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News From Rotary International

Restoring vision to hundreds in China
Seeing an elderly Tibetan woman weep with joy when cataract surgery restored her vision after 10 years is the kind of moment Dave Razo will never tire of. For several summers Razo, a member of the Rotary Club of Warner Robins, Georgia, USA, traveled to rural northwest China with a team from Georgia-based nonprofit Gansu Inc., to provide free sight-restoring cataract surgery to some of the country's poorest residents. In 2012, after 22 years and 6,000 successful procedures, Gansu's founder, ophthalmologist William Conrad, retired and discontinued the organization's operations. But Razo didn't...
World Polio Day: Health officials laud polio eradication achievements, point to disease’s endgame
After a year of shrinking polio cases worldwide, the crippling disease is now on the cusp of being eradicated, said top health officials at Rotary's second annual World Polio Day event on 24 October. At a special Livestream program -- World Polio Day: Make History Today -- Rotary leaders joined global health experts and celebrity singers to hail the progress of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. After nearly 30 years, the GPEI, which includes Rotary, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is on...
Dynamic young club uses social media to grow
Erin Mills had just finished teaching for the day in Montevideo, Uruguay, when her smartphone buzzed with a message. An impromptu gathering to watch Uruguay's World Cup soccer match was being organized. Through the power of a mobile messaging app, a majority of the Rotary Club of Plaza Matriz had soon assembled at a member's home to munch on baked goods and chips while rooting for their national team. That enthusiasm and ability to draw a crowd has made the club, which just received its charter in July, a success in the country's capital city. Made up almost entirely of young professionals,...
Previewing the World Polio Day Livestream event
Rotary celebrates World Polio Day on 24 October with a Livestream event featuring expert speakers and celebrity performers. Hosted by Time magazine science and technology editor Jeffrey Kluger, the Chicago event also includes a global status update on the fight to end polio and the challenges that remain, as well as information about joining Rotary's historic campaign. The program, being held before a live audience at 18:30 Chicago time (UTC-5), includes a performance from Tessanne Chin, 2013 winner of the TV show "The Voice," an introductory message and videotaped performance by reggae star...
Creating works of art helps refugee children repair their lives
When asked to describe his future, a refugee child from Iraq draws a picture of himself as a doctor. Another child uses colorful paints to depict happy memories of his former life in Iraq. Both children are among the 200,000 displaced Iraqis who now live in Jordan, a country that has become a safe haven for those fleeing oppression and war in neighboring Palestine, Syria, and Iraq. Alexandra Dawley, a former volunteer with the Collateral Repair Project in Jordan, emphasizes how something as simple as an art project can help young refugees adjust to their new lives in a foreign country. With...

Welcome to our Club! Celebrating 90 Years of Service.

Come join us for lunch, fellowship and service.


Service Above Self

We meet Thursdays at 12:15 PM
Winnetka Community House
620 Lincoln Avenue
Tyrrell Room (winter) 111A (summer)
Winnetka, IL  60093
United States
District Site
Venue Map

Club News

The meeting was one of the best-attended meetings of the year with 36 members in attendance.  We had two guests join us; former member Chuck Young, President of Hadley School for the Blind and Colleen Wunderlich, his Director of The Forsythe Center for Employment and Entrepreneurship.  Chuck said that he was interested in a corporate membership for Hadley.  We look forward to once again having Hadley represented at our weekly meetings.
President Bob Baker introduced Marie & Jim Newman who own Prosperáre Enterprises, which has started a wholesale gelato company.  They brought two employees, including the gelato barista, and offered samples of about six of their 120 flavors, which the members seemed to enjoy. 
Joe Fell spoke of his one-month trip to England and the warm welcome he and his wife received from a local Rotary club. 
Patti Van Cleave made a paid announcement about an upcoming event at the Wilmette Historical Museum co-sponsored by the Winnetka Historical Society.  The two organizations are presenting author Dr. Mary Barr who will discuss her new book Friends Disappear: The Battle for Racial Equality in Evanston
Barb Tubekis reminded members of the Volunteer Center’s Make a Difference Day on Oct. 25.
Rebecca Wolf, Director of Winnetka’s Public Library, proudly announced the opening of the library’s new facility called “The Studio.”  This space, in the lower level, is devoted to the arts.  The equipment in The Studio includes two 3d Printers, a custom embroidery machine, a laser cutter and engraver, a vinyl cutter, a large format poster printer, 4 sewing machines, slide view, film scanner and film-to-digital converter plus a variety of software programs.  The Studio will be open during regular library hours.
The day’s speaker was Alan Berkowsky, Winnetka’s Fire Chief.  His presentation was about research into how to deal with fires, some of it conducted at the UL lab in Northbrook.  In 1972 the Nixon administration commissioned a study that resulted in the publication, “American Burning,” This document resulted in improved building codes as well as maintenance codes.  The Chief went through some of the most disastrous fires in the Chicago area for the past century starting with Iroquois Theater fire where over 600 people were killed.  The theater had been proclaimed fireproof but many doors opened inward and many of the victims were piled at the exits.  In 1958 the Our Lady of Angels fire resulted in 93 deaths and 77 injured.  This fire resulted in eliminating glass transoms.  Today in older buildings these have been closed and boarded-up so they do not become a source of oxygen to feed a fire.  And, as recently as 2003 the E2 Night Club fire in Rhode Island resulted in 21 young people being crushed to death as some exits were blocked.
As a result of these fires and what current research had revealed we now have stricter building codes. Large public and commercial buildings must have evacuation plans and must conduct evacuation drills.  The Chief asked if we felt that we are safer today than in the past.  Evidence that we are safer would be that there are fewer fires today, that all commercial and public buildings have elaborate alarm systems, more buildings have sprinkling systems and more homes have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.  Yet, we still have homes that do not have proper detectors or they don't have working batteries, systems are not always well maintained.  In the ‘old days’ more of our furniture was made of natural materials such as wood and wool that have a longer flashover time, an average of 29 minutes.  Today with so many synthetics being used for furnishings the flashover time has been reduced to less than five minutes. In a typical home as some synthetics are like solidified gasoline. 
For commercial buildings Chief Berkowsky urged that they be outfitted with a sprinkler system, that the fire alarm system be well maintained, that trash not be allowed to accumulate and that owners make sure all entry and exit points are clear.  He said some business owners are afraid that a fire in one part of the building would set off all of the sprinklers and ruin their entire inventory, but he assured the audience that each sprinkler head is individually activated and that smoke causes far more damage than water.  In homes the kitchen is a primary source of fires, he also urged us to make sure all appliances are in working order and that we have working smoke detectors on all floors and in each bedroom.  Candles and space heaters should be used with caution.  He indicated that his department is very willing to do an inspection at no cost for any business or homeowner.  We should also be wary when home repairs are being done as painters, plumbers and roofers are all known to use torches which can start fires, often only smoldering for sometime and then bursting into flames when the worker is long gone.
We are grateful for Chief Berkowsky and his leadership of the Winnetka Fire Department in keeping our community safe.

Thanks to Keith Reed, Mark Kotz, Tom Evans, Mike Malloy, David Birkenstein, Dave Gotaas and Rich Lalley for helping to promote Rotary and our Operation Warm project to provide hundreds of local kids with the happiness and warmth of a new winter coat!  We raised awareness of our club, gave out a few "4-Way Test" coloring books and raise over $100 for new coats.


Your contribution will help us provide new winter coats to needy children in Chicago and on the North Shore.

Again this year, we ill be bringing the happiness and warmth of new Operation Warm winter coats to children living in need in the Chicago metro area. In 2013, our club provided new coats to 780 children.  This year, our plans are to provide coats to children served by several local organizations:
When children have a new coat, their self-esteem gets a boost and they are empowered to attend school and partake in outdoor play on cold winter days.  This simple and inexpensive gift does so much for a child.
Only through the generosity of our members and their network can we accomplish our goal for providing new coats to 700 or more area children.  Please donate generously; each $20 gift allows another child to receive the gift of warmth.
You may donate online via PayPal or by check made payable to Winnetka Northfield Rotary Charitable Foundation (WNRCF) sent to 620 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka IL 60093.


Our Club's Charitable Foundation is now accepting Community Grants applications for funding for the 2014-15 funding year. Applications are due by November 30, with grants to be awarded in March, 2015. Our Foundation typically funds about 15 organizations, both local and international. Applicants are required to have a club member as a sponsor of their organization. This person can be a board member, volunteer or donor to the organization. Grants are typically $500-2,000. A list of last year's recipients is below.

Any questions? Email Patti Van Cleave, Foundation Chair at

The application can be found by clicking here

2014 grants awarded
Allowance for Good
Erika’s Lighthouse
Good News Partners
Hadley School for the Blind
Holy Family Ministries
Lawrence Hall Youth Services
Meals at Home
Midwest CareCenter
Northeastern Illinois University Scholarship with Right Start 4 Kids  
Rebuilding Together
Samaritan Counseling Center
Volunteer Center
Winnetka Community House 


Are you thinking about joining our club, but have some questions?  Or have you recently joined and want to know more about how things work?  Check our our new FAQs:

Still have questions?  Send them to and we'll send you an answer and update our FAQs.



Last year, our club helped fund a Rotary Foundation Matching Grant program supporting a Rotary Club sponsored prosthesis clinic in Bolivia.  Our club's funds were matched with funds from The Rotary Foundation; $2.50 for each $1 we contributed.  Take a look at the impact this program has had on one gentleman!

Our club was able to participate in the matching grant program because our members contribute each year the the Annual Programs Fund of The Rotary Foundation.  You can make a contribution via PayPal by clicking here.



A panel of distinguished guests attended our July 7 meeting to discuss their first hand accounts of how The Rotary Foundation changes lives for the better.  The panel included a former Ambassadorial Scholar, a former Rotary Peace Scholar and the leader of an international humanitarian matching grant project in Guatemala.

The meeting also introduced a new giving program for club members to use to support The Rotary Foundation- TRF Direct.

Watch videos of the program by clicking "More."

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Nov 06, 2014
Nov 13, 2014
Rusty Schwimmer
From New Trier to Hollywood
Nov 20, 2014
Tim McCabe
The Winnetka Community House
Dec 04, 2014
Dec 11, 2014
Bob Smith
Winnetka Park District
Dec 18, 2014
New Trier Swing Choir
Annual Christmas Recital
Rotary Club of Winnetka-Northfield & Winnetka Northfield Rotary Charitable Foundation
Serving the North Shore, Chicago and the World Since 1924
620 Lincoln Avenue Winnetka IL 60093
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