The Rotary Club of

June 6, 2024 Newsletter

On June 3, we presented $33,600 in community grants to local non-profits (lead image), and David Fowler spoke about new developments at Computer Banc! See stories below. On June 10, we will have a special presentation from Juneteenth, Inc. on the history and importance of this federal holiday in Springfield. On June 17, we will have an off-site social night. We will announce the location for this event via ClubRunner email. See Upcoming Programs and Events for more information. 

Comments from President Travis
June 3 Distribution of Community Grants and Dave Fowler Presentation
I hope you joined us on June 3 for our annual distribution of community grants from our Springfield Rotary Foundation (image on right and lead image). This is our most rewarding meeting of the year. I am so proud of what this club accomplishes and supports through it's fundraising activities. The story below presents the highlights of this meeting.
At this meeting, Club Member Dave Fowler, accompanied by intern Joshua Ball, also updated us on what's going on at Computer Banc (image below). We are all proud of the numerous achievements and Rotary projects accomplished with the help of Dave's successful non-profit venture with the refurbishing and redistribution of used computers. The story below by John Webb presents some of the highlights from Dave's update.
June 10 Meeting at Maldaners Features Juneteenth, Inc.
On June 10, Founders Shymeka Kerr-Gregory and Cherena Douglas, and Erica Austin from Juneteenth, Inc. in Springfield will speak to us about meaning of this new federal holiday and it's history and celebration in Illinois. See Upcoming Programs and Events for details.
June 17 Off-Site Social Night
Join us for an off-site dinner and social night at a local venue. We will announce the location of this event via ClubRunner Email. 
June 24 Installation Picnic at South Wind Park!
Please note that we have switched the venue for our summer picnic to South Wind Park. We were unable to get a reservation at Rotary Park. If it rains on June 24, we will switch from South Wind Park to an indoor venue.  Be sure to put this picnic on your calendar. We will recognize outgoing officers and install the new officers for the 2024-2025 Rotary Year!
Meeting Link through June 2024 changed the Webex meeting information.
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Reserve Your Maldaners Meals
When we meet at Maldaner's, please submit your reservations for dinner! Click on the link embedded below and enter the date, your name, dine in/carry out and number of meals being consumed in the restaurant and/or carried out prior to each meeting. Preferably, everyone will fill out the form by noon on the Friday before the upcoming meeting. I have given Jesse at Maldaner's access to the view, so it will help him with planning. As always, we will direct him to have a few additional servings available for members who forget or last minute guests. 
Here is the link:
The same link will work for the entire Rotary year and will be shared within each Newsletter, so do not delete the Newsletter until you have submitted your dinner information. Please remember that the three most recent Newsletters can also be accessed from the Website Home Page ( so you can also access the link for reservations from the Website Home Page ( 
2024 Grants Night a Rewarding Experience
Our Club’s fundraisers for the current Rotary year raised $33,600 to support club projects, scholarships, and grants to local charitable organizations. At our June 3 Club meeting at Maldaner’s Upstairs, our Club distributed community grants allocated by the Club’s foundation board of directors to local nonprofits. We also presented a donation to the Land of Lincoln Honor Flight from funds annually set aside from proceeds from our Flag Service Project. Representatives from these nonprofits were our guests for dinner. We loved to have the opportunity to meet with them and learn about their organizations and their projects (image above). 
Springfield Rotary Foundation President Vicki Megginson presented the grants to representatives from the selected nonprofits with the assistance of Springfield Rotary Foundation Treasurer Bill Smith. She thanked Bill for his outstanding work in tracking foundation finances and the grant applications (image above), and he received a sounding rouse of applause. Vicki also acknowledged the work of the Foundation Board Members (a group of  past club presidents) in reviewing the grant applications. She noted that the Foundation awards grants to nonprofits for projects that combat hunger, promote literacy, and otherwise serve our communities each year. We reaffirmed needs related to hunger and literacy as high priorities for our club during our most recent visioning process and in ensuing years.  
Vicki initiated the festivities with a quotation from artist Pablo Picasso:
The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.
Vicki and Bill presented the non-profit representatives with a check, and then each had the opportunity to speak about how their nonprofit serves the community and highlight the project the grant funds will support. The image below shows many of the representatives from the nonprofits who received checks at the event.
These individuals and their projects are listed below from left to right.
Kayli Davis, Intern, and Amy Voils, Executive Director, of MERCY Communities, reported that their grant will support their food pantry program for homeless families.
Margaret Ann Jessup, Executive Director of Wooden it be Lovely, received a grant to provide food for their residential program for women who are survivors of lives of poverty, addiction, and abuse.
Michelle Davis, Program Supervisor for Youth Service Bureau, reported that their grant will support extra food for holidays and food for homeless children (11-24) and their families, as well as for their outdoor micropantry.
Laura VanProyen, Executive Director of Beerlahai Roi Women's Ministries, received a grant that will provide nutritious food for homeless pregnant women and their babies. 
Alexis Haven, Director of Development of Animal Protective League accepted their grant check to provide food for their Pet Food Bank.
Brandy Stabler, Director of Development of Compass for Kids, reported that their grant will provide food to send home in backpacks with youth in their program for low income families with an additional risk factor.
Erik Woehrmann, Incoming Board President for St. Patrick School, accepted the grant check for the purchase of a three-year subscription to the Mystery Science Curriculum and associated hands-on programs to improve the science literacy of their students.
Jennifer Butcher, Principal of Ridgely Elementary School (our Club's adopted school), reported that their grant will help provide food for homeless students and additional students from about 40 families in need per week.  
Grant checks were presented to two additional recipients not shown in the above images:
Vicki presented Robert Frazier, Executive Director of Clean Slate Advocates with a grant check for their From Soap to Hope initiative, which provides clean clothes through through their All in One Laundry and processes as many as 5,000 loads of clothes per day. 
She also presented a check to Tim Holliday, Co-Chapter President of Sleep in Heavenly Peace (image below), to support building and delivery of new beds for children ages 3-17.  
Contact Ministries also received a grant, but was unable to send a representative. Several other entities received partial support for their proposed projects, including Girl Scouts of Central Illinois, Peace Lutheran Church, and Titan Fuel. 
At this meeting, we also presented a check to Land of Lincoln Honor Flight, which is allocated from the proceeds from our Flag Service Project. Dan Way (image below), Board Member for Land of Lincoln Honor Flight, accepted this donation and reported that it will be used to support veteran participation in Honor Flights. 
It was a rewarding night for these nonprofits and for us as well.
Dave Fowler Presentation on Computer Banc
At our June 3 Club meeting, we heard from one of our own, David Fowler (image on right), about the history, growth and future of Computer Banc. David is the Executive Director of Computer Banc.
Since being founded in 1999, the nonprofit Computer Banc has provided access to today’s digital world by providing refurbished, high-quality computers to individuals and organizations in need.
Computer Banc accomplishes this mission via connecting, interacting, and partnering with the business community, educational institutions, and community leaders and nonprofits.
Through these relationships, Computer Banc is able to garner equipment donations to create high-performing computers, create workforce development programs to refurbish and distribute its computers, and identify those most in need of this essential technology.
David noted that Computer Banc has over the course of the years rebooted its mission and focus. In 2008 instead of closing its operations, leadership figured out how to effectively maximize the smaller storage space capacity that was required by Springfield Railroad Relocation zoning, and retired its mortgage.
Computer Banc currently seeks to expand its lab area via a grant that will double the lab's work bench capacity and facilitate infrastructure upgrades like improved lab HVAC and temperature-controlled storage.
Our Club appreciates the effort of David and Computer Banc to close the existing digital divide, especially within our community. We wish them continued success!
Building Peace/Fighting Racism
The Rotary Peace Builders Committee secured grants from the Healing Racism in Illinois Program ( and the Rotary Literacy Grant program to create a partnership with the Social Justice Sewing Academy (SJSA) ( and The Outlet ( supporting an SJSA academy for the African American young men and boys (as well as some of their parents, grandparents, and young girls) served by The Outlet. The Outlet largely serves youth in families without present fathers.
For three nights about 25 participants (a) talked about what it means to be an African American male in Springfield and America (b) worked with SJSA staff and experienced quilters to translate the ideas and emotions sparked by those discussions into visual images imprinted onto quilt squares and (c) created artist statements expressing what their squares meant to them (images above and on left provided by The Outlet). Each of the young men were given a copy of the book “Stitching Stolen Lives” authored by one of our SJSA partners (image below provided by The Outlet) and a picture of themselves with their square.
These squares will be transformed into a beautiful full-sized quilt by SJSA. The Peace Builders Committee will organize community events where the quilt will be displayed, and the young men will be engaged to talk about their work with leaders and citizens across Springfield. The goal of these events is to spark community conversations about what Springfield needs to do to address the issues raised by these young men and their quilt and build greater peace in our community.
The Springfield Outlet/Rotary quilt also be on display at national quilting expositions and museums along with the estimated 45 other community quilts created to date by SJSA to give voice to those who are often not heard by their communities and country.
The insights and high level of engagement of participants was amazing to hear and see. One retired veteran teacher/quilter called it “one of the most meaningful things I have ever done.” Everyone involved from SJSA organizers to Outlet staff, to Rotary and quilter volunteers came away in awe of the young men’s work as well as energized and motivated to make sure their message was heard far and wide to spark change.
Help Find Host Families for Rotary Foreign Exchange Students
Please help find host families for Rotary inbound (foreign) exchange students.  We still have not been able to find host families for foreign exchange students sponsored by our club (Springfield High School) and the South Club (Glenwood-Chatham High School).
Click on this Link for a Flyer that has been prepared, and I m asking that you send it to family, friends, and acquaintances to solicit their help in searching for potential  host families.  If your office allows you to post such notices, I ask that you also post it.  Share it on your Facebook page or other social media/
I appreciate any assistance you can provide.
Bill Kempiners
Order and Sell Tickets for the July 13 Family Day at the Ball Park
It is time for baseball fans to purchase tickets to the annual "Rotary Family Day at the Ball Park".  Thank you for purchasing tickets in the past.  Now is the time to place your order for the 2024 game on July 13 - 1:15 P.M. at Busch Stadium.
You can use traditional order form which you will print and mail to me with a check for payment by clicking ORDER FORM or for your convenience, place your order online and then pay via debit or credit card, Paypal or check by clicking ONLINE ORDER.
Nearly $600,000 has been raised over the 20 years of the program for Literacy Project within our schools and communities.
The Rotary club of Rotary District 6460 thank you for all the past games you attended, and we look forward to seeing you at Busch Stadium on July 13. Be sure to share this information with your friends and family so we can fill the stadium and raise more money to fund literacy projects in West Central Illinois. 
Thank you,
Rod Buffington
Coordinator - "Rotary Family Day at the Ball Park"
Upcoming Programs and Events
Please remember that we are trying our new schedule with some social night meetings at locations other than Maldaners. Please pay attention to the meeting schedule listed the Newsletter, on our website home page (, and on our Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram pages for the dates and locations of the meetings. I am in the process of scheduling speakers now and will provide more details as soon as they are available. 
June 10, 2024 Rotary Board Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs, 4:30 p.m.
June 10, 2024 Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs, 5:30 p.m.
Shymeka Kerr-Gregory, Cherena Douglass, and Erica Austin: Juneteenth, Inc.: Juneteenth and its History and Celebration in Springfield.
Juneteenth, Inc. was founded in 2020 by Shymeka Kerr-Gregory (image on left) and Cherena Douglass (first image below) to continue the Juneteenth Celebration in Springfield by expanding its efforts to eliminate racism through the education and celebration of Juneteenth. To accomplish the goal of eliminating racism, Juneteenth Inc. calls on the support of the community and civic leaders to recognize the past, realize our future, and reimagine the present. Shymeka, Cherena, and Erica Austin (third image below will discuss the history and purpose of the celebration in Springfield.

June 17, 2024 Rotary Off-site Social Night, 5:30 p.m.
Location to be announced through a ClubRunner email. 
June 24, 2024 Rotary Club Installation of Officers Picnic
Recognition of Club Members and 2023-2024 Officers and Installation of 2024-2025 Officers and Board
Join us for our Installation Picnic at South Wind Park, 4965 S. 2nd Street, Springfield, IL 62703. If it rains we will move to an indoor location in the Club House in the subdivision where Harry Mitchell and Ross Hodel reside. The Club House address will be provided if needed because of rain. At this picnic, we will honor outgoing officers and other club members and install the officers for the 2024-2025 Rotary Year. 
July 1, 2024 No Rotary Club Meeting
July 8, 2024, Rotary Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs
Jim Applegate: the Social Justice Sewing Academy
July 15, 2024 No Rotary Club Meeting
July 22, 2024 Rotarcy Club Meeting at Maldaners Upstairs
Maggie Owen, State Treasurers' Office: Financial Literacy Resources for Teens and Adults
Help Stock the Little Libraries
Little Libraries are free book exchanges that aim to expand book access within our communities. The prevailing concept of “take a book, share a book” reigns.
Our Club supports this literacy initiative and has helped build up the Little Library system in our community. We continue to help Little Libraries at six locations remain stocked with books. The locations are as follows:
1. St. John’s Breadline, 430 North 5th Street;
2. Springfield Firehouse No. 5/“The First Black Firehouse,” 1310 East Adams Street (shown in the image above);
3. Ridgely Elementary School, 2040 North 8th Street;
4. Enos Elementary School, 524 West Elliott Avenue;
5. iMagicNation site, 16th and Spruce, NorthEast corner; and,
6. The Outlet, 3306 South 6th Street.
On Tuesday June 4, Allie Montney and I visited these Little Libraries and added additional books to their existing stock (image on left and below). If you are interested in helping stock books, please contact Allie Montney at
Be a Food Pantry Superhero
Here's your chance to be a pantry superhero!  Join us in stocking the Ridgely Elementary School micro pantry for two weeks. Your commitment will ensure that families and children have access to essential items when they need them most.  Whether it's a can of soup, a box of cereal, or toiletries, your contribution will brighten someone's day.  Reach out to Allie Montney at or call 217-494-6901 to become a beacon of hope for those in need.  Every item you place on those shelves is a small gesture that collectively makes a huge impact!
Information for Ridgely Micropantry Volunteers
Thank you for signing up for a  micro pantry volunteer shift. Your time and effort are greatly appreciated by the community we serve. Below are the details including the location of the pantry, and suggestions on items to collect and distribute.  If you are unable to complete your shift, please reach out and we'll work on a better period of time to meet your needs. If you have suggestions for future volunteers, please let me know and we'll adapt the program along the way.
 Ridgely Elementary School 
 2040 North 8th Street
 Springfield, IL  62702
 Main entrance to the school (look for the yellow and purple pantry by the front  doors).
The image below shows the location of the pantry at the entrance to the school.
 These suggestions came from people who use food pantries to help feed their families. 
1. Everyone donates Kraft Mac and Cheese in the box. They can rarely use it because it needs milk and butter, which is difficult to get from regular food banks.
2. Boxed milk is a treasure, as kids need it for cereal, which they also get a lot of.
3. Everyone donates pasta sauce and spaghetti noodles.
4. They cannot eat all the awesome canned veggies and soup unless you put a can opener in too or buy pop tops.*
5. Oil is a luxury and needed for Rice a-Roni, which they also get a lot of.
6. Spices or salt and pepper would be a real Holiday gift.
7. Tea bags and coffee make them feel like you care.
8. Sugar and flour are treats.
9. They fawn over fresh produce donated by farmers and grocery stores.
10. Seeds are cool in Spring and Summer because growing can be easy for some.
11. They rarely get fresh meat.
12. Tuna and crackers make a good lunch.
13. Hamburger Helper goes nowhere without ground beef.
14. They get lots of peanut butter and jelly but usually not sandwich bread.
15. Butter or margarine is nice too.
16. Eggs are a real commodity.
17. Cake mix and frosting makes it possible to make a child’s birthday cake.
18. Dishwashing detergent is very expensive and is always appreciated.
19. Feminine hygiene products are a luxury and women will cry over that.
20. Everyone loves Stove Top Stuffing.
Time Commitment:   Two consecutive weeks (1-2 restocking visits per week), The image below shows a fully stocked pantry.
The image below shows me stocking an empty micropantry on June 4. We will hopefully be developing a new schedule to cover summer. Let me know if you are interested in taking a shift.
Micro Pantry Coordinator:  Allie Montney
Phone 217-494-6901 (for the quickest response, please text)
Things I've noticed that may be helpful:  Stocking the pantry on a weekend or after 4:00PM during the weekdays means less people and easier to get a parking spot.  Ask friends and family to donate unused household items for the pantry that you can collect.  If purchasing bags of fresh fruit or veggies, stock them individually so that more in need can take what they need.  It's going to be freezing outside soon, so consider if the items will no longer be good if frozen.  ALDI grocery stores have prices that cannot be beat. 
Volunteer Update
At our January 8 Board and Club meetings, President Travis reported that our 2023-2024 Club's Community Service Director, Madeline Boner had resigned as Community Service Director and from our Club because her job is requiring more work than she had anticipated. We wish her the best in her career and hope that she will be able to come back to us in the future when the duties of life and work are perhaps a little less demanding. We thank all the volunteers who gave and are giving generously of their time on service projects this fall and over the holiday season. Work on our ongoing service projects continues, and we thank all who have stepped up to help coordinate these activities. Megan Reynolds has been coordinating some volunteer activities in the interim. 
April 26 United Way Spring Day of Action
Special thanks to the club members who volunteered at the Mini O'Beirne Crisis Nursery as a part of the United Way Day of Action. See article by John Webb for images of volunteers at this event.. 
Stocking our Little Libraries
Jason Huddleston ( and Allison Montney ( have taken on the important task of coordinating the stocking of our Little Libraries. We previously built a  series of Little Libraries with a support from a District Club Grant and secured a large number of books that were donated by a group in St. Louis. The books are stored in the Computer Banc warehouse. We thank new members Jason and Allison (far right in image to right) for taking on this important task. 
The image of the Little Library at Ridgely School (to the left) clearly shows that this little library needed to be regularly stocked. Thanks to Jason and Allison for coordinating this project and ensuring that it is well stocked. Let them know if you would like to help.
We also need to help keep our newest Little Library at the old Firehouse well stocked with books (image below)! We thank Kathryn Harris for her work and promotion for this Little Library, which is right across the street from her home! If you would like to help stock this little library and any of the others we have installed in Springfield, please contact Jason and Allison.
Stocking of the Ridgely School Micropantry
We previously installed a Micropantry at Ridgely Elementary School (our adopted school) with support from a District Grant. At our October 23 meeting, Allison Montney volunteered to coordinate the stocking of this micropantry with food, cleaning, and toiletry items. She has implemented a system for volunteers to sign up to stock the pantry for a two week period. If you would like to volunteer to stock this important and regularly used pantry, please let Allison know ( as soon as possible. More information is provided in Allie's article in this Newsletter. 
Flag Service
Please consider volunteering for the Flag Service project in 2024. We thank the volunteers who are helping with charging the solar lights for the Memorial day installation and those who have already volunteered to take on responsibilities for this project.  
Flag Installation for the 2024 Memorial Day Holiday
Flags were installed for the Memorial Day Holiday (May 27, 2024) starting on May 20 and were completed by May 24. 
Please contact John Loftus ( if you would like to help with any aspect of our Flag Service project. It's rewarding and raises lots of money for our community grants program!  
Citrus Campaign
As noted by our Warehouse Czar Bill Smith, the 2023 campaign was successful and raised monies for our community grants program. We thank all the Rotarians who ordered and sold citrus, and all those who worked on the planning of the campaign and in the warehouse.
Encourage Membership in Rotary
Do you know or are you someone who has a passion to give back to your community? The Rotarians in this image are helping pack essential items for the Illinois Police Department to give to homeless individuals in our community. As a Rotarian, you adhere to the principles of the 4-way Test., which are:
  • Is it the Truth? 
  • Is it Fair to all concerned? 
  • Will it build Good Will and Better Friendships?  
  • Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?  
If you find value in these ideals and want to be part of a great organization, right click on the attached link to open our online Membership Application in a new window. You can also click on this link to download an electronic copy of the Membership Application from our Club's website Home Page ( in the Download Files section. You can send the completed application to the Membership Committee at We look forward to hearing from you! 

Downtown 2023-2024 Rotary Membership Chair
Harry Mitchell
Record Your Service Hours and Contributions
Please remember to report your service hours and related contributions. Travis Magoulias has added the 2023-2024 Rotary Year to the form. You will be able to enter your hours now and correctly assign them to the correct Rotary Calendar year. Just follow this link:
Please email images of service activities to Bonnie Styles at It's easy to take pictures if you have a smartphone, but even an old style camera works just fine. Send me an email ( to let me know when you will be volunteering for a service project, and I will come out and take some images.
Be sure to turn in your hours for any volunteering that you do on behalf of Rotary.
The image shows Barry Tobias installing the conduit for a flag in May for a new customer for the 2024 Rotary Flag Service Project.
The images on the left and below show John Webb volunteering at the Animal Protective League's Donuts and Dogs Fundraiser. Service has its rewards, sometimes including a donut.
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