Posted by Dora Dye on Dec 31, 2020
2020 for the Rotary Club of San Francisco began with new activities: Fund the Future Benefit to raise money for the Action Leadership Program with Students (ALPS) and assembling survival kits with Catholic Charities for distribution to homeless families.
Scott Plakun (Management Consulting | The Plakun Group) and the Speakers' Committee introduced us to a new speaker series.  
The San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs played in the Super Bowl. At the Club's Super Bowl Party, David Dye (Management Consulting | Retired) was the lone fan of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Club members were invited to not one but two fabulous galas: one for the Glaucoma Research Foundation and the other for The Arc San Francisco. There was also an evening at the San Francisco Ballet. 
President JT Forbus (Accounting | Bogdan & Frasco) had just returned from the Far West President-elect Training Seminars on March 6-8, 2020 and had had the honor of sitting with Rotary International President Holger Knaack. 
Our Club had planned and was ready to deliver one of its signature events, the Worldwide Rotary Day, and then, the pandemic hit. Everyone sheltered in place, and life, as we knew it, was suddenly cancelled. I was asked to cancel almost every event on our website. In this message from then President Casey Blair (Financial Services:  Private Trading | KCB Trading, LLC), he expressed optimism that we would return in early April 2020.
We saw our beloved meeting place, the Sir Francis Drake Hotel, closed and boarded up. What to do? Technology for meeting online already existed, but we had never had to consider it until now. Our Club took a chance and provided lots of training. We became one of the first Rotary clubs to meet via Zoom. 
We offered speakers who could not have attended easily had we been meeting in person. For example, we had not one but two Rotary International Presidents as speakers:  then RI President Mark Maloney on April 7, 2020 and the current RI President Holger Knaack on June 9, 2020.
Dan Joraanstad (Financial Services: Advising | Retired), President of the San Francisco Rotary Foundation, began an educational series that has been continued through 2020 by Terry Pickering (Financial Services | Retired), Vice President of Membership.
We offered a weekly Sunday social hour via Zoom as well as many other support services to our members who might be suffering financial harm or mental stress caused by the pandemic.
Rick Harrell (Arts Therapy | Heroes' Voices) found a new way to play music with more than one person. See here. So many Veterans were already struggling, and COVID-19 has made their lives even harder. Thanks to Rick for his continued work with Veterans.
Christopher Wiseman (Event Planning | Glaucoma Research Foundation), Vice President of Development, showed us how to make collages while enjoying our favorite beverage.

We welcomed Harmony Ma as our new ALPS Program Manager.
Thanks to technology, we were still able to meet Rotarians in other clubs and worldwide. We attended district, national, and international events without leaving our desk or our families. There was never any jet lag.
One of the best meetings has been that with the First Five Rotary Clubs of the World. The first five Rotary Clubs (Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, and Los Angeles) now meet regularly.
We learned a new acronym - PPE. Dr. Lily Muldoon (Healthcare: Physician | University of California, San Francisco) submitted a proposal for personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect the front-line healthcare workers, and Rotarians were involved in assembling face shields and distributing PPE. 
Susan Dean (Healthcare: Nursing Services | Retired), Vice President of International Service, along with the ALPS group, led a youth project in Kenya to manufacture face masks and distribute them to local residents while addressing the growing problem of domestic and gender violence, which had been exacerbated by COVID-19-related, shelter-in-place restrictions. She had some of the masks sent here to be sold to us.
Getting a mask as a gift became the best gift ever. For a while, it was impossible to buy masks. Hand sanitizer was suddenly gone from all stores, and we traded recipes on how to make our own. Then, the ingredients to make hand sanitizer became hard to find. Cleaning and paper supplies were just not available; empty shelves were all that we saw for months.
Bob Hermann (Information Technology: Administration | Retired UCSF), Vice President of Community Service, found new projects and ways to do them safely. We still volunteered at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank, Rotary Meadows, the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, the Homeless Prenatal Program, and The Arc San Francisco. We also supported these organizations financially. We still walked to end Alzheimer's. We assembled 4,500 hygiene kits and distributed them to the homeless throughout San Francisco. We donated blood.
The pandemic did change lives and appearances. If you were fortunate to still have a job, you learned new ways to perform that job. If you were a parent, you also became your child's teacher without warning or preparation. Eventually, we all showed up to a Rotary e-meeting in either a quarantined haircut or in a haircut that had been overgrowing since March. Looking good was cause for suspicion.
Some of our members did move away and leave our Club. However, since March 2020, we have inducted 13 new members. 
We awarded scholarships to the first class of high school seniors who did not have a prom and an actual graduation ceremony. See here
Our Club earned District 5150 awards. See here. We also earned the Rotary International Citation.
We recognized and honored Rotarians of the Month. Tim Hornbecker (Nonprofit Management | Retired, The Arc CA) was named District 5150 Rotarian of the Month in July 2020.
We still celebrated the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations. We had a Halloween Party, and Anita Stangl (Medical Services | Alliance for Smiles) gave us tips on how to prepare a Thanksgiving meal. Thanks to Eric Schmautz (Banking: Management | Wells Fargo) for making the Thanksgiving with The Arc San Francisco possible and to Stephanie Schmautz (Elder Care and Senior Services | The Carlisle) for making the Annual Holiday Party happen.
We joined the other Rotary clubs in San Francisco and took a stance against the injustice and the long history of inequality in America. See here.  
We experienced orange and dark, smoky skies and downloaded a new app to monitor air quality. Joining our RCAT group seems more important than ever now.
We began a committee to help end human trafficking.
Our country held elections in November, and the winners will lead in 2021. Our Club elected new Board members in December to fill vacancies for the next Rotary year. Gosh, we did a lot together in a year of so many obstacles. Thank you for accompanying me through the challenging year of 2020. I wish all of you a healthy and happy 2021.