President’s Letter – September 15, 2019

President’s Letter – September 15, 2019

Dear Fellow Rotarians,

A feeling of belonging requires proximity.  Author and historian Jill Lepore made that observation during an interview on the Econtalk podcast a few months ago. This past Sunday, I think a lot of us felt that sense of belonging when we were at the first annual Santa Barbara Country Music Festival. You didn’t have to be a country music fan to feel the strong sense of community, being together on a beautiful day, in a beautiful setting, for an event that could only have been in Santa Barbara. To me, it felt more like a community picnic than a music festival. 

With a strong turnout from Rotary Club of Santa Barbara volunteers, I also felt a sense of belonging to our great club that day. Steve Petersen, thank you so much for your steadfast perseverance over the past five years to bring the event to Santa Barbara. With the promise of a minimum $5,000.00 contribution to our club, the investment of our time behind the scenes in preparation for the event, and our time and labor during the festival, seems to me to be very good value.That makes me think—what is a reasonable trade off of volunteer time for value received? Each of us has a price, the old saying goes. With the opportunity for a greater financial return next year, will more of our members be willing to roll up their sleeves?  What else are you willing to do as a volunteer for the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara?

Whether it is board service, helping to run a club meeting, organizing a community service activity, raising money, writing a press release, taking pictures, being a greeter, or offering an inspirational moment, these are all volunteer activities that make our club fun, vibrant, strong, and viable for the long run. They help us keep and attract the kinds of people we want in our Rotary community. So many of our members contribute in many different ways. Those contributions are deeply valued and appreciated.

We each have different motivations, skills to offer, and ways of finding satisfaction in contributing to our club. If you are asked to give more of your time and expertise, or in a different way, what will you say “yes” to? 

During that Econtalk podcast, Jill Lepore also said that conversations hold a community together. This Friday we are going to have an important community conversation at our City Council Candidates Forum. A Rotary club must serve the needs and interests of its community. A Rotary club where business and civic leaders, activists, philanthropists, and elected officials come together to listen, learn, collaborate, and support each other is a club that will attract new members. Is there someone you would like to invite to Friday’s forum? If so, please let me know so that we can make sure there are enough seats and meals ready. Let’s all be a part of that conversation on Friday. After all, it is conversations that hold our community together.

Warmest regards,


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