Fab 5 Rotary Clubs Make Huge Impact Locally and Internationally

(Contributed Photo)
(L-R) Hays Englehart, Asst. District Gov, Jann Oldenburg, Rossmoor, Ken Jew, Orinda, Mary Lou Till, Lafayette, Conrad Breece, Lamorinda Sunrise. Missing is Brian South of Moraga and Steve Elefant of Rossmoor.

    Known as Rotary’s “Fab 5,” four Lamorinda clubs plus one in Rossmoor, boast one of the highest concentrations of memberships in the Bay Area with 263 members. Lafayette Rotary leads with 67 members, followed by Lamorinda Sunrise (63), Orinda (51), Rossmoor (45) and Moraga (37). True of all 33,000 worldwide Rotary clubs, each of the Fab 5 clubs sponsor service programs, both locally and internationally.
    The following summary of activity and service programs gives a sense of the good the organization provides for communities:
    Orinda Rotary, with President Ken Jew at the helm, was founded in 1949. Service projects include: support of local businesses during the pandemic; aiding Orinda public schools via teacher video tutorials; supplying volunteers to the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano; working on Fishing Day at San Pablo Reservoir for the Oakland Boys and Girls Club, organizing track and field competitions for Orinda elementary pupils; conducting an annual Easter Egg hunt at Orinda Community Park and donating 500 PPE medical gowns to local hospitals.
    Orinda Rotary’s international support includes ongoing participation in Rotary International’s Polio Plus Eradication program; funding dental clinics in Kenya; providing street lighting in Haiti; and donating transportation and equipment for an orphanage in rural India.
    In non-pandemic times, club members meet Wednesdays at noon at the Orinda Country Club. Until further notice, the club meets via Zoom, as do the other four clubs. For more information, visit Orinda Rotary at www.OrindaRotary.org.
    Lamorinda Sunrise Rotary, led by current president Conrad Breece, was founded in 1987. Local service projects include deployment of the HOME Team, founded in 2010 by club member Hays Englehart. It provides free-of-charge, minor home-repair services to seniors. Other ongoing local projects include restoration of San Pablo Creek and support of Family Harvest Farm in Pittsburg.
    A highlight of Lamorinda Sunrise’s International projects is Polio Plus, with service projects in Guatemala, Tanzania, Sierra Leone and Mexico.
    Of note, member Mark Roberts, an Orinda resident and past Orinda Citizen of the Year, is Governor of Rotary District 5160 for 2020-2021. The District comprises 73 clubs in Northern California, with a combined membership of 3,142. Lamorinda Sunrise has celebrated two previous district governors from its ranks: George Chaffey and Susan Wait.
    In non-pandemic times, club members meet Fridays over breakfast at Lafayette Park Hotel & Spa. For more information, visit www.lamorindasunrise.org.
    Founded in 1946, Lafayette Rotary has Mary Lou Till as its president. For its service agenda, the Lafayette chapter supports youth performing arts at Stanley Middle School via sponsorship of the annual free Concert at the Res; homeless programs in Oakland and Concord; the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano and Meals on Wheels.
    International service funds Polio Plus, school libraries in Afghanistan and various hunger, water and other programs aimed at abatement of sex slavery.
    Club members meet Thursdays at noon via Zoom. For more information, visit www.RotaryLafayette.org.
    Moraga Rotary, whose current president is Brian South, was founded in 1967. Its local service projects include, most notably, full funding of the All-Access Playground at Moraga Commons. The facility, opened to the public in 2018 at a cost of $350,000, was covered by private donations. Other projects include scholarships for Campolindo High School and Saint Mary’s College students; running Field Day for third, fourth and fifth graders in Moraga; supporting efforts at Monument Crisis Center; working at Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano and donating library books to Juvenile Hall. The club is currently working on two Moraga school projects: Donating medical kits to all 110 classrooms and furnishing exterior security cameras to all campuses.
    International service includes Polio Plus; school projects in the Congo; construction of a playground in Ladrillera, Mexico; reconstructive dental services for children in Kenya and wheelchair donations to groups in Mexico.
    Of note: Moraga Rotary has had two members serve as Rotary International president, the late Stan McCaffery, and Cliff Dochterman, a resident at Moraga Royale Assisted Living Center and still a club member. The Club meets Tuesdays at noon via Zoom. For more information, visit www.MoragaRotary.org.
    Rossmoor Rotary, founded in 1965, has co-presidents, Steve Elefant and Jim Olson. Rossmoor’s service projects include support of Rotaract International Club at Las Lomas High School and not fewer than 15 other local, community-based charities.
    In addition to Polio Plus, other international service projects encompass water sanitation projects in Ethiopia and Honduras and support of libraries and an eye clinic in Zambia.
    Club members also meet at noon on Wednesdays via Zoom. For more information, visit www.RossmoorRotary.org.
    Rotary International (RI) has been a major player in the campaign to eradicate polio worldwide. Since becoming involved in 1979, RI has contributed in excess of $500 million toward this cause. To date, nine billion doses of polio vaccines have been administered worldwide, sparing an estimated 220 million children from contraction of the deadly disease. Polio has been officially wiped out in all but Afghanistan and Pakistan.
    Guests are welcome at all club meetings. For details, contact the individual club via websites noted above.

(Contributed Photo)
Orinda Rotary members organize donation for the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Soalono.

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