Ten Rotarians honored as Champions of Change at White House
Top: RI President Kalyan Banerjee, White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew, and RI General Secretary John Hewko at the ceremony in the White House 20 April. Bottom: Ten Rotarians were honored as Champions of Change. Photos by Monika Lozinska/Rotary Images
Ten U.S. Rotarians were honored by the White House on 20 April as Champions of Change for their exemplary humanitarian work locally and internationally.
At the daylong event, more than 160 Rotarians attended a morning round of briefings by U.S. government officials on topics including maternal and child health, disease prevention, economic development, youth and education, water and sanitation, and peace building.
RI President Kalyan Banerjee, addressing the session, said the 10 honorees clearly demonstrate a problem-solving spirit.
“Each of them identified a problem—whether it was water-borne disease or poverty or hunger or polio -- and they did something about it. But they did it in a way that works,” said Banerjee. “They worked closely with the community to ensure that the solutions they proposed were better than what was there before in all ways -- solutions that were workable, preferable, and -- and this is a key point -- sustainable.”
Champions of Change
The ten Rotarians honored as Champions of Change included:
- Terrence Allen, a member of the Rotary Club of Lakeshore (Baroda-Stevensville-Bridgman), Michigan. Allen volunteers at the Children’s Safe Water Project, which provides clean water to thousands of families in the Dominican Republic.
- Jim Fulgham, a member of the Rotary Club of Arlington, Texas. Fulgham partnered with local colleges and universities to raise US$1 million to provide scholarships to sixth grade students from disadvantage families who finish high school and enroll into college.
- Noelle Galperin, a member of the Rotary Club of Coral Gables, Florida. Galperin initiated her club’s Haiti recovery efforts in the aftermath of the devastating 2010 earthquake. She also helped raise more than $325,000 for polio eradication.
- Anil Garg, a member of the Rotary Club of Simi Valley, California. Garg has led multiple National Immunization Days in India and is a strong advocate for adult literacy.
- Richard J. Kemme, a member of the Rotary Club of Greeley, Colorado. Kemme uses his background in orthopedic surgery to train surgeons in Malawi.
- David Kester, a member of the Rotary Club of Anchorage, Alaska. Kester and his club have been instrumental in the success of the Mobile Food Pantry of Anchorage, which has provided more than three million pounds of produce, dairy products and other perishable foods to thousands of Alaskan families.
- Henry Lowentritt, a member of the Rotary Club of New Orleans, Louisiana. Lowentritt led efforts to renovate and reopen historic Warren Easton High School after it was nearly destroyed by the flooding that followed Hurricane Katrina.
- Carolyn Crowley Meub, a member of the Rotary Club of Rutland, Vermont. Meub heads Pure Water for the World, an international charity that has brought clean water and sanitation to thousands of families in Honduras and Haiti.
- Fary Moini, a member of the Rotary Club of La Jolla Golden Triangle, California. Moini has led her club in a series of successful projects to increase educational opportunities for girls and young women and enhance the training of health care professionals in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
- Fred Thompson, a member of the Rotary Club Innsbrook (Richmond), Virginia. Thompson led his club in the expansion of the Coal Pit Learning Center, which provides enriched pre-schooling opportunities to children from low-income families.
“Every one of our champions of change can offer the kind of fundamental knowledge and understanding of their communities that informs innovative solutions designed to work on every level,” said Banerjee. “They will serve as inspiration to all of us.”
Following Rotary's model
During the event Rajive Shah, administrator of USAID, the government’s primary foreign assistance agency, said a new campaign to improve maternal and child health will follow the Rotary model of eradicating polio.
“What I am proud to announce to you is that we are going to model ourselves on your example,” said Shah.
Shah said USAID plans to “reach every kid on the planet” and their mothers with a five–pronged preventive health package of bed nets to prevent malaria, routine vaccinations, nutrient-enhanced food, anti-retroviral drugs for HIV-positive mothers, and a simple breathing device to prevent birth asphyxia (death due to decreased oxygen). The initiative will launch June 14.
Watch a recording of the Rotary Day at the White House, part one and part two. Read more about the honorees on the Champions of Change blog.