Posted by Valrie Wafer, Director , Rotary International

Dear Rotarains, Rotaractors and the whole Rotary family in District 7070,

As we begin the new Rotary year that Opens Opportunities under the leadership of President Holger Knaack, the moment is ours. A few recent quotes from our leadership have inspired many of us to look at Rotary through a new lens.
Past President, Mark Maloney- “I have never been so proud to be a Rotarian as I am today” General Secretary, John Hewko, when speaking about change -“We were built for this”.
President, Holger Knaack – “Now is the time to put everything on the table, test new approaches, and prepare Rotary for the future” ......

 As we look forward, through this new lens, we have the framework of our Strategic Plan and our specific Impact Goals for the next five years to guide us.

What we didn’t envision is continued physical distancing and online meetings. Our impact on the world and our communities during COVID-19 is to be admired. With the support of over $19 M in grants from the Rotary Foundation, Rotarian donations, redirected DDF (District Desginated Funds) and Global Grants, we have made a measurable impact. I am so proud of the community response initiatives that each of you have sprung into action with. Challenge: Have each club report to District leadership their impact on the community; volunteer hours and funds. The best public relations happen at the grassroots, in our communities by our clubs. This is our chance to celebrate and highlight our service.

COVID-19 has given many of us a time to pause, re-evaluate, and realize the precious relationships in our lives. It has also highlighted current world events that have created division. It is difficult to ignore the racism to the many under represented demographics as well as deeply rooted systemic racism in our institutions.

But where there is tragedy there also comes opportunity for change. We are seeing movement; we are seeing the next generation seeking and demanding change. We are seeing history.

I was very proud of Rotary International for their statement released on social media regarding racism.

The statement recognizes the issue and indicates we can all do better, that we stand for peace and justice. We will listen and contribute to positive change. But we can do more. The Board has agreed to schedule a special meeting this month to establish an action plan to support and assist clubs to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in their membership, participant experience and address social injustice within their communities.

Be a leader in your community, speak out against racism. Stay true to our core values.

In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist- Angela Y. Davis

I am excited for the journey ahead. I look forward to being a voice of change on the Rotary International Board and I look forward to working with each of you as we Open Opportunities for Rotary.

Yours In Rotary,


Valarie Wafer

RI Director

Rotary Club of Collingwood, South Georgian Bay