Rotary Minute: Ann Evans

Some of you have asked me to talk about my work in Africa;  but today I want to use my Rotary Minute to talk about what it means to me to be a Rotarian.

It was two years ago that Melissa Mills met me at gate 4 of Center Fest.  As she collected my $5 donation to the Arts, she used that opportunity to talk to me about Rotary.  Then she directed me to the Rotary tent where I met Newman. Melissa followed up with a phone call, invited me to a Rotary meeting and on the 24th of October I became a Rotarian.

Since then I’ve attended 3 district meetings, joined the International Grant committee, the Education committee, attended Rotary International in Atlanta, volunteered for one of the events there, volunteered for Center Fest both last year and this year and participated in a walk to end Alzheimers.  Because of Rotarians in this club, I connected with Habitat for Humanity, joined fundraising for The Carolina Theatre, joined the Board of Sister Cities, became the co-treasurer for the Sister Cities Arusha, Tanzania committee and accepted the task of equipping a medical clinic in Arusha and a maternity center that is about to be built.  Since joining Rotary I also became a Paul Harris Fellow, then a Society member and I’ve got my sights on the legacy program.

I suppose I could say that I joined Rotary to erase any free time that I might have had….but the truth is, I had no idea where joining Rotary would lead.  My decision to join Rotary was also influenced by learning that people I was working with in my Africa project were Rotarians – this included friends from Stop Hunger Now in Raleigh.  The Ugandan friend in Juba South Sudan who helps me with logistics had been in Rotaract in high school and now is President Elect of his Juba Rotary Club.  Another Rotary connection came from working with 2012 Rotary Peace Fellow from Charlotte – Patricia Shafer, founder and CEO of Mothering Across Continents.  Gradually, I began to believe that Rotarians just might be my tribe.

Now, after two years I can better articulate what it means to me to be a Rotarian.  I am a Rotarian because I believe in service to others. I believe in ending poverty, I believe all people should have clean water to drink, access to sanitation, shelter, food, healthcare and education.  I believe that we all should live in peace and without peace, nothing else will matter.  I believe that those who can, should help others and we should do so by the measure of our abilities and resources.  I believe that working together we accomplish more and the outcomes are better than working alone.  I believe that pooling our financial resources improves our success.  I believe in honesty, integrity, in doing what’s right.  I believe in speaking truth to power.  I believe that leaders should be good examples that inspire young people and when they aren’t they should be removed from power and position.  I believe we all make mistakes and the measure of a person is whether they own their mistakes and whether and how they correct them.

I once read that babies are waiting in the atmosphere and get to choose their families. I asked our son if he thought that was true.  Without skipping a beat he replied, “Yes, I chose you over all the others!”  Even though I loved his reply, I knew it wasn’t so.  In fact, I knew that I was fortunate to be born at a time in history, a location in the world and into a family that provided me opportunities that many people in the world do not have.  I believe privilege comes with responsibility.  I believe that pooling my lot with yours makes me a better person.  I believe that being a Rotarian is a privilege providing both opportunity and a responsibility for service.

In the past 2 years I’ve learned that this club is made up of people who live the Rotary pledge of service to others.  I am impressed by the range of skills and the depth and breadth of commitment.  Yes, I’m convinced that I found my tribe and I love working with you.

I’m also convinced that the Foundation is a brilliantly designed and efficient vehicle for pooling funds, for weaving together members of other clubs to transform lives – from water projects in Africa to toilet projects in India.  The people in this club do much more than gather each week for lunch – we are a family dedicated to action in service of others.  That’s why I am a Rotarian and happy to be a member of this club.

In closing, I am pleased to tell you that the project I started in Africa is coming online.  For now you can connect to it through:  This link is on the back of the small cards on your table.  As I approach my second anniversary of being a Rotarian, I would be honored if you would log onto the website.  Then, if you think that this project is worthy and choose to make a contribution of any size, really ANY size, one time or recurring – I will be grateful for your contribution and even more grateful that you chose to take my hand in support of this project.  And I thank you for all of the good work that you do in service of others and I look forward to many years of working together.  Thank you!


  1. Hi Anne-this speech of yours spoke to me! I will see if there are Rotarians in Alaska!
    A great bunching of humanitarian groups!!
    Well done!

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