Seasons Greetings fellow Rotarians, as we close in on the end of 2020 and hopefully soon, the scourge of COVID-19.  I hope that my American Rotarians had a safe, but Happy Thanksgiving.
President Holger Knaack announced today that the Rotary International Board had made the tough decision to cancel all Youth Exchanges, short or long term until the end of June 2021.  Jill Norton, and her team hope that with an effective vaccine that it may be possible to have a short-term exchange by next Summer.  As well, just maybe we will be able to host RYLA as well.
Plans are well in hand for our District Conference.  Please mark Saturday, March 20, 2021, in your calendars.  We are planning on a hybrid conference.  Even if the border remains shut I hope to be able to host the Canadian Rotarians at the NOTL Community Center and utilize the Zoom platform for those who cannot attend in person.  The team co-chaired by DGN Lisa Bishop and IPDG Melisa Schrock are pulling things together.  We have asked RIPN Jennifer Jones to be a keynote speaker either in person or via Zoom.  Please read the article in the December issue of the Rotary magazine starting on page 30 entitled Network Anchor – The Hungry Lady, a story about Dr. Elaine Hernandez.  I was touched by all the good she has done over the past 50 years since being the Rotary Club of Brantford’s first Youth Exchange student.  She is presently the President of the RC of Mission, Texas.   I messengered her to ask if she would be a speaker at the Conference and within 30 minutes she had phoned me to accept my invitation and she wants to attend in person if at all possible.  Her focus has been on hunger, health, and youth.

In the same issue of the Rotary Magazine TRF Trustee Chair and Past President of Rotary International, Ravi Ravindran is asking all of us to “remember TRF during this season of generosity.  Remember that your gifts to the Foundation amplify our work in all areas of focus.  They are perpetuated, not just today but long after we are gone.  And the Foundation will continue to work its miracles in service to others tomorrow as long as we keep supporting it today.”  During my virtual Club visits, I have asked every Rotarian, who is not supporting our Foundation to make a minimum donation of $25 USD to the Annual Fund.  On behalf of District 7090, I thank you for sending your contribution before December 31.
As you know we have done well with the Participate for Polio initiative raising very close to $200,000 USD with the Bill and Melinda Gates contribution.  So far 24 Clubs have taken on Thie Convery’s challenge to contribute an additional $1,500 USD per club, which she will match up to $30,000 USD.  And the District gave $25,000, from the DDF, which with matches equals $150,000 USD.  All said and done we will have contributed $546,000 USD to the Polio Plus initiative.  Thanks to everyone who played a part in this huge success, and yes we will be back next year!