First Month In
Hi! I’m Rev. Dr. J. Loren Russell, serving in my first one-and one-half month as District Governor for District 7230 covering the areas of Staten Island, New York City, The Bronx, lower Westchester County, and Bermuda. We began this Rotary year by introducing a District-wide theme. “Not ME, but WE!”  Every club I have met with so far has been encouraged to engage their own members, apply for District matching grants, and collaborate with other clubs in our District. I also told them to look to qualify and seek global grants by collaborating with any of the more than 46,000 clubs in the other 528 Districts around the world to continue and enhance doing what they do best; help and serve needy humanity. I am encouraging every club to do likewise.
 
Through incredible leadership over the past four years, we ended the past Rotary year with distinction:
  • “Not only did your efforts result in a net gain in membership, it was the largest growth in our zone. In the context of our membership history in North America, this is a real achievement you should all take pride in and a success that provides momentum for this Rotary year.” - Herb Klotz, Zone 32 Coordinator 2021-24 - August 9, 2023.
And, we began the new Rotary year with a bang!
  • “Congratulations and welcome to the 21 charter members of the new Rotary Club of Blooming Rose, New York, USA.” - Sophie Dangerfield & Mallory Ori - Club & District Support, Americas - July 19, 2023
If there ever was an activity that personified “not me, but we!” it’s being recognized as the leading District in our Zone (made up of twenty-two Districts and 1,110 clubs) with the largest new member growth, and then being the first District in our Zone to charter a new Club in the New Year. The honor of establishing the first club in Rotary International goes to Rotary International President, R. Gordon R. McInally.
 
(Update) I did some extensive research and discovered that we are  not number 2  in forming a new club in the new Rotary year, but the 32nd new club in the new year. So let me put that in context; there are 529 districts around the world, approximately 35,000 clubs worldwide, and 1.4 million members. To have chartered the 32nd club in entire Rotary world in this new Rotary year still puts us in an elite category that we all need to be proud of.  What really excites me is that we’ve only just begun!
 
It’s not just the membership growth and establishment of new clubs that is positioning District 7230 as the District others want to emulate, but the impact we are making in the world through our individual and collaborative service projects. Follow our District website and monthly newsletter that highlights many people, projects, and collaborations throughout our District that are transforming lives and helping to create a more humane world for everyone.
 
There are two District projects that are either in progress or coming down the pipe that I am hoping each club will be willing to engage.
  • One is the multi-district collaboration on the microscope project with Nigeria. The 5 Districts that make up Mid-Northeast PETS in Zone 32 committed to and sent $5,000 each to help provide 180 microscopes which will be used to identify and treat people with malaria. During PETS, we asked each club president to commit to purchasing one microscope at a cost of $250. Each microscope will save 500 lives. If your club has not yet purchased a microscope, I am asking that you do so sooner rather than later.
  • As District Governor, I would like to do something other than a sports activity for our youth. Since everyone needs to know how to speak, and present themselves, their ideas, and their perspectives, I am looking to have a district-wide speech contest. This will require a collaboration of clubs within specific geographical areas.  Rotarian Alan Gray of the Yonkers-East Yonkers Club has agreed to spearhead this project. He will be reaching out to the clubs soon. I am hoping your club is up to the task.  
Even with all the accolades and well-deserved pats on the back from the Zone, there is still room in our District for improvement. Some clubs in our District have been flat or on the decline for years. Many may be suffering from what I call volunteer burnout. They are easy to identify because they simply stop showing up for meetings and cut off communications with their fellow Rotarians. I am convinced that they still have the desire and the passion but are lacking “something.”
 
I spoke of collaboration throughout this message because I was thinking of ways that we, at the District level and individual clubs, can collaborate with those struggling clubs to help them to rekindle their fire and find that “thing” that has been missing.
 
That’s our challenge in 2023-24, to creatively serve needy humanity, but not neglect nurturing ourselves. In my talk with the incoming presidents, who are now the presidents of our 50 clubs and 6 Rotaract clubs, I said, “As Rotarians, especially as leaders, we must embrace the truth that none of us is as good as all of us and that no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. If everyone does something, then everything will get done.”
 
That’s how we can create hope in the world, and embrace the concept, it’s not Me, but WE!
 
Thank you, District 7230, for your “service above self.”
 
I love you all and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it…, so get used to it! 
 
Rev. Dr. J. Loren Russell
District Governor 2023-24                        
DG Rev. Dr. J. Loren Russell