Rotary Meeting: October 13, 2020


The fall air was crisp and clear outside our Zoom screen boxes as PRESIDENT KEVIN SMITH-FAGAN (Executive Director of Fairytale Town) brought our meeting to order in celebration of the successful Sac Century Challenge which raised $108,000 for the Sacramento Children’s Home Crisis Nursery.


PRESIDENT KEVIN asked SHARNA BRAUCKS (President & CEO of YMCA of Superior California), who would be inducted as a new member later in the meeting, to lead the Pledge of Allegiance.


ALLISON CAGLEY (Sergeant at Arms) (Executive Director of Friends of Sacramento Arts) introduced NANCY TEICHERT to give the Thought of the Day. She relieved us by announcing that she would read, not sing, the lyrics to American Anthem by Norah Jones. The song was sung at the funeral services for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It concludes with the reprise: “Let me know in my heart when my days are through, America, I gave my best to you.”


CLICK HERE to view NANCY’S beautiful reading of American Anthem by Norah Jones


Our meeting sponsor, STEPHEN JOHANSON (Johanson & Associates) donated his time to KRIS MARTIN, Executive Director of Quinn Cottages and Serna Village which provide services for the homeless. Their clients may struggle with issues like substance abuse or incarceration. KRIS said the goal is to move people from “the streets to self-sustainability.”


CLICK HERE for more information on Quinn Cottages. Your contribution helps out people in need on the road to self-sustainability.


PRESIDENT KEVIN announced that the first quarter of his term evidenced an amazing amount of activity given the restrictions from the pandemic. He encouraged members to donate $100 before October 24th because that money will be matched by our Rotary District and the Gates Foundation to increase it to $600 in the fight against polio. Polio is eradicated in all but two (2) countries which are Afghanistan and Pakistan. “This is how it happens,” PRESIDENT KEVIN stated. Your contribution will help enable Rotary to achieve the eradication of polio everywhere.


CLICK HERE to donate to the fight against polio. Your $100 donation is worth $600!


ALLISON CAGLEY announced that the book club meeting will be later in the day on October 13th. The book club will finish its discussion of How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. They will be picking the next book to discuss during that meeting. ALLISON gave a friendly reminder that anyone is welcome to join the book club even if you have not completely read the book. Please contact ALLISON CAGLEY if you would like to join the book club.


SHIRLEE TULLY (Chief Development & Brand Officer of Capitol Public Radio) relayed that the Pandemic Relief Committee decided the best use of their funds is to help prevent people who have lost their jobs from becoming homeless with a rental assistance program. One recent person helped through Volunteers of America was the widow of a veteran who was living in her car with her son. Our club provided $2,500 to pay the first month’s rent and security deposit. Thank you to our committee members SHIRLEE, KATHY HERRFELDT (Owner of Home Care Assistance) and CHRISTIE HOLDEREGGER (V/P Chief Development Officer of Volunteers of America)!


JOHN SWENTOWSKY (Owner of Swentowsky Photography) needs volunteers for meal services at Loaves & Fishes for Thursday, October 29th. Loaves & Fishes are taking precautions in light of COVID with social distancing and sanitization so please do not let that stop you from volunteering. JOHN needs 8 more volunteers. Please contact JOHN SWENTOWSKY if you would like to assist. Let’s help out, Rotarians! PRESIDENT KEVIN thanked members for their contributions during these difficult times. “We’re not going to let the pandemic stop the good work we do,” he said.


PAUL KEEFER (Executive Director of Pacific Charter Institute) is developing a list of weekly volunteer opportunities including the River City Food Bank and the Homeless Assistance Resource Team (HART). Midtown HART has opened a daytime, drop-in center for folks experiencing homelessness to come inside and seek refuge from the weather and relax for a bit. There is water, light snacks, a phone charging station, resources, and one service provider from an agency or local nonprofit every week.


CLICK HERE to volunteer or donate for HART

CLICK HERE to volunteer for the River City Food Bank between 8:30-10:30 AM

CLICK HERE to volunteer for the River City Food Bank between 10:15 AM-1:30 PM


With only one quarter of his term completed, PRESIDENT KEVIN reminded all Rotarians that the club is officially taking nominations for the next President elect. If you or someone you know would like to become the next club President, they must have at least six (6) years of experience with the club, meaning they must have joined before July 1st, 2016. On the other hand, if you would like to spend time with our current President, you may meet PRESDIENT KEVIN for pints or pinot at the Piatti Restaurant patio on Friday, October 16th at 4:30 PM. Just in time for Happy Hour!


CLICK HERE to view Piatti’s website


BOB MILLER (Business Development Officer of First US Community Credit Union) introduced our newest member SHARNA BRAUCKS. PRESIDENT KEVIN swore her in and, jokingly, asked if she would pledge to join our polar bear swim in the American River on Jan. 1st. Quick on her feet, SHARNA replied, “Maybe.” Welcome to the club, SHARNA! We look forward to seeing you at future meetings and events.


The 7th annual Sac Century Challenge, lead this year by PAST PRESDIENT SUSAN SHERIDAN (Chair for the day) and ROY ALEXANDER, was a huge success! TODD KOOLAKIAN (Director of Philanthropy of Sacramento Children’s Home) gave many thanks to all the riders, members and corporate sponsors who helped the club exceed its goal of $100,000 by raising $108,433. Donations will continue to be accepted through October 31st or longer in honor of this year’s riders. “We really came through and made it happen,” said TODD of the 100-mile ride, which could not take place as a group event because of the pandemic. Riders, including many club members, tailored their own unique 100-mile challenge and shared their videos on the club’s Facebook page. TODD brought up a few members who raised some of the most funds including: TOM BACON (Senior Vice President of Bacon Commercial Real Estate) raising $7,698 by choosing to swim, bike and play golf in his own triathlon; DENNIS SMITH (V.P./Asset Manager-Office & Property Director of Tsakopoulos Management Company, LLC) and LAURA MASON raising $5,525 in a Hike-N-Bike adventure with their dog Baxter; The Goralka Law Firm Team consisting of JOHN GORALKA (President of the Goralka Law Firm) JOSEPH GORALKA (JOHN’S older and wiser brother), and JIM KAMMERER raising $4,275 completing the 100-mile bike ride; and STEPHEN AUSTIN raising $1,922. TODD sincerely thanked the Planning Committee and PAST PRESIDENT DIANE MIZELL for her work as the “solicitor-in-chief” asking members for their support.



CLICK HERE for a complete list of contributors


JAMIE FURLONG (Securitized Real Estate Specialist of Bangerter Financial Services) reminded those who contributed to use their Vendor Discount Card included in their swag bag. This was a new idea brought about this year which included 13 businesses that agreed to offer discounts on their meals or services by having their name publicized. Whether you are looking for a cocktail, meal, or a relaxing dip with Capitol Floats, don’t forget to use your coupons!


THERESA WHEELER (Public Affairs and Voter Research) coordinated Facebook ads to publicize the Sac Century Challenge ride and collected the videos which were shared by participants including our first mascot the dog, Norman.


CLICK HERE to view THERESA’S shared videos and photos of the Sac Century Challenge


“A big thank you and we look forward to next year,” said PAST PRESIDENT SUSAN SHERIDAN. Thank you all, Rotarians, and SUSAN! We all are definitely looking forward to the next year’s event.


LINDA GEERY (Shareholder of Gilbert CPAs) donated $500 in honor of her new grandson and a trip to Knoxville, Tennessee for her son’s wedding. Thank you, LINDA, and congratulations to you and your family!


Tune in at the same place, same time next week for our guest speaker, the esteemed PROFESSOR ROBERT EMMONS, a nationally recognized expert on taking charge of your health and well-being. His fields of study include personality and authentic happiness. PROFESSOR ROBERT’S is a professor of psychology at U.C. Davis and the author of Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier. PROFESSOR ROBERT’S research is sure to be an uplifting lesson for us all as he will discuss positive psychology including how gratitude, joy, and grace all relate to humans flourishing. A truly inspirational speech that we could all use during the pandemic. We’ll have an opportunity to ask if he likes his job!



CLICK HERE for a discussion on Making Gratitude a Part of Your Everyday Life