Posted by John Dean on Jun 18, 2020
The June 16, 2020 virtual meeting of the Rotary Club of San Francisco was called to order at 12:15 PM by President Casey Blair (Financial Services: Private Trading | KCB Trading, LLC). Over 62 members and guests participated on the Zoom meeting, including a visiting Rotarian from Scotland.
President Casey began the meeting by mentioning the United States Supreme Court decision announced on Monday, June 15, 2020, extending Title VII of the US Civil Rights Act of 1964 to LGBTQ citizens. This momentous decision by the Court impacts millions of Americans, including many members of our own Club.
George Washington High School Interact Club
Nancy Deng, the current and incoming President of the George Washington High School (GWHS) Interact Club, gave an interesting review of the many activities conducted by her club this past year. In addition to several social action projects (such as serving meals at St. Anthony’s Dining Room), the club also had several fundraising events (including serving refreshments to runners at the SF Marathon). Nancy announced that the GWHS Interact Club has decided to donate $850 to Alliance for Smiles. See this story for more information on the GWHS Interact Club.
President Casey thanked all of the Interact advisors from our Club: David Dye (Management Consulting | Retired) and Mary Liu (Real Estate: Sales | Vanguard Properties/JM Real Estate Group) at Lowell High School, and Joseph Fang (Financial Services: Advising | World Financial Group) and Lilian Tsi-Stielstra (Insurance Services | Retired) at George Washington High School. 
Sale of Kenyan Face Masks
President Casey introduced Susan Dean (Healthcare: Nursing Services | Retired), incoming Vice President of International Service. Susan reported that the International Service Committee is “alive and well” and continuing to think outside the box during these challenging times. The International Committee has joined forces with the Youth Services Committee on a unique project. Over the past four months, Susan and Connor Krone (Education: Management | Connor Krone, Inc.) have served as mentors in the Action Leadership Program for Students (“ALPS”), mentoring a group of enthusiastic youth in Kenya.
The youth devised a project to aide their local community, manufacturing face masks and distributing them to local residents while addressing the growing problem of domestic and gender violence, which has been exacerbated by COVID-19-related, shelter-in-place restrictions. The masks are made from colorful local Kenyan fabrics and are adorned with inspirational and uplifting slogans. Masks are scarce in Kenya, and the youth distribute these masks with a card outlining social service resources.
Susan announced that these stylish and inspirational masks are available for purchase by members and friends of our Club No. 2. Club No. 1 in Evanston, IL and the Rotary Club of Saratoga, CA have also offered to support this project. All proceeds benefit our Club. During the meeting, the site to purchase these masks was posted on
Upcoming Events
President Casey announced several upcoming events:
  • The Great Climate Debate on June 17, 2020 starting at 11 AM.
  • The RI Virtual Convention on June 20-26, 2020.
  • The Educational Series on July 9, 2020 starting at 12 noon, featuring Bob Hermann, incoming Vice President of Community Service, who will speak on engaging in community service.
  • District 5150 Rotary Means Business will present a virtual panel discussion on July 18, 2020 starting at 10 AM. The topic of "Envisioning a New Normal in Business Leadership and Innovation" is timely. More information is available here.
Rotary Awards
President Casey then introduced Frank Yoke, Vice President of Development. Frank announced that members of our Club have donated in excess of $200,000 over the past four years. He showed a brief video of the many projects funded by The Rotary Foundation (TRF) from international medical missions and water projects to local elementary school reading programs. Today we honored a number of generous members of our Club. Presenting the awards were President Casey, Past District Governor Jayne Hulbert, current District Governor Sue Rokaw, and District Governor Nominee Designate Gary Chow.
The following donated up to $1,000 to TRF and received a Paul Harris Fellow Award
  • Jim Bradley (Insurance: Property | Retired), Paul Harris +3
  • Laine Hendricks (Public Relations and Marketing | County of Marin), Paul Harris +5
  • Harold Hoogasian (Retail: Florist | Hoogasian Flowers), Paul Harris +6
  • John Mount (Management Consulting | Win-Vector), Paul Harris +1
  • Lily Muldoon (Healthcare: Physician | University of California, San Francisco), Paul Harris +1; 
  • David Shen (Healthcare: Dentistry | OrthoWorks Orthodontics Group), Paul Harris +3
  • Frank Yoke (Development | San Francisco Bay Area Council, Boy Scouts of America), Paul Harris +2.
The next award was the Paul Harris Society Award that recognizes Rotary members and friends of TRF who contribute $1,000 or more each Rotary year to the Annual Fund, Polio Plus Fund, or approved Foundation grants. Joining the 18 current Paul Harris Society members from our Club are: 
  • Tom Brunner (Nonprofit Management | Glaucoma Research Foundation)
  • Kevin Leong (Development | University of San Francisco)
  • Wendy Ross (Banking: Management | Bank of San Francisco)
  • Angela Warren (Law: Immigration | Warren Law Firm).
Receiving the Paul Harris Major Donor Award for total contributions of at least $10,000 were Bill Poppen (Banking: Management | MUFG Union Bank) and Rhonda Poppen (Grant Writing | GRANTDog).
The Paul Harris Benefactor Award Level Three (indicating the recipients have contributed at least $50,000 to TRF) was awarded to both Dan Joraanstad (Financial Services: Advising | Retired) and Bob Hermann (Information Technology: Administration | Retired).
District Governor Sue Rokaw presented The Rotary Foundation Legacy Award to Phyllis Nusz (Development | PJ Enterprises). Phyllis has been a longtime Rotarian and a member of our Club for over ten years. She has served in a variety of Rotary positions including service as the first female District Governor of District 5220 and has been active for many years in charitable projects and humanitarian endeavors around the world. Phyllis has committed over $1 million to The Rotary Foundation Endowment Fund. 
President Casey put together the following slideshow to honor each award and the winners. Congratulations to all and thank you!
Guest Speaker
Bebo White (Education: University | Stanford University (SLAC)) introduced Emperor Norton, who took us on a whimsical tour of “Emperor Norton’s San Francisco Time Machine”. Emperor Norton cited Oscar Wilde’s famous line that “Everyone who disappears is subsequently seen in San Francisco.” 
Emperor Norton built and lost a sizeable fortune in San Francisco after arriving as a youth from Scotland in the early 1800’s. Finding himself essentially bankrupt in 1859, he declared himself “Emperor Norton” and began living the part. He dressed himself in an old military uniform, complete with a plumed hat. For the next 20 years, he was in fact treated as the Emperor of the US. He cut a regal figure, often dining for free and issuing his own currency. Despite his eccentricities, his ideas often proved prescient: among them, he called for an international assembly of all nations and for a Christmas tree to be erected during the holiday season in Union Square---both of which came to pass. 
On January 8, 1880, Emperor Norton collapsed and died. Local newspapers proclaimed, “The king is dead!” An estimated 30,000 residents attended the viewing at the funeral home, while an estimated one million people lined the city streets for his funeral procession. According to legend, as his casket was lowered into the ground, San Francisco experienced a solar eclipse.
The legend of Emperor Norton continues today. He is immortalized in a plaque at the Transbay Terminal and joins a long list of legendary San Francisco characters. As Emperor Norton commented, “Any day in San Francisco is better than any day anywhere else.” 
$20 for Twenty Seconds
Those pledging today included: 
  • Bob Hermann, who contributed $20 in honor of Rachel Kantosky (Information Technology: Administration | University of California, San Francisco), who is leaving our Club for a job opportunity in Norway, where she will lead a team developing health care data systems; and $20 because he hopes members will want to engage in community projects knowing we are focused on maintaining safety in these challenging times.
  • John Mathers (Management Consulting | eVo Associates), who mentioned that the recent statement issued by the presidents of all San Francisco Rotary clubs generated significant favorable publicity. The clubs are currently planning a “listening event” on the topics of racial equality and equal justice, where participants can hear directly from people of color. The event will be moderated by well-known media personality, Noah Griffin. President Casey offered to cover John’s $20 since the advice of our Club’s Presidents' Council was the impetus for the upcoming event.
  • Lynn Luckow (Development | LikeMinded.Org), who wanted to honor Susan Dean and Connor Krone for the wonderful job they have done with the ALPS Kenya Project.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:30 PM. 
Photos and editing by Dora Dye