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Who’s Coming to Lunch?

In our ongoing attempt to be transparent with all things fiscal that began with the presentation about our “Three Buckets” of money — Club Budget, Club Foundation and RI Foundation — today, we would like to address the subtle and not-so-subtle aspects about paying for lunch.

“Meal Income” and “Catering Expense” are the two largest items in our Club Budget. First, the basics: We have arranged with Chef Antonio at EMQ/FF to prepare our lunches almost every Tuesday throughout the year. In order to insure that we have enough food and that EMQ/FF gets a fair price, we guarantee to pay for 55 meals each week, at a cost of $8.50, and Chef Antonio prepares enough delicious food for at least 55 people.

Some meetings we have more people, some meetings we have fewer. There is no way to determine accurately, how many people will walk in for a Tuesday meeting. Will all members attend? Who will bring a guest? How many Visiting Rotarians will there be? Who knows? So, we agreed on the number 55, which is pretty close, most weeks.

We charge members $10 per meal — whether you eat or not; whether you attend or not. Two exceptions here: If you miss one of our meetings and attend a “make-up” meeting at another club, and pay for your lunch there, you are given a “credit” of $10 for the meal you paid for at the other club. So, if you do make up at another club, be sure to inform Secretary Dave Crowley that you did so.

The second exception is if you are an “Exempt” member (aka “Senior Active” or “Rule of 85”) you are billed only for the meals at meetings you attend.

Visiting Rotarians pay $15 for lunch with us. If you have ever made up at another Bay Area club, you know that this a real bargain for our Visiting Rotarians!

But, what if you bring a guest? Guests pay, or you pay for them, the same rate as Visiting Rotarians. For example, for our Valentine’s meeting, I invited Pam to join us for lunch. I paid the $15 for her lunch. If your brother-in-law from Toledo is in town for a visit or your business colleague is in from Denver and you want to bring them to lunch, please do, and pay the $15 for them at the door with Treasurer Kathy Williamson.

Now, if your guest is a potential club member, they are allowed up to three free lunchesso they can find out more about us and get a feel if we are a good fit for them. After their third “visit,” the expectation is that they will either submit an application to join or that you or they will pay the $15 for a visitor’s lunch.

So, if all goes well, the club plans to make a little money on lunches throughout the year to help pay for the day-to-day expenses and some of the surprise expenses of the club. But, nobody is getting rich off our lunches. Our guest speakers are, of course, treated to lunch as our guests.

Every Rotary Club handles meals differently. Our arrangement has been in effect for many years and seems, for the most part to work well for us. If you are passionate about doing things differently in the future, this would be a good time for you to volunteer for a leadership position on the Board of Directors, so you can help shape the future of lunches. Also, if you would like any other information about the workings of our club, send John an email and maybe your question will be answered in a future edition of “President’s Corner.”

Membership & Attendance

At last week’s meeting, we made mention of a special class of membership. It seemed to generate a number of questions, so we will use today’s blog to try to clear up some issues surrounding membership and attendance.

Rotary International recognizes two types of membership: Active and Honorary.

Honorary membership is like having an Honorary Degree from a university. It’s an honor. No dues, no expectations of attendance at meetings. Honorary membership is often reserved for heads of state, major corporate donors like Bill Gates, and other luminaries. I don’t believe our club has bestowed an Honorary Membership on anyone in recent history.

Active members are divided into two groups: Active and Exempt. Exempt members used to be referred to as “Senior Active” or “Rule of 85” members. In brief, a member whose age plus years of Rotary membership is equal to or greater than 85, can request from their club’s board to be designated as an “Exempt” member. The only thing the member is exempt from is regular attendance, although exempt members are welcome and encouraged to maintain regular weekly attendance. Indeed, some of our “exempt” members proudly boast of decades worth of 100% attendance!

The other “perk” to being an exempt member is that members pay (along with regular dues) only for the lunches when they are in attendance at regular weekly meeting. Active members are charged for lunch whether they attend or not. This helps the club meet our minimum guarantee to EMQ’s chef for our delicious Tuesday lunches.

This brings us to attendance requirements for Rotarians. In the past, 100% attendance was the expectation. In recent years, that expectation has been reduced and credit toward attendance at meetings is now granted if members take part in Rotary sponsored events, be they social or project oriented events. So, if you help serve dinner at Home First or attend a Thirsty Thursday event, that counts just as if you attended a regular meeting.

The main importance of regular attendance, however, has nothing to do with rules or expectations. The main point of regular attendance is the bonds it helps create between members. The more you get to know each other and others get to know you, the stronger the club becomes. The stronger the club becomes, the better we are able to serve our community. See you at our next meeting!

Regular Attendance

ABCs of RotaryFrom The ABC’s of Rotary

Regular attendance is essential to a strong and active Rotary Club. The emphasis on attendance is traced back to 1922, when RI announced a worldwide attendance contest that motivated thousands of Rotarians to achieve 100% attendance year after year. Many Rotarians take great pride in maintaining their 100% record in their own club or by making up at other Rotary club meetings.

Rotary e-clubs make it easy for members to make up meetings online. To earn an attendance credit, Rotarians log on to an e-club’s website, read online material on a range of subjects, post comments, and submit a form to the club secretary. Find a complete list of Rotary e-clubs and the languages “spoken” at

Although the RI Bylaws require members to attend only 50% of all meetings, many clubs encourage more frequent attendance because the absence of any member deprives the club of the value of its diversi?ed membership, the contributions of all members to ongoing club projects, and the personal fellowship of each member. The club’s board of directors may determine appropriate reasons for excusing absences.

The RI Board of Directors approved the Meeting Frequency pilot (2007-13), which allows participating clubs to meet on any schedule other than a weekly meeting. If the pilot clubs prove successful, the Council on Legislation could adopt policies making
these innovations permanent.

If you have any questions about Campbell Rotary attendance requirements, please email President John Shannon.

More Rotary Firsts…

  • The First Rotary Convention held outside the U.S. was in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1921.
  • The First head of state to address an RI Convention was U.S. President Warren G. Harding in 1923 at St. Louis, Missouri.
  • The First Rotary club banner (from the Houston Space Center Rotary club) to orbit the moon was carried by astronaut club member Frank Borman on the Apollo 8 ?ight in 1968.
  • Rotary first established Paul Harris Fellow recognition in 1957 for contributors of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation.

Welcome to President Janine!

President Marv’s Farewell