Meeting Notes from February 12, 2019

By Helen Oloroso

Photography by John Searles

President Kristin Brown presided over the meeting, introducing Bill Glader, who gave the Thought for the Day.  Bill reflected on the recent memorial service for Adrian Willoughby of Reba Place Development Corp. and held up a tee shirt that was given to attendees.  The shirt bore the letters, WWAD, “What would Adrian Do?” He noted that it is a tribute to the impact Adrian had on people’s lives.

Kristin gave a brief Strategy Committee report, reiterating that the club has two upcoming evening events relative to our strategic planning initiatives:

  1. March 5 will be an evening dinner meeting (NO MORNING MEETING) at which time there will be various presentations on the state of our club.  Guests are welcome for the price of $20. Time and location are being negotiated now and details will be announced shortly.

  2. April 9 will be an evening WORKING dinner meeting (also NO MORNING MEETING).  Guests are not included and members will spend the meeting working collaboratively to refine and further develop our strategic plan.  We will be meeting at Northwestern University’s engineering school.

NOTE:  The club will pay for the two dinners in lieu of the breakfasts we would normally have on those two dates:  March 5 and April 9.

Roasts & Boasts

Bob Teska boasted his new online book, Downtown Evanston Revitalized, 2007-2018.  The book is available for free download, as is his first book, Downtown Evanston Revitalized 1956 – 2006 at www.teskaassociates.com.

Kathy Tate-Bradish boasted everyone who remembers to use the microphone during the meeting out of consideration for those who have hearing difficulties.

Ann Searles roasted herself for having made travel reservations for the wrong day on a recent trip with John Searles.

Bill Vernon boasted Susan Prout for spending time with his daughter discussing careers in environmental law.

Ann Weatherhead boasted all club members who have spent time volunteering with the overnight shelters in Evanston.

Sergeant-at-Arms Albert Menard announced that he would be stepping down from this role at the end of June and encouraged interested members to contact Helen Oloroso to volunteer to take up the mantle of Sergeant for the next Rotary year.

Program

Radicalizing Philanthropy

Speaker: Xavier Ramey, Chief Executive Officer, Justice Informed, and member, Rotary Club of Maywood-Proviso

Xavier Ramey spoke compellingly of the variety of issues that challenge us to allow people to be visible, to own their own narrative, their own process, and their own resources.  We live in an unreconciled divide: privilege vs. lives on the line. Xavier described his childhood as one in which he was the recipient of philanthropy and grew up in non-profits, a world in which the focus was on goodness, rather than justice.

Xavier had a path to an excellent education and good jobs, one which he would have stayed on if the shooting of Michael Brown had not occurred in Ferguson, Mo., in August, 2014.  Everything in his life was shattered by the death and by his time in Ferguson, a “domestic warzone.” The rejection and lack of acceptance for being black in front of the thousands of rifles aimed at those in the streets resulted in philanthropy breaking for him.  No amount of giving back could solve the problems that led to Ferguson.

He personally wrestled with the conundrum of the job at the University of Chicago, but which never got past the feeling of not belonging, not being accepted as an American.  The conclusion he came to is that the real solution to our problems lies in the need to form specific, individual relationships. Philanthropy is not specific, it is not between individuals.

In addition, the underlying public policies that reinforce the problems of poverty, homelessness, hunger, illiteracy, etc. are not being addressed.  It is not enough to give to poor people; policies need to be developed that employ people, make housing affordable, and meet people’s most basic needs.  

Relationships have not been formed between the individuals who receive philanthropy and those who give to it.  The notion of giving back is a good one, but it does not excuse the need to understand what led to the need for philanthropy in the first place.

The conversation is not new but needs to be re-engaged in over and over again.  Rotary can lend credibility to the conversation because of its reputation and strength as an agent of change.  The challenge for Rotary and other philanthropic organizations is to look for ways to evaluate our traditions and keep those that enable the conversation but eliminate those that stifle the conversation.  Xavier described the work of his consulting firm, Justice Informed, which he started to bring the issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion to the workplace and to communities across the country.

Xavier Ramey and Kristin Brown

Guests and Milestones

Visiting Rotarians

The scribe regrets the omission of the names of visiting Rotarians but will submit them for inclusion in the next week’s issue of The Light.

Other Guests

The scribe regrets the omission of the names of other guests but will submit them for inclusion in the next week’s issue of The Light.

Birthdays

Gary Schulz, February 12

Club Anniversaries

Harvey Newcomb, 18 years

Remote Participants

Kate Collinson

Lesley Peters

Don Crost-Fink

Sponsors