institute, which aims to develop the next generation of informal science centers and children’s museums globally, including the Exploratorium, California Academy of Science, and Tech Museum. He has chaired the boards of Project Open Hand and Chanticleer and created the Golden Gate Choral Foundation to support the San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus. After serving as chair of the board of the Craigslist Foundation, an operating foundation focused on improving the effectiveness of nonprofits, Lynn became president and CEO from 2008 to 2012. Since then, he has created and runs LikeMinded, a crowd-funding platform that helps nonprofits raise money and have a greater impact in the community. He is currently serving as interim executive director of The Bread Project, which teaches low-income residents of the Bay Area to work in commercial baking and restaurants.
In 2016, Lynn joined the Rotary Club of San Francisco because he enjoyed the Rotarians he met, finding them to be a diverse group representing different part of the city and different fields. He is especially impressed by Rotary’s commitment to impacting the community and "Service Above Self." Last spring, when the Board decided to separate youth programs from community service and create a Youth Services Committee, they looked to Lynn as chair.
The newly-created committee had several two-hour sessions “to focus on the big question: What impact do we want to have?” He says, “The ultimate answer was leadership development. . . .What can we do to develop leadership capacity in high school students?” The committee is currently working on a curriculum to apply in school and the community, “something this Club can do that no one else is doing,” he says, basically “to take the RYLA experience and make it happen over four years.”
The goal, Lynn says, “is for participants to say, ‘Rotary is where I learned leadership, to have a sense of myself, and to work for the betterment of others, Service Above Self.’”
Best Wishes for the Holidays and a Happy New Year!
We are not meeting on December 19 or December 26.
We wish you all the best, whatever holidays you may celebrate. And Happy New Year to all!
Dinner Club at The Arc: December 20, 2017
Enjoy the opportunity to make dinner and share it with new friends at The Arc. Rotarians are invited to join the fun at one dinner a month: come once, or make it a regular commitment! Open to family and friends who are over 18.
ROTARY LUNCHEON January 2, 2018:  Gary Schlossberg
Gary Schlossberg, Vice President and Senior Economist at Wells Fargo Asset Management, starts the New Year by providing an economic forecast for 2018.
No Rotary Luncheon on January 9, 2018
Because of an unusually large conference that will be in town, the Sir Francis Drake is not be able to accommodate us.
ROTARY LUNCHEON January 16, 2018:  Honoring our Long-Term Rotarians
Come and join us to celebrate our long-term Rotarians. Hear their stories and enjoy the fellowship they generate at every meeting.
Dinner Club at The Arc: January 22, 2018
Enjoy the opportunity to make dinner and share it with new friends at The Arc. Rotarians are invited to join the fun at one dinner a month: come once, or make it a regular commitment! Open to family and friends who are over 18.

ROTARY LUNCHEON January 23, 2018:  Dr. Heather Brostrand
Dr. Heather Brostrand will present an overview of the opioid crisis now sweeping across the nation, her insights regarding what happened, and what some of the solutions are to address this healthcare disaster.