At the Oct. 21 meeting Dave Parsons talked about Swaziland in Where in the World and Sue Cronin and Mike Messier talked about online giving and lending opportunities for Rotarians and others.


We enjoyed having a new microphone as of this meeting.

World Polio Day

Pam Ehly shared her polio story.  In 1952 Pam’s family went to New Orleans to visit her grandmother.  Pam was not responding normally and the grandmother recognized something was wrong with Pam and got her in to the hospital right away.  It was prime season for polio. At the hospital Pam was given a spinal tap and polio was confirmed.  She was sick for 6 weeks with what turned out to be quite mild symptoms that left some weakness on one side.  The polio virus is highly contagious.  For sufferers the muscles can stop working, including in the worst cases, the muscles that control breathing.  The worst sufferers had to spend their time in an iron lung to help them breath.  Pam was lucky she did not have symptoms as severe as that, but she is, nonetheless, a polio survivor.

In honor of Polio Day MidwestOne Bank, Great Western and Hills Bank will all have something about the day on their signboards.

Remember our tour of UIHC Museum and the iron lung displayed at the hospital on Friday, Oct. 24. Park in lot 4 and got to the 8th floor using elevator F.


Mark said there were 10 members of our club at Joint Service Club luncheon and 13 at the grants meeting.  We were very well represented at both.

Chris Ockenfels said they are working on delivery of over 8700 coats. Stay tuned for an announcement about helping with getting coats off the truck and into the FAMSCO warehouse and also on distribution for Broadway Center families to be held at the Children’s Museum early in November.

Thurs morning is the Board meeting and Thursday evening is the Fireside Chat at Jean Bartley’s to help new members learn all about Rotary and our club’s activities.

Nov 8 is the District Foundation dinner at the Holiday Inn in Coralville. Nov 3 is the registration deadline.  October 21st meeting was the last day for orders of nuts.  Brian will place the order on Oct 22 so nuts will arrive prior to Thanksgiving.

Casey Cook noted the Grants Committee would meet directly after the Oct 21 meeting.

Where in the World

Dave Parsons chose Swaziland to highlight because in high school in 1969-70 there was an exchange student at West High from there.  Rotary  began in Africa in 1921 with the RC of Johannesburg. The first club in Swaziland started in the city of Manzini in 1956.  It is in the southern-most district in Africa, District 9250.

Swaziland is the 150th largest country in world.  Ethnically it is made up of Swazi people and then a population of mixed race and some people of European descent.  In 1967 it received independence and prior to that was a British protectorate.  Like many African nations it people suffer tremendously from high HIV/AIDs infection.  The average age of death is 50.

Rotarians in the News

Congratulations to the two or three members who completed the Run for the Schools


Sue Cronin and Mike Messier talked about online giving.   Mike talked about how his family decided to give as a family to a charity through an online portal.  Each year the choice rotates among several members of the family.  They do this instead of giving generally meaningless gifts to each other during the holidays.  Mike recommends and as reliable donor portals. 

Donorchoose  originated in 2000 with Charles Best a teacher in the Bronx.  It helps out teachers looking for a little money for things not funded through their schools.  Best during his initial year asked for donations of $5 per person.  Oprah picked up that cause and touted the site on her show and within 37 minutes the site had $250,000 and it crashed it was so busy.  In September 2007 Stephen Colbert became its spokesperson and now it is a huge, successful site for charitable donations.  In April 2011 it was selected as one of 50 most innovative companies in the world.  For example, after the Joplin tornado all classroom rebuilding projects were funded through  You can direct the money you donate to a specific project described at the site.

Sue Cronin discussed the Printer Cartridge Recycling Program and contribution on behalf of our Rotary Club to, which is a micro-credit site.  Sue got started when her son and a friend decided to raise money for the poor and the printer cartridge recycling program was one of the things they came up with. Now that they have graduated and moved on Sue runs this project herself and moved over the proceeds to benefit projects of AM Rotary.  She had ready access to cartridges at UI initially through her work in information technology.  Eventually the University started to deny access to their printer cartridges even for charitable donation, but she has carried on with cartridges coming in through Pam Ehly from ICCSD and from other Rotarians.  We would like to see if we could expand this program to include other businesses around the area where we can collect laser cartridges that are name brand, not remanufactured cartridges. Through the Printer Cartridge Recycling Program we were able to donate $400 to Kiva, as well as sponsor a RYLA student for $400 and donate to the Can Do Project.

Kiva is a non-profit with a mission to alleviate poverty through sharing credit in small amounts to entrepreneurs and people looking to start and grow businesses around the world.  Small loans get repaid 98% of the time and donors often will loan again.  There is a field partner who is a local expert in microfinance and they meet with the potential borrowers.  It is the field partners who put the approved requests online.  Lenders find the requests online and make the loans and track progress toward payback online.  The loans when repaid and can either have the money withdrawn or the lender can choose to fund another loan. Each loan requests includes a risk assessment.  In some cases you can designate the loan to a group and the group divides it evenly among the members and if one doesn’t come through with repayment the others are obligated to repay on their behalf.

Kiva does not take a cut of each loan, but funded through optional donations from the lenders and through grants.  On behalf of our club Sue formed an AM Rotary Team and selected 9 recipients in 6 countries chosen for the $400 total loans.  This giving will keep on giving because as loans are paid off we can make new loans.  The more we loan the better our team is represented in the team rankings.

Since Kiva was founded in 2005 over 1million lenders have participated and over $600M loans have been made to people in 79 countries.  Kiva has received the highest rating in Charity Navigator. 

Contact Sue about how to make your own team and make loans through Kiva.

Liz Nichols