Leif Van Grinsven was the D-6270 Global Grant Scholar in 2019-2020. He is a product of Cudahy, Wisconsin, and a graduate of Wheaton College, where he not only excelled in academics but was also a three-time All-American in Track and Field. His Global Grant Scholarship resulted in a Master of Arts in Development Studies from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom. After several short stints with the United Nations and the World Health Organization, he landed in Rwanda and then in Malawi, where his newly developed skills in economic development have produced great results.
In his own words, he reports the following. Small Farm Cities (SFC) has grown considerably. We have two sites, our development center, which acts as an idea incubator/product staging area, and our 3.5-hectare Mpingu build out site, which serves as a demonstration of what SFC looks like when it scales. Mpingu is complete with several staff houses, 14 commercial greenhouses with 23,000 plants (we harvested roughly 4-5 tons a week), 6 commercial ponds stocked with 25,000 fish, and various other activities (basketball court, soccer field, staff house, distribution center). We’ve settled into the business of building accessible planned communities that create value through horticulture and aquaculture, and we provide a pathway for upward mobility for people of all demographics through storing and applying that value in the houses they can buy and live in.

We currently have over 60 staff — 10 college-educated development associates/managers and over 50 professionals with high school or lower education level. There are 6 development staff living on site, and we will have even more professionals living at Mpingu when we complete construction of our staff house. All staff are earning toward full ownership of a house/apartment unit. On top of this, we hold daily English lessons for all staff and are working on helping all staff achieve their high school equivalent diploma. We’ll be embarking on building and selling several more buildings to our Mpingu site and then working toward another funding round at the start of the spring quarter.

Here's a brief video from several months ago that captures some of what’s been happening here. What is exciting is that all footage is from our sites and the video was produced entirely by our talented team. [Ed.: Also see the attached PDF containing a brief about Small Farm Cities Africa.]

I can’t thank Rotary enough for enabling me to study development and gain the knowledge that I apply daily here. I would be happy to share what SFC and I have been up to and how Rotary has enabled this to happen whenever and however I can. Thank you again and looking forward to sharing more updates soon.

Leif is willing to connect with any local Rotary club via Zoom to provide a more detailed presentation of the work he is doing and how his Global Grant Scholarship made it possible. Contact him at: leif.vangrinsven@gmail.com. When asking him to present, please remember that there is a 7-hour time difference during CDT and an 8-hour time difference during CST.
Rotary International District 6270 is awarding a Global Grant Scholarship in the amount of $30,000 to Brigitte N. Potter of Glendale, Wisc. The grant has been approved by The Rotary
Foundation with an 80% match of District Designated Funds (DDF) provided by the district. 

Ms. Potter will use the grant to obtain a Master of Science degree in International Migration and Public Policy at the London School of Economics and Political Science in the United Kingdom. She intends to focus on the issues surrounding refugees and forced migration. Her Rotary Area of Focus is “Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution.”

Ms. Potter is a graduate of UW-Milwaukee and has studied abroad at the University of Granada in Spain. She has also worked in refugee camps in Greece and for a maternal health organization in Uganda. In Milwaukee, she continues to volunteer among the refugee population. She states, “I’m eager to learn what can be done from a social and political perspective to prevent forced migration at its root and as a result keep people safe within their communities.”

Her graduate program is a 12-month program and will end in September 2024. She is married to Dan Scholz, also a Milwaukee native, whom she describes as “a wonderfully supportive husband.” 
Rotary International District 6270 consists of 53 Rotary clubs and two Rotaract clubs in southeastern Wisconsin. Rotary International is a global network with 530 districts and 1.4 million neighbors, friends, and leaders who volunteer their skills and resources to solve issues and address community needs. The Rotary Foundation transforms gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world. Since it was founded more than 100 years ago, the Foundation has spent more than $4 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects.
Get Tickets  Purchase your ticket by Wed June 14, 2023 Advance reservations and payment are required – no walk-ins.

Join Us for an Inspiring Evening!

Join us to celebrate the accomplishments of the 2022-23 Rotary year under the leadership of District Governor Mike Phillips and look ahead to 2023-24 with Don Griffing as our new District Governor!

Who: All Rotarians, Rotaractors, and their spouses/significant others are invited

When: Wednesday, June 28, 2023 | 5:00 - 8:30 PM
   5:00 Doors open
   5:15 Social Hour (Cash Bar)
   6:00 Buffet Dinner with Dessert
   8:30 Program Concludes

Where: Chandelier Ballroom, 150 Jefferson Street, Hartford, WI 53027
Cost: Price per person*
Credit Card $45 (includes CC processing fees) Click here to purchase your tickets
Check $42

Purchase your ticket or RSVP by 11:59 PM on June 14, 2023
Advance reservations and payment are required – no walk-ins.
* If paying by
  • Credit Card, click the "Get Tickets" button above and complete the online form and payment.
  • Check, do not use the online form. Instead, send an email to dana.kohlmeyer@rotary6270.org Please include name(s), Rotary club name, phone, and any food allergy concerns. Make your check payable to Rotary District 6270 and mail to P.O. Box 0726, Manitowoc, WI 54221

Keynote Speaker: Chris Kolenda, “Challenges Veterans Face” 

Christopher D. Kolenda, Ph.D., founder of the Strategic Leaders Academy, writes life-changing books, bicycles for great causes like the 1700-mile Fallen Hero Honor Ride, and helps leaders achieve their dreams. A West Point graduate, internationally renowned combat leader, and retired Army colonel, he was a trusted advisor to three 4-star generals and two Secretaries of Defense. Chris became the first American to have both fought the Taliban as a commander in combat and negotiated successfully with them in peace talks. 
His unique warrior-diplomacy has been featured in New York Times bestselling books, including The Outpost by Jake Tapper. His contributions have also been cited in the world's leading newspapers and on television. Chris’s books include Leadership: The Warrior's Art, and INDIE'S #1 War & Military book of 2021, Zero-Sum Victory: What We're Getting Wrong About War.

A member of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee, Chris was featured on the cover of Rotary magazine in March 2023

We hope to see you there!
Waukesha Club Uses a Custom “Zoom Machine” to Ease Tech Load
By Pete Bosch, April 13, 2023

Club meetings are more inclusive when delivered hybrid. But the equipment is time-consuming and complicated to set up and take down. Also, it is often difficult to show the audience, the speaker, and what the speaker is presenting, if they are including a PowerPoint in their program.

This article is about a simplified device and approach to hybrid meetings that my club uses. Setup and teardown both take less than 5 minutes. 

To read Pete's entire Zoom Machine article, download the PDF. It is filled with details and images.

Rotarians Prepare Medical Supplies for Shipment to Ukraine

At 8 AM on December 3rd, 2022 the first of two shifts assembled in a donated 40,000-square-foot warehouse in Germantown. Rotarians from the Milwaukee - and other - Rotary clubs and volunteers with the Ukrainian Medical Association of North America (UMANA) were briefed on the day’s efforts by Dr. Doug Davis.

Over the course of the morning, five pallets of donated medical supplies from Hospitals throughout Wisconsin were broken down and sorted into stations representing 12 situational categories from Front Line EMT & Emergency Room, to Surgical, Wound Care, Rehab, PPE, and others. At each of those stations, those supplies, along with others staged from previous efforts were further sorted by volunteers with medical experience into dozens of subcategories such as catheters, suture kits, central lines, wound care, ECG Electrodes, and so on. 

Layperson volunteers at each station boxed the supplies according to subcategory and loaded them into Gaylords (giant cardboard crates). Shipping manifests were attached to the Gaylords and they were moved to an outbound shipping area.

Through the hard work of UMANA member Anya Verkhovskaya, these Gaylords will be shipped through Gdansk, Poland to Lviv, Ukraine. In Lviv, there are even more volunteers, working long hours in a cramped and bomb-damaged warehouse, often in cold and low light. These people will partition the boxes of specific supplies into carefully configured shipments to hospitals, clinics, front-line aid stations, and even combat medics. Then still more volunteers – some braving direct small arms and artillery fire, will transport these supplies to their destinations where they will be put to work saving lives.

High-criticality and high-value donations such as procedural equipment, pain and anesthetic medications, wound vacs and surgical instruments are packaged into suitcases, and “mules,” people who are traveling to Ukraine, carry them directly and much more quickly, to the volunteers in Lviv. UMANA has shipped hundreds of suitcases full of such supplies.

At a shift changeover assembly, we were informed that in typical warfare, for every three people wounded, one dies. Due in small part to our efforts – and with a very humble nod towards the inspiring performance of their military, for Ukrainians, that figure improves to only one death per seven wounded.

Today, we packaged about nine tons of supplies. The entire effort in Wisconsin has sent over 80 tons and the parent effort, centered in Illinois, has collectively sent about 350 tons of supplies. The need is immense, and the effort will go on. 


Rotary International District 6270 is pleased to announce that Nicole McNevin of Neenah, Wisc., has received a prized Rotary Peace Fellowship (RPF) for 2023-2025. She has been accepted into the Master’s Course in Peace Studies, Public Policy and Public Research Program, at International Christian University (ICU), Tokyo, Japan.
The daughter of Mary & Richard McNevin of Neenah, Wisc., Nicole is a graduate of Neenah High School and Wheaton College, Ill. (2017) She speaks Japanese and is currently in the 4th year of the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program where she teaches English and culture to students in low-income areas.
February 22, 2023 via Rotary.org

Turkey and Syria were struck by a devastating earthquake on 6 February that has killed tens of thousands of people, destroyed thousands of homes and other structures, and left people across the region without shelter in bitterly cold winter weather. While still providing aid to those impacted by the first earthquake, another 6.4 magnitude earthquake occurred in the same area on 20 February, bringing even more devastation. 

The Rotary world responded to this catastrophe immediately. RI President Jennifer Jones activated our disaster response efforts, communicated with the affected districts, and encouraged governors in those regions to apply for disaster response grants and share information about their relief efforts so that Rotary can amplify the calls for support.

Read the full story here

Rotary's project partner ShelterBox also has an emergency response team assessing the needs in the region and how it can respond. That team is communicating with Rotary district leaders. Rotary's service partner Habitat for Humanity International is also working on its response. Many Rotary members are asking how they can help. Here's how to have the greatest impact:

  • Give to Turkey/Syria Disaster Response Fund. Donations help clubs and districts provide aid and support rebuilding efforts where the need is greatest. The funds are distributed to affected communities through disaster response grants. The Disaster Response Fund can accept cash contributions and District Designated Funds (DDF).
  • Support local initiatives. As we learn about local response efforts that are being led by clubs and districts, Rotary raises awareness about how to support them. People can then support these projects by working directly with Rotary members in the region. If you want us to publicize information about local response efforts, write to relief@rotary.org.
On 25 January the five Ozaukee County Rotary clubs embraced this year’s theme “Imagine Rotary”, by coordinating the first of many “Rotary Mix & Mingle” events. This event was promoted and open to the public. Rotarians and guests had an opportunity to Meet-Network-Share Ideas. Each club president, or their representative shared some of their club’s recent projects and invited prospective and former members to visit a meeting, or future club event.
Mequon-Thiensville Sunrise member Cindy Shaffer was our host at her Spur 16 development’s Mequon Public Market and provided the 85+ guests with delicious small plates and beverages. Thiensville-Mequon Noon member, PE Jenne Hohn, was the cheerleader of this event and received press support and participation from many members of the other Ozaukee County Rotary clubs of Cedarburg- Grafton, Port Washington-Saukville, and Mequon-Milwaukee Diversity Passport.
Thanks to having this event listed on the D6270’s calendar we had guest appearances and announcements from DG Mike Phillips, Polio Plus Society Chair Rob Bassett, and Milwaukee RC’s International Chair Pat Cronin. There were also two members from the Elmbrook RC visiting to see how this type of Rotary networking event could be duplicated in their area. All in all, it was a very successful and enjoyable initial event and a great way for the Ozaukee County Rotary clubs to “Imagine Rotary”. (Contributor, Brian Monroe; Photos, Dean Johnson)
Rotary International President-elect R. Gordon R. McInally called for members to capture the world's attention and lead the way toward possibilities far beyond our current expectations.

McInally, a member of the Rotary Club of South Queensferry, West Lothian, Scotland, revealed the 2023-24 presidential theme, Create Hope in the World, during the Rotary International Assembly in Orlando, Florida, USA, on 9 January. He urged members to promote peace in troubled nations, help those affected by conflict, and maintain the momentum of initiatives begun by past leaders.

"The goal is to restore hope — to help the world heal from destructive conflicts and, in turn, to help us achieve lasting change for ourselves," McInally said at Rotary's annual training event for incoming district governors.
In the face of the unprovoked and brutal attack by Russia on Ukraine, District 6270 and its Rotary Clubs have stepped up in many ways to alleviate suffering in Ukraine.

The Formation of the Rotary Disaster Response Fund’s Ukraine Effort

Shortly after Ukraine was invaded by Russia in February of 2022, Rotarians started asking Rotary International (RI) to provide grants in service of humanitarian aid to Ukraine. The RI Trustees met in late February and decided to use the Disaster Response Fund for the purpose. They announced that all donations to the fund between March 3rd and April 30th would be dedicated to service to Ukraine. During those eight weeks, Rotarians donated almost $15MM to the fund, and grants became immediately available.
Grants would be limited to $25K per district, and require partnering with a club in or near Ukraine for on-the-ground execution. Signatories would be District Governors and Rotary Foundation Chairs, and reporting would be required on an annual basis, and at completion.

During the next 37 weeks, 274 districts in 55 countries participated, running 440 grants, providing a wide range of needs from medical and hospital equipment to refugee shelters and psychological support. Our own district processed three grants.
We are thrilled to announce that Elizabeth “Liz” Nevitt has been selected as our candidate for District Governor for the 2025/2026 Rotary year, subject to approval by Rotary International and ratification by the District members at the annual business meeting in the spring of 2023.

Liz is a fourth generation Rotarian. She joined the Menasha Rotary Club in 1998 and moved to the Ripon Rotary Club in 2012. Liz served as President of each club twice, and held other club leadership roles. At the District level, she served as Assistant Governor for three years, District Family of Rotary Resource Group Coordinator and has been the District Stewardship Subcommittee Chair for the past three years. Liz is also a Rotary Foundation Major Donor, Paul Harris Sustaining Member, and the District's newest PolioPlus Society member.

Please join us in congratulating her and thanking her for her continuing service to Rotary.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has been informed of a case of paralytic polio in an unvaccinated individual in Rockland County, New York, United States.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are coordinating with New York State health authorities on their investigation. Initial sequencing confirmed by CDC indicates that the case is type 2 VDPV.

Any form of poliovirus anywhere is a threat to children everywhere. It is critical that the GPEI Polio Eradication Strategy 2022-2026 is fully resourced and fully implemented everywhere, to ensure a world free of all forms of poliovirus can be achieved.

We are calling on every single Rotarian to take action and be a part of the fight to end polio, helping to raise $50 million per year for polio eradication.

Mike McGovern

Chair, International PolioPlus Committee

Rotary District 6270 is excited to announce the start of the PolioPlus Society in our district.  This is a district program to recognize those Rotarians, Rotaractors, and friends of Rotary, who have pledged to give at least $100 annually to the PolioPlus Fund of The Rotary Foundation, until the wild poliovirus is no longer endemic around the world. The goal of this PolioPlus Society is to raise awareness and provide recognition for Rotary’s goal of eliminating the disease from the planet. 

We would like to invite you to consider and join the Rotary District 6270 PolioPlus Society by completing the pledge form on the PolioPlus Society page, https://rotary6270.org/sitepage/polioplus-society.  Members of the Rotary District 6270 PolioPlus Society will receive a certificate and a specially designed PolioPlus Society lapel pin.