Monday, September 30, 2019

Rotarians and Rotaractors experience the UN in SLC

Roteract in Action

Salt Lake City, Utah hosted The United Civil Society Conference, the premier event in the civil society calendar at the United Nations. There were over 7,500 participants representing over 700 civil society organizations from over 100 countries. Rotaractors demonstrated their leadership skills by presenting Sustainable Youth Service Projects and building Positive Peace. Stephanie Velasco, District Rotaract Representative/Rotarian from the Midvalley Rotaract Club/ Midvale Rotary Club moderated and Molly Hanrahan, Salt Lake Rotaract President and Brayden Fairbourn, Midvalley Rotaract President presented.
 The younger generations that are part of Rotary International, such as Rotaract, are mobilizing a new wave of sustainable projects around the world. The utilization of resources and a good assessment opens the door to great partnerships and excellent projects that are bringing sustainable results and satisfying the needs of communities worldwide. When an organization motivates and provides an opportunity for the younger generations of Rotaract to be part of an active movement, this results in their ability to continue building goodwill and better friendships that will be beneficial to all for a better world.
Positive Peace describes the attitudes and institutions that underpin and sustain peaceful societies.  Positive Peace is the presence of something good, like education, sustainable resources, human capital, or a functioning government. Negative and Positive Peace are distinct but interconnected. Rotary International and the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) have had a strategic partnership since 2017 and capitalize on IEP’s research on the attitudes, institutions and structures of more peaceful societies and Rotary’s grassroots experience in communities around the globe.
The conference culminated in the reading of the final outcome document including the youth outcome document or declaration all which illustrate the work to achieve the United Nations agenda, including Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) the blueprints which match Rotary International’s areas of focus. Now go to and be part of the initiative dedicated to celebrating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations and improving multilateral relations and structures for global problem solving. Our youth will help us develop the future we want to see and they are already doing it in our Utah District and globally!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Utah Rotaractor Contributed to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

Hannah Bieker, Utah Valley University (UVU) Rotaractor, contributed to the agenda and activities of the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63) in New York on March 18-20, 2019. Hannah is also a member of the Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF), a coalition of student clubs at UVU. She was featured on March 18, 2019 by the Daily Herald as a Rotaractor who will speak at CSW63

Since 2007, UIMF has advocated for the empowerment of mountain women and girls under the UN’s sustainable mountain development (SMD) agenda through the student engaged learning (SEL) model, whereby students are given the primary responsibility to work together as a team to solve problems, with faculty serving as mentors. The visit to CSW63 was planned and organized primarily by students, including raising funds for the trip with the Orem Rotary as one of co-sponsors.  The model involves students across the campus and in particular non-traditional ones, who are usually 25 years and older and combine their education with having families and working part or full-time jobs.  

The UIMF team and Hannah Bieker under SEL hosted a parallel event at CSW63, titled Student Engaged Learning to Empower Mountain Women and Girls” on March 19, 2019 in which they advocated for mountain women to be included in CSW63’s agreed conclusions.

In her statement, Hannah spoke about Rotaractors’ contribution to the implementation of the UN sustainable development goals by participating in service projects such as teaching skills like conflict resolution at the Columbia Peace Project or the creation and management of fish farms in Uganda. She also described how in June 2018, 11 Rotaractors throughout Utah went to Puerto Penasco, Mexico and completed 7 service projects including: meeting Polio survivors, building ADA wheelchair accessible ramps, empowerment of children and adults in the community, teaching health education to elementary school children, providing musical instruments for a community orchestra, services to newborn children in maternity wards, and donated supplies for a Hemodialysis Center.

UIMF members, including Hannah, also used SEL to prepare and gain support for a written statement from the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences and Utah-China Friendship Improvement Sharing Hands Development and Commerce, two non-governmental organizations in consultative status with Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The statement addressed the concern that mountain women are neglected at national and international levels and need to be in the focus of the UN 2030 Development Agenda. It was published by ECOSOC as official document E/CN.6/2019/NGO/64  on November 19, 2018.

As one of the important outcomes, the visit to CSW63 provides an opportunity to organize a joint visit of Rotaractors and Interactors from the State of Utah to the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in 2020 under the auspices of Rotary International through the SEL methodology developed at UVU. As other examples of its successful implementation, UIMF hosted side and parallel events and submitted a written statement E/CN.6/2018/NGO/37/Rev.1-EN during CSW62, and submitted a written statement E/2018/NGO/17 and made an oral statement  during general debates at High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development on July 19, 2018.

UIMF activities to promote SMD since 2007 in the State of Utah and North America contributed to the decision of the United Nations Department of Public Information (UN/DPI) to accept UVU as an Associated Member of UN/DPI in November 2017. UIMF will further advocate for mountain women, UVU’s SEL model, and Utah model of SMD by contributing to a side event on mountains during the upcoming UN Civil Society Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 26-28, 2019.

Dr. Baktybek Abdrisaev, Mentor, UVU Rotaract, Mentor, UIMF

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Is your name on this list?

Congratulations to the following Presidents-Elect who met District Governor Elect John Hanrahan’s challenge to enter their goals into Rotary Club Central and officers into My Rotary on directly after PETS & Assembly. DGE John has awarded each a Paul Harris Fellowship. Thanks to each of these incoming club leaders for their outstanding preparation for the new Rotary Year.

Brigham City
Cedar City
Dixie Sunrise
Heber Valley
Hispano-Latinos South
Hurricane Valley
Park City
Park City Sunrise
South Jordan
South Valley
Spanish Fork
St. George
Sugar House
Tooele Valley
West Jordan

Friday, January 4, 2019

2019 District President Elect Training Seminar & Assembly, Feb 15 & 16, Miller Conference Center 9750 South 300 West

All President Elects, President Nominees, Club Chairs, and Rotaractors are invited to this annual training. PETS is a half day Friday, and Assembly is all day Saturday. See full agendas below, and be sure to register no later than February 10 so we can be sure to have plenty food for our meals.

District Governor Elect John Hanrahan will send out registration links.


For Club Registration of PEs, PENs, Club Chairs, Treasurers & Secretaries
For Past District Governors.
For Rotaractors.
For Assistant Governors.

Club cost for PETS and Assembly is required, whether clubs attend or not. This year's club cost is a reasonable $225. Attendance for PEs, PENs, their spouses, and Club Chairs are included in this cost. There is an additional charge for Club Chair meals, but these costs have been kept low.

As PETS does not start till 1pm on Friday, we hope Rotarians from Southern Utah will be able to drive up during the morning.

Rotaractors are invited to the Friday dinner, Saturday lunch, and all day Assembly, including a special breakout from 1-2pm with Club Youth Chairs.

We at the District look forward to seeing you and beginning a new Rotary adventure!

2019 District 5420 PETS - Miller Conference Center
February 15, 2019   1:00pm – 5:30pm with dinner 6-8pm
·         We are in ½ conference center room w a breakout room for DGN Linda, dinner in conference room

1:00-1:30pm:       Pledge of Allegiance, 4-Way test, invocation-President-Elects TBD
Welcome, Opening Comments-- District Trainer Dean Jackson, District Governor Scott Leckman, District Governor-Elect John Hanrahan, Schedule review
1:30-2:00pm:       UN NGO Conference --Orem PE Clark Merkely, Boys Scouts of America,--Past president mark Griffith, PanAmerican Rotaract conference—Rotaractors TBD
2:00-3:30pm        PE/PEN Small Group Discussion: DGE John Hanrahan & DGN Linda Sappington (2 rooms)
3:30-3:45pm:       Break
3:45- 5pm:            Club Administration for PEs/PENs - Chief of Staff Judy Zone & PDG Dean Jackson
5:00-5:30pm:       Wrap Up – DGE John Hanrahan
Preview of Assembly/Planning Your Day – PDG Dean L. Jackson
5:30-6:00pm:        Social
6:00- 7:30pm        Dinner    Spouses welcome
7:00-7:30 pm        District trainer Dean Jackson presentation and Q and A with district leaders
5:30-7:00 pm        Background Music Entertainment Park City High School Jazz Ensemble

2019 District 5420 Assembly – Miller Conference Center
February 16, 2019 – 9:00am – 5:30pm
·         PEs, PENs, AGs, District Chairs, Club Chairs, Rotaractors
·         We are in Auditorium all day, Lunch & Secretary/Treasurer breakout in Showroom
·         Small classroom reserved for Rotaractor meeting with Youth Chairs

9:00 – 9:30am              Light Breakfast
9:30 – 9:45am              Pledge of Allegiance, 4-Way test, invocation-President-Elects TBD
                                        Welcome and Opening Comments District Trainer Dean Jackson
9:45–10:15am              Training Vision & Self Introductions
                                        John Hanrahan - District Governor Elect, 2019-2020 
                                        DGN Linda Sappington – District Governor Nominee 2021-2022
10:15-10:30am            Break
10:30am-11:00am       Judy Zone – Chief of Staff for DGE John Hanrahan
11:00am-12:15pm       Youth Programs – PDG Mike Wells Youth Chair, group discussion
         U40: social media marketing plan to attract under 40 Rotarians
12:15-1:15pm              Luncheon, DGE John Hanrahan
1:15-2:15pm                 Concurrent breakouts:
·         Secretary Breakout & Treasurer Breakout
·         Rotaractor meeting with Youth Chairs
1:15 –2:30pm               Rotary Foundation – DG Scott Leckman, Foundation Chairman, group discussion
2:30 – 3:45pm              Membership - Brett Mickelson, Membership Chair
3:45 – 4:00pm              Break (Snacks & Drinks)
4:00 – 5:00pm              Public Image – Tom Kelly, Public Image Chair, group discussion
5:00-5:15pm                 Closing Remarks for Assembly, DGE John Hanrahan and District Trainer Dean Jackson
There will be one link to all material online following PETS & Assembly

Monday, September 3, 2018


SALT LAKE CITY - Utah Rotary District Governor Scott Leckman and Immediate-Past District Governor Beverly Christy are pleased to announce a donation in the amount of $1 million from LDS Charities, the humanitarian services arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  This major gift to The Rotary Foundation, a non-profit corporation supporting the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programs, will be used to continue Rotary’s ongoing effort to eradicate polio from the earth.
 “We are grateful to the LDS Church for this generous donation on behalf of the world’s children. We are pleased to be in partnership with the Church in this greatest public health initiative in the history of humankind.”  Leckman adds, “These funds will now be matched 2-to-1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of our amazing partners in this effort.”

In 1979, Rotary's first Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) Grant was to Rotarians in the Philippines to immunize 6 million children with the polio vaccine. The success of this effort led members worldwide to believe Rotarians could play a big role in public health. In 1985, Rotary announced its commitment to eradicate polio. It was the first organization to set this goal. In 1988, the WHO, joined in making the same commitment.

“When Rotary began the fight against polio about 1,000 kids in 125 countries around the world were diagnosed with polio … every day!” notes the longtime member of Salt Lake Rotary Club and a well-respected general surgeon in Salt Lake City.  He adds, “In 2017, there were only 22 cases in the world – all in Afghanistan and Pakistan.  That’s a drop in confirmed cases of more than 99 percent.  Rotary has contributed more than $1.7 billion and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries. In addition, Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by donor governments to contribute more than $7.2 billion to the effort. But we’re not yet to the finish line because as long as there remains a threat anywhere, it is a threat everywhere!”

“We are very grateful for this contribution and for the continuing positive relationship Rotarians in Utah have with LDS leadership,” states Carol Pandak, Director of Polio Plus at Rotary International, headquartered in Evanston, Illinois.

The church grant is specifically for polio immunizations for children in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

There are currently 35,565 chartered Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries worldwide, cutting across dozens of languages, political and social structures, customs, religions and traditions. On July 1, 2018 there were more than 1.2 million Rotarians “doing good in the world.”

For more information, contact Dr. Jay Jacobson by email to  To contribute to Rotary’s polio end game, see

Sunday, August 5, 2018

West Jordan Rotary Celebrates 30 Years of Community Service

The West Jordan Rotary Club celebrated 30 years of service to our community on June 28, 2018, at Gardner Village in West Jordan. Dignitaries that attended the event included West Jordan Mayor, Jim Riding; Scott Leckman, Rotary Governor for Utah District 5420; and cofounders of the West Jordan club, Bob Ladenburger and Craig Dearing. The club was also honored to have Paul Quist, the club's second President, attend the event. 

The club was founded in 1987 by Bob Ladenburger, a hospital administrator at the Jordan Valley Hospital, and West Jordan’s own Craig Dearing, President of the Chamber at the time. “Rotary Clubs exists to do good in the world,” stated Craig Dearing. “Bob and I could not imagine a city as engaging as West Jordan, not having a Rotary club.”

Since its inception in 1987, the club has contributed to the surrounding communities including West Jordan, South Jordan, Riverton, Bluffdale, and Herriman in countless ways. Its projects include planting over 100 trees in the town, building the first of its type baseball field in Utah for disabled children in the city’s main park, called the SME Field of Dreams; and creating playgrounds for disabled children as well as non-disabled children in West Jordan. The club has sponsored over 20 Utah high school student to study for a full academic school year as well as receiving over 20 foreign exchange students. Each year the club distributes over 3000 dictionaries to third-graders in Jordan School District and gives annual scholarships to students desiring post-high school education attending Bingham, Copper Hills, and West Jordan High Schools.  In addition, the club has been heavily involved in projects to assist children impacted by the AIDS epidemic in South Africa and children in Costa Rica who are victims of sex trafficking.

“It has been a remarkable journey,” stated Kelly Atkinson, one of only two charter members remaining in the club. “This community has benefited from the work of Rotary, and we each have benefited by the service rendered on behalf of the generous and giving people of the West Jordan Club.”

The night of celebration included a $2,000 check awarded to the club’s partner in its South Africa project, a $600 check given to SL County Recreation to support the club’s Field of Dreams Ballfield by scholarshipping impoverished disabled children so they may participate in league play, and a $1,000  check contributed in the name of Mayor Jim Riding for his exceptional public service to the community. Also, the club inducted two new members into its ranks, Alicia Summers and Ellie Mulder.

“This club has helped to transform this community,” stated Bob Ladenburger, who is now a resident of Denver, Colorado. “I cannot believe how much the club has contributed to the West Jordan community by its many accomplishments.”

Monday, May 21, 2018

Utah Rotary loses a great Rotarian way too soon

Russ Perry came running up to me like an eager little boy a number of years ago, after my District Grants presentation at PETS. His exuberance and energy was uncharacteristic for the event, but it actually was characteristic of Russ. At the end of that first meeting he declared, "we are going to be great friends!" and that's exactly what happened.

Over my years of friendship with Rusty, I heard many stories of his Rotary escapades, the money he raised for one cause or another, the grants he wanted to participate in, his clubs' many projects. He used to hike dictionaries to the Indians at the bottom of the Grand Canyon as part of the Vernal dictionary project. He always took things to the next level, going way beyond what most of us ever consider to serve more and better.

He was that way with peace, and as a member of the District's Peace Committee, he took the initiative to travel to a number of Rotary Clubs, promoting Peace as an Area of Focus in Rotary and Peace Ambassadorial Scholarships. He was a key decision maker in the commitment by the District to move forward in sponsoring the Columbia Peace Initiative Global Grant, and actually assisted in raising money towards it despite his own personal difficulties this past month. His biggest passion in the world was peace through helping people. He was a man of strong conviction and dedication to his family, his friends, his Rotary family and he will be missed. 

When Governor Bev asked me to write this article, I wasn't sure if I was the appropriate one to write it. There are many people who knew him longer and better than I. Yet I also realize as I have spoken with many of you this week, that we all had the same love for Russ, and that the one thing I could do, was mirror that love back to you.

Love and light,

Kris Swanson

District Grants Chair
Rotary District 5420