Iowa City Noon Rotary

Our Meeting was called to order by President Ryan Bell
The attendees sang “America the Beautiful” and “Happy Birthday” with Rtn. Jim Conard on the piano
President Ryan Bell reminded the club that the survey results are in and all results will be released to the club on Monday. The Board reviewed the results this week and looks forward to implementing some of the feedback.
April 22nd and 23rd there will be tree plantings. Saturday, we will plant trees in Coralville as part of the District Conference. We will plant more trees in Napoleon Park in Iowa City on Sunday.
Rtn. Heather Croskrey announced that the Ronald McDonald House is having their grand renovation ribbon cutting tonight at 4:30. All are invited.
Rtn. Linda Farkas announced that last night’s RYLA fundraiser at Stella was a huge success and thanked the club for coming out to support the scholarships.
Rtn. Verne Folkmann made an announcement from the Rotary Foundation: Mike Hebel, a retired police officer and his real-estate mogul wife, Gityjoon have been part of Rotary in San Francisco for over 30 years, during which they have donated $1million to TRF. The Hebels have included TRF in their charitable giving and, in a Rotary magazine report, the couple explains why they feel happy to give to TRF. They are proud of the fact that Charity Navigator has given the Foundation a four-star rating, for 14 years in a row. Not only that, 89% of the money given to TRF went to programs and Mike emphasizes that, “…the standard is Rotary’s standard.”  Mike avows that TRF’s “financial reporting is done very well” and the money donated by Rotarians is “being guarded well, used well, protected well, invested well.” Gityjoon Hebel adds that they believe in the Foundation “…and the whole of Rotary. The money goes to good use, and we have seen it. That trust for me is the most important part.” That same trust, consistent with her spiritual philosophy of “love all, serve all, help ever, hurt never” and embedded in Rotary’s motto of Service Above Self, is Gityjoon Hebel’s religion, and “That’s what I live by.”
The Hebels have included a bequest for $10 million in their wills and encourage other Rotarians to join the Legacy Society, which recognizes those who promise a gift of $1million or more to TRF in their estate plans. Mike agrees with his wife, saying “You will never see a hearse with a luggage rack on it…You can’t take it with you.”
Rtn. Kate Moreland introduced Project Better Together. It’s been almost three years to the day since the world shut down in 2020. During the height of the pandemic, every Friday morning, local leaders came together with other local organizations to respond to the community needs and help recover. Better Together sponsored local gift cards to assist local restaurants, Adopt a Healthcare Worker, and many more initiatives.
Once the immediate crisis passed, Project Better Together wanted to build of their success and pivot into the future. A diverse steering committee was formed, surveys were performed, and community trends were analyzed.
Cady Gerlach presented Project Better Together 2030 All In Vision. She is the Executive Director of Project Better Together 2030 (BT2030). The five focus areas of initiative are to be: (1) champions of the natural environment, (2) authentic, vibrant neighborhoods and districts, (3) a well-connected mobile region, (4) a thriving inclusive economic ecosystem, and (5) re-imagined human and social services.
The organization has been busy meeting with city, county, and nonprofit staff. They have formed a Community Development Corporation and all funds are kept at the Community Foundation of Johnson County. Their first project will be a 3D printed affordable house on the Eastside of Iowa City. This will be the first multi-story, multi-unit 3D printed home in America.
They are launching their Childcare Wage Enhancement project with local partners that pays an additional $2/hour to every childcare worker to increase the professionalism and sustainability of childcare workers without adding cost to families (the average cost of childcare for 2 children in our community is $26,000 annually). The Youth Community Leadership Program is already under way in our local schools.
At our tables, the Club brainstormed ideas about how Rotary’s own initiatives fit alongside BT2030.
Stay connected and learn more:
The meeting ended at 1:00pm with President Ryan Bell leading the assembly in reciting The Four Way Test.
Visiting Rotarians: None
Guests: Ashley Hopkins (Linda Farkas); Laura Bergus (Anna Moyers-Stone); Jim Jackson (Heather Croskrey); Antonio Marcilino (Ryan Bell)
Program: Devin van Holsteijn; Attendance: Nancy Droll
Please forward any newsworthy items and/or photos to Janice Baldes to include in the weekly slide decks emailed to members prior to each meeting and shown just before Rotary meetings at the Club. You can send information to: Janice Baldes
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