The Rotary Club of

Ojai Rotary Reminder Newsletter
January 6th, 2023

Bret Bradigan, Editor

January is Vocational Service Month

Are you an established professional who wants to make positive changes in your community and the world? Our club members are dedicated people who share a passion for community service and friendship. 
Our 1.2 million-member organization started with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.
In the beginning...
The sparkling post-storm morning turned into noontime as Rotary Club of Ojai members and assorted guests streamed into the St. Thomas Aquinas fellowship hall for the first meeting of 2023. They were ably parted from their lucre by treasurer-incarnate Dave Brubaker and greeted by Betsy Watson and Michael Scar. Co-President Marty Babayco took the mic-baton while Kay Bliss did her co-presidenting from ringside.
Larry Beckett led us in the pledge before Cindy Frings inspired us with her invoking message. Bill Prather and Kevin Davis assembled the room with gusto while yours truly, Bret the I, performs the duty of Reminding as Bret the II roved the room with the mic.
Visiting Rotarians and Guests
Guests included Dr. Bob Eisler, Brian Schlaak, and Dena Jensen, executive director of Cal Lutheran’s Center for Nonprofit Leadership (presenter). Visiting
Rotarians included Kern Lewis, a member of the Castro Valley Rotary Club and Jack McLenahan, past president of both the Rotary-West and Past District Governer 5240.
Special Guest, Dr. Jerry Maryniuk, a retired Emergency Room Physician, living in Ojai was welcomed.
- The 75th Anniversary Group was meeting after the meeting, led by Tony Thacher and Cheree Edwards.
- Speaking of which, heads up that the club will soon be taking a group photo, a great opportunity to show off the new Rotary polos being distributed by Fern Barishman.
- Taste of Ojai committee will be hosted by Cindy Frings next Thursday, Jan. 12, at 5 p.m. Let her know if you can attend. Also, Taste of Ojai sponsorships are available, and were handed out table side.
- Youth Services committee will also be meeting post-meeting, led by Don Reed.
- Membership committee also gathering up post-meeting.
- And a new member orientation, led by Deirdre Daly.
- Art Poster Contest: This exciting new project will be led by Marc Whitman and Christine Golden of the Youth Services Committee. They sought a couple of volunteers to help out with the school visits to get the principals involved and distribute the particulars.
- Board of Directors meets the third Thursday (Jan. 19 this month) at 7:30 am.
- International Service committee meets the second Tuesday.
- Education Foundation meets the third Wednesdays, Jan. 11th this month, at 8 a.m.
The program will be “Artists Among Us,” an exhibit and talk by local artists, who just happen to also be Rotarians.
Next such meeting, hosted by several members at their business sites, will take place Jan. 27th. Sign up with Wendy Barker for your choice of location and so she can get a head count for the business to provide lunch. Pay to the host.
FINING-Cindy Frings
Cindy Frings received a smatter of applause, more than customary actually as a long-standing club tradition seems to go by the wayside, as she fined based on New Year’s resolutions from members.
- Tony Thacher paid $20 to urge members to support the special 75th anniversary magazine. An advertising cost and spec sheet was distributed earlier. Contact Tony for more information.
- Cheree Edwards also confessed both urging us to participate in the 75th anniversary festivities and her 11th club anniversary.
- and so on to resolutions ...
- Rod Owens failed to guess that Jack Jacobs’ resolution was to grow taller.
- Brian Schlaak got a taste of things to come when he was fined.
- Larry Wilde also paid up for not guessing Marc Whitman’s resolution to “make more art” this year.
- Kern Lewis, despite his non-local membership status, paid up for not guessing Kathy Yee’s resolution to educate more women.
- Bruce Hanson dished out an Andy Jackson for not guessing Betsy Watson's resolve “not to get older.”
- And another fine was paid for failure to guess Bret the II Nighman’s wish “to visit six countries” in 2023.
PROGRAM--Dena Jensen
Jeff Loebl introduced Dena Jensen, director of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership at Cal Lutheran, a position she’s held for 21 years. She has also worked at the Ventura County Community Foundation, giving her a solid grounding in the local nonprofit sector.
She ran through an informational and inspiring presentation about the importance of nonprofits to our community, both locally and statewide. We learned that one in 14 jobs in California were in the nonprofit sector, more people than live in the entire state of Delaware, and that it is the 4th largest sector for jobs in the state. Volunteers in California total 4.8 million people, and $484.83 billion is contributed each year to the U.S. economy. That staggering figure increased during the pandemic.
Her pie chart showed that individuals make 67 percent of contributions, compared to 4 percent from corporations. The largest receiver of largesse is churches, followed by education, human services and foundations.
Jensen said that people give for different reasons at different ages. “Younger people want to be change makers, to be disrupters,” she said, and they also donate more volunteer hours. “They want that sweat equity.” Older people require more personal contact, while younger people just want the link to the give button.
In Ventura County there are 3,199 501(c)3 organizations, and in Ojai, around 300. Economically, $2.11 billion comes from nonprofits to Ventura County. Despite that impressive figure, our per capita is less than the state, Santa Barbara or Los Angeles county. That could be attributed to our relative youth, and/or higher percentage of working families.
It’s a tough business: more than 70 percent of nonprofits failed in the first year, which Jensen attributed to poor planning, not having “proof of concept” and missing critical needs.
Among the challenges, she said, “are the Persistent Overhead Myth,” in which donors fail to realize that only through paying their staff, rent, utilities and project costs are nonprofits able to do any good in the world. Funding issues also contribute “to the starvation doom loop,” in which the inability to raise money makes it harder to raise money. “There is also a major transfer of wealth going on” she said. “And changes in charitable giving,” that make it hard to flourish. Jensen said her motto for her training programs for nonprofit leaders is “if you live here, give here.”
Jensen’s lively and fascinating program ran out of time before she could show us the three-minute video in which the center’s various leadership training programs were outlined. But she said she’d provide us with a link to share with the members.
President Marty presiding today said that the Dr. Bob Skankey Humanitarian Award will be presented next week.
And LIFE HACKS Double Header:
-“Why make the same mistakes twice? There are so many new ones to make.”
- About 99 percent of the time, the right time is right now.”
And so, we concluded the wide-ranging, fun and informative meeting.

You are invited to visit us at an upcoming meeting.

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