"Making a Difference" in 2017-2018

Dear Fellow Rotarians:
Each new Rotary year some 33,000 Rotary clubs around the world change leadership, a unique feature among organizations, both non-profit and profit-driven. Our new Rotary International President Ian Riseley, like presidents before him, brings a new world-wide theme for us to embrace and share with our community. He also brings from our Rotary International Board strategic priorities which are important to our continued success, growth and service around the world. In this month’s first Presidential message, I would like to share President Riseley’s theme and strategic priorities.
In the July 2017 edition of the Rotarian magazine, President Ian Riseley introduces the 2017-2018 theme, Making a Difference in the world. As he explains, the more we become involved in Rotary through our service, the better Rotarians we become and the more of a difference Rotary makes to each of us. He goes on to add that “Rotary challenges us to become better people: to become ambitious in the ways that matter, to strive for higher goals, and to incorporate Service Above Self into our daily lives.”  Since my early days in Rotary, the most common characteristic of a true Rotarian is service and especially Service Above Self. At the individual, Club, District, Zone and Rotary International levels, around the world, service is truly what “Making a Difference” is. 
The Rotary International (RI) Board has established three strategic priorities as an organization:
  1. Support and strengthen clubs;
  2. Focus and increase our humanitarian service; and
  3. Enhance Rotary’s public image and awareness.
In Riseley’s article, he elaborates on steps being taken in these three areas to achieve these strategic objectives. Also, of importance, is increasing our membership worldwide and at a club level with attention toward broadening our gender balance and average age, while reflecting the make-up of the communities in which we serve. Two other key focus points made were building long term “sustainability” into the service projects we perform so that after we are through others are able to continue without ongoing support from us. The second key point was to maintain our focus of “Ending Polio.” As Riseley states “Eradicating polio is the ultimate in sustainable service.” and “It is and must remain our No.1 priority until the job is done.”
The third priority to enhance Rotary’s public image is critical to achieving the first two. Rotary clubs, including Richmond, have been reluctant to publicize the good we have done and are doing in our community. We are shy and humble and see service as an individual action generating pride within us and our fellow Rotarians. As societal changes have occurred over the past 112 years and continue to change, the concepts of Rotary in the United States have diminished, but the importance has remained. We as Rotary members and individuals must bring our stories and accomplishments to others and share our pride and enthusiasm to serving our community and support of others around the world. Actively promoting the good of what we are doing and being people of innovation and action, we will support and strengthen our clubs as well as increase our humanitarian service around the globe and pass forward Rotary from generation to generation.
In my year as Club President, we will engage all members in service projects, fundraisers, programs, socials and fellowships where each member will be able to use our individual talents toward supporting and serving our community with pride and distinction.  I look forward to working with each of you and in Rotary: Making A Difference.
Click here to see RI President Ian Riseley's message: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EU0cxARlFfw
Larry Pittman
President 2017-2018
Rotary Richmond, TX