Monday, June 30, 2014

First Party of 2014-15 - 4TH OF JULY!!!

DG Ellen Throws at "Thank You" Party

Coral Gables Well Represented
at DG Ellen's Reception

Nearly Past District Governor Ellen Blasi had a party for her 2013-14 District Crew at Perricone's Marketplace Sunday evening.  She took the opportunity to thank every single one of the people she had made responsible for helping her succeed "Engaging Rotary to Change Lives".

While Ellen had help from many of the clubs and Rotarians in the District, she tapped Coral Gables most often for the tough jobs that needed doing!  Top of her list was her Aide-De-Camp,  Yolanda Woodbridge, whom Ellen claimed was responsible for making her look good all year long.

Carol Alexander was the District Treasurer and her excellent money management skills made Ellen's year work just fine.  

Our District currently leads the Zone in Foundation donations for 2013-14 and that is due in no small part to the outstanding efforts of Chris Morrison who was her Rotary Foundation Annual Giving Chair.

Ellen claimed that Sally Baumgartner, who chaired District Assembly at the beginning of the banner year, was willing to do anything Ellen asked her to do ... that included making the Assembly a money making venture for the first time in many years!

And Noelle Galperin  pretty much saved the day when Ellen tapped her late in the  year to rescue District Communications.   She's designed a hot new webiste ( for the District and taken over the preparation and production of the District Newsletter. 

Ellen says that to be an effective District Governor, a person needs to have 40 to 42 individuals who can be relied upon to get the job done - no matter what.  It says a lot about the Rotary Club of Coral Gables when  you realize that more than 10% of the jobs are filled by members of our outstanding club!

Almost PDG Ellen & Spouse with Almost DG Joe Roth and Spouse!
Coral Gables Rotarians Morrison & Baumgartner

Noelle Galperin

A "Thank You" from District Governor "Queen" Ellen Blasi


Congratulations to us all and in particular to our club Presidents!

Our District 6990 had 19 Clubs qualify for the Presidential Citation from Rotary President Ron Burton.
Of those, 12 qualified with Presidential Citation with Distinction*.
They are:
Coconut Creek*
Davie/Cooper City
Deerfield Beach
Ft. Lauderdale North Beach*
Ft. Lauderdale South*
Grand Bahama Sunrise*
Hialeah-Miami Springs
Key Biscayne*
Key West
Miami Brickell*
Miami Shores*
North Dade
Perrine/Cutler Ridge/ Palmetto Bay*
Pompano Beach-Lighthouse*
Upper Keys*

The Presidential Citation is given by the President of Rotary International every year to a Rotary Club that qualifies.  The Citation is a measure of an effective Rotary Club.  You can review the Citation at

Our membership goal of "don't lose anyone" is comfortably on it's way to being met, thanks in great part to the efforts of our District Membership Chair, Jonathan Parker.
We brought in 240 new members into our District this year and had a net gain of 37 members. 29 Clubs report a net gain in membership, lead by the Rotary Club of Miami Brickell with a net gain of 9 new members and the Rotary Clubs of Key Largo, Hollywood, and Miramar Pines each with 7 new members.
Now we just have to hold our numbers through the end of the year!

We gave very generously to the Rotary Foundation for the important work we do in our communities and around the world.  I say locally as well as around the world, because, as you know, half of the money we give to the Rotary Foundation comes back to us at the end of three years and half of those funds can be used for community work.
I want to particularly recognize 3 Rotarians on behalf of the Rotary Foundation.

Chris Morrison, RC Coral Gables, for his outstanding work in promoting the Annual Fund (the one where half the money comes back) through the "Golf ball Drop".

Kenneth Meeks, RC Upper Keys, for an outstanding contribution of $100,000.00 to the Polio Plus fund.

Karen Clarke, RC Lucaya, for an outstanding contribution to the Annual Fund.

At this date, our District averaged about $250.00 per person to the Rotary Foundation this year.  If you were unable to support the Rotary Foundation at this level this year, know that one of your fellow Rotarians donated on your behalf, and strive to do your part next year and in the future.

We are currently running neck and neck with the Rotary District that encompasses the Jacksonville area to be the leader of all Rotary Clubs in the state of Florida in giving to Polio Plus. We will have the final donation amounts mid to late July. If you would like to make a donation…..Please DO!

Any donation made, online or postmarked, by June 30, 2014 will be part of this year if you still want to support OUR Rotary Foundation.

Two clubs in the District achieved very notable status for the Rotary Foundation this year.

The Rotary Club of Ft. Lauderdale South became the first club in our District to become 100% Rotary Benefactor Club. Benefactors are those Rotarians who make a donation of $1000 to the Permanent Fund or make a pledge to donate $1000 to the Permanent Fund as part of their legacy when they die.

The Rotary Club of Key West Sunrise IN the Conch Republic had such an outstanding fundraising year that after funding all of their projects, scholarships and corpus of their own club foundation, they elected to make EVERY MEMBER of the club a Paul Harris Fellow or additional Paul Harris Fellow!

There were 10 Major Donors or Major Donors next level to the Rotary Foundation this year. They are Doug and Deborah Maymon, William C. Webb, Jr., Harold Zabsky, Charles Stewart, Rejean and Claudette Lappiere, Shane Moore, Baron Dean Degner, Kenneth Meeks, Gerald Richard Mosher and Karen Clarke.

There were also 2 Rotarians that added to or became Bequest Society members, Robin and Susan Shelley and Elihu and Lee Phares.

We also now count among our members 32 Paul Harris Society members and 16 new Benefactors to the Rotary Foundation.

We funded a Global Scholar this year under the new Rotary Foundation grants model.  There are 530 Districts in the world, each with opportunity to put forth an applicant to the Trustees of the Rotary Foundation.  Our candidate, Michael Matthiesen, was one of only 77 in the world that was accepted this year.

We are currently taking applications for our next Global Scholar.  Please contact me or our outstanding Global Scholar Chairperson, Anita Sandler with your prospective Scholar recipient.  They must be studying at an advanced degree (Master's or Doctorate), they must be accepted at a non-US Institute of higher learning, they course of study must fall into one of the Six Areas of Focus and they cannot be directly related to a Rotarian.

There are also many outstanding Rotarians that helped in so many ways and I would be very remiss if I did not name a few.
The Officers of the District who agreed to serve with me this year and did such an outstanding job.

Yoli Woodbridge, Chief of Staff - Rotary Club of Coral Gables. She made me look good!
Carol Alexander, Treasurer - Rotary Club of Coral Gables.
She kept up with all the money. We are coming in BELOW BUDGET!!
Deb Maymon, Secretary – Rotary Club of Weston.
She made sure you got all of the information and helped me with all things Rotary!
Todd Dayton, Sgt. At Arms – Rotary Club of Coconut Creek.
He tried to keep us and me in line.

Jonathan Parker, Membership Chair, who really set the bar high for the Rotarian to Rotarian networking events that add value to our Rotary membership.

Robin Shelley, Rotary Foundation Chair, who guided us expertly into the new Rotary Foundation model and did an outstanding job with his committee in helping clubs understand the value of participating in OUR Rotary Foundation.

Chris Morrison, Chair of Annual Giving and the CEO of the "Golf Ball Drop” for breaking all records!!

My wonderful and outstanding Assistant Governors who served with me and served your clubs steadfastly for the past three years. They are:

Pat Short-Hornsby – RC Weston
Ligia Corredor – RC Miramar/Pines
Howard Lustgarten – RC Ft. Lauderdale South
Dan Young – RC Weston
Antonio Pinheiro – RC Miami Brickell
Carol Alexander – RC Coral Gables
Caesar Phillips – RC Allapattah
Patricia Romano – RC Key Biscayne
Sara Hamilton – RC Key Largo
Stan Rzad – RC Key West Sunrise in the Conch Republic
Mike Stafford – RC Freeport

BIG thank you to Tom Pratt, RC Coconut Creek, for President-elect Training throughout the District at at All Florida PETS in Orlando.

BIG thank you to Sally Baumgartner,RC Coral Gables for District Assembly! Great Job!

There were also four notable Rotarians that stepped up to the plate when called to fill vacancies that came up during the year.

Noelle Galperin and Mario Avalos for doing such a fantastic job for our district with Communications and especially for the new District website

Joe Schumacher for our Youth Services, especially for the outstanding Interact Conference.

Alan Cohn for The Rotary Foundation Grant Committee Chairperson.

And another BIG thank you for three truly outstanding "Rotary couples”.

Robin and Susan Shelley for always opening your lovely home and hosting numerous meetings this past three years.

Stephen and Alice Takach for opening their lovely home and hosting the first ever Rotary Foundation Major Donor Initiative event in Miami-Dade County.

Chuck and Sue Yea for opening their lovely home and hosting the first ever Rotary Foundation Major Donor Initiative event in Broward County.

Our District Conference was a resounding success!!
The Rotary clubs of Grand Bahama Island really made us proud. We took two other Florida Rotary Districts to the conference with us and we all had a grand time.

Special thanks go out Mike Stafford – RC Freeport.
His tireless efforts and those of his committee on Grand Bahama made it all possible.
Over on this side of the Gulf Stream, the always great Andrew Burnstine and most especially, his absolutely amazing wife, Judith, made it happen.

We had a lot of fun!
A GREAT BIG THANK YOU to all of the Rotary Clubs in our District that included me in events and projects.
You made me feel welcomed and really showed me what outstanding Rotarians we are!
I am even more proud to be a Rotarian because of all of you.
Please invite me back!

As I end this year I would like to share that it has been exciting, daunting, inspiring and lots of fun!

I believe that we truly embraced the theme this year to
"Engage Rotary - Change Lives”.

I sincerely thank you for allowing me to serve!

My Very Best to you All in Rotary Service,

District Governor Ellen

2014-2015 Board and Officers Installed

2014-2015 Club Board

Friday evening, June 27th, more than 50 Rotarians, their spouses' and guests gathered at the Upstairs Board Room at Ana Capri to celebrate the installation of the 2014-15 Officers and Board of Directors who will serve under President Carlos Bolado.

The wine was plentiful, the fellowship was fine, the ceremonies were officiated by DG Ellen Blasi (one of the things out going DG's get to do a lot of ...).  Everyone is on board to make the coming Rotary Year one we will all remember.

President - Carlos Bolado
Past President - Don Trombly
President-Elect (2015-16) - Greg Martini
Vice President - Steven Spann
Secretary - Paolo Possenti
Treasurer - Bill Quesenberry
Sergeant-at-Arms - Rick Belz

Club Meeting Service Chair - Lan Nghiem-Phu
Community Service Chair - Lorraine Sheldon
Rotary Foundation Chair - George Reeves
Vocational Service Chair - Carol Alexander
Youth Service Chair - Sally Baumgartner
Civic & Charity - Rodney Langer
International – Judy Pantoja
Membership - Joe Lancaster
Programs - Richard DeWitt/Frank Sexton
Public Relations - Gloria Burns
Rotarygram - Yolanda Woodbridge
At Large Director - Ana Fournaris

Community Service Chair Lorraine Sheldon wishes Carlos well!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Joseph Milton named Coral Gables Rotary Martin Hughes Citizien of the Year

L to R:  Past President Felix Pardo, JOSEPH MILTON, Past President Walter Alvarez
Joseph Milton serves as President and CEO of J. Milton & Associates, a fully integrated real estate and development company founded by his father the late Jose Milton, in 1963. Since its founding, J. Milton & Associates has built and developed over 50,000 residential units and has grown to a net worth of $3.5 billion.

Joseph Milton earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineeting from the University of Miami and, by the age of 23, was licensed as a State-Certified General Contractor. Today, Milton is a hands-on leader, carrying on the legacy bestowed by his father. He works directly with all project architects, interior designers and engineers, negotiates all contracts, and sets proforma and cost control standards.

In 1993, Milton launched the firm's luxury condominium development division; since
then he has developed Sands Pointe, Pinnacle, King David, Blue Lagoon, Sayan, and St. Tropez luxury condominums. Simultaneously, he maintains development responsibilities for the company's rental division, including such successful properties as the Country Club Towers, Brickell 1st, Intracoastal Yacht Club, and Royal Palms rental communities.

J . Milton & Associates is the the largest developer in Sunny Isles Beach, and enjoys a longstanding and cordial partnership with the city's civic and corporate leaders. A prime example of this collegiality: the City of Sunny Isles Beach's newest retail magnet, Towne Center, is located within the firm's latest development, St. Tropez Condominiums.

In addition to mentoring his staff, Mr. Milton is an active community leader and a deeply committed philanthropist. A prime example is his role as Vice President of the Board of Directors of Alfalit International, a faith-based nonprofit organization committed to fighting illiteracy around the world. Alfalit was founded in 1961 to provide educational programs for the world's neediest populations in literacy, basic education, preschool, health and nutrition, micro-business enterprises, and community development. He has received numerous awards for his efforts on behalf of humanitarian causes including, as a result of his work with Alfalit in West Africa, an honorary Doctorate of Humane
letters degree from the United Methodist University of Liberia.  His active efforts with local representatives and senators and his lobbying efforts in Washington helped to bring millions of dollars from USAID to help sustain Alfalit and carry on Rotary projects started with Grant money. 

Certainly Joe's dedication to Service Above Self and to Build A Better Community and World are worthy of recognition by Rotary Club of Coral Gables.  Congratulations and thanks for all that you do for the world and our community.