Donald Addu – Citizen’s Climate Lobby

petite young woman with several degrees in environmental related areas named Katie Rose Levin joined the Club a little less than a year ago. Among other things she is the is the co-founder of the non-profit TreesDurham and volunteers with a non-partisan group called Citizens’ Climate Lobby. In April Katie, now a professional arborist, delivered a program on the history of trees in Durham.  And now in May Katie has brought us a program delivered by her husband, Donald Addu, who is the Southeast Regional Director of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. 

Mr. Addu is a native North Carolinian and graduate of Appalachian State university with a degree in Ecology and Environmental Biology. He has spent over ten years now advocating for renewable energy and action on climate change.  In 2011 he founded the first Citizens’ Climate Lobby group in North Carolina and is currently the Southeast Director managing over 40 active groups spanning the Carolinas, Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia, Florida and Alabama. This means that he spends most of his time focusing on two things, grassroots organizing and direct Congressional lobbying.   [Read more…]

Thank you to Ann and Carl Evans

L to R: Dallas Stallings, Andy Esser, Ann Evans, Carl Evans

Carl and Ann Evans may have joined Rotary just a few years ago, but their impact has been amazing. Their financial support of the Rotary Foundation has placed them at  Major Donor Level 3 Rotary Foundation Supporters.  A Level 3 Major Donor is one who has given over $50,000 to the Foundation.  They have been active in the Sudan with their own long time projects dealing with health issues of women and children.  Ann shared her passion for Rotary’s international initiatives. She states, “There is so much work to be done in the world; it will take all of us making some sacrifices.  If we don’t, I fear the violence and terrorism that are gripping our communities and less developed countries will continue to gain ground.” We are so glad that Ann and Carl chose the Durham Rotary Club as their “tribe”.

The following are the giving levels for Major Donors:

Level Contribution (US$) 

Level 4 –  $100,000 to $249,999

Level 3 –  $50,000 to $99,999

Level 2 –  $25,000 to $49,999 

Level 1 –   $10,000 to $24,999

New Member: Ellen Stone

L to R: President Brady Surles, Kay Gresham, Ellen Stone, Rebecca Newton

Please take a moment to say hello and introduce yourself to our new member, Ellen Stone. Thank you to Rebecca Newton for your sponsorship of Ellen.

Here’s some background on Ellen career:

Ellen joined the staff of the Carolina Theatre of Durham in July 2018 as Senior Director of Development.

Ellen has spent over 40 years of in fundraising and event management– regionally, nationally and internationally – during 25 years in sports marketing and, most recently, 14 years as Director of Development at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

While in sports, Ellen worked in professional tennis for 10 years in Washington DC with ProServ directing the 3 annual professional tennis events on the men’s and women’s circuit. She then branched out to multi-sport events including the 1990 Goodwill Games for Turner Broadcasting and the 1996 Paralympic Games in Atlanta. She consulted with international sports organizations and events and helped start a national non-profit that integrates able-bodied and disabled people in sports events and programs, World T.E.A.M Sports, before moving back to her hometown of Durham in 2001.

At the North Carolina Museum of Art, Ellen directed a membership and development team that raised critical private funds on an annual basis to supplement state funding as the museum expanded its programs and campus development. In addition, she oversaw the museum’s largest campaign in its history, the $50 million Our Transformation campaign, in conjunction with the building of the West Gallery building in 2010 and Museum Park renovation in 2015. During Ellen’s tenure, the Museum experienced its highest number of members (25K HHs), received its largest planned gift ($9M) and received its largest cash donation ($13M).

Ellen is happy to be helping develop a robust Development program at the Carolina Theatre as Durham experiences an exciting period of growth.

Ellen’s daughter, Anna, is a 2018 graduate of UNC CH and has been enjoying a year in Spain teaching. Ellen’s advocacy work is dedicated to breast cancer prevention via a product she developed, Feel the Difference, that helps remind women to do their monthly breast self-exam.

May 8: A Visit to Hendrick Automotive

Gerald Ramoin is the last of a dying breed: he’s been with his current employer going on three decades now, in an age where millennials are predicted to work for over a dozen companies during the course of their careers. Ramoin, Market Area Vice President for Hendrick Automotive, hosted Monday’s offsite meeting at Hendrick Automotive in Durham, along with a number of his staff.  

Mr. Ramoin was introduced by Danielle Kaspar of the Washington Duke Inn.

Maybe it’s the business culture that has changed, rather than the employee mindset. Ramoin describes Rick Hendrick as a humble and generous self-made man, one reluctant to put the spotlight on himself or claim credit for his myriad good deeds in the communities that are home to his 110 dealerships. Judging by the testimonials of many Rotarians present at Monday’s offsite meeting who have purchased multiple Hendrick vehicles, the “doing good in the world” culture trickles down to the sales and service staff members. The result? Hendrick fans who are ready to share their positive experiences with others.   [Read more…]

Presentation: Alexandra Zagbayou – Student U

Durham is an amazing city! And part of the reason is Student U, which was started in 2005 by a group from UNC, NCCU, Duke, Durham Public Schools, and Durham Academy, determined to help Durham Public Schools students reach their full potential.  SU appears to have been the first organization of its kind in the country.

Lois Deloatch introduced Executive Director  Alexandra Zagbayou, just returned from a trip to China, who described SU’s work in a lively talk.  SU lives in what used to be the W. G. Pearson School (named after famed black educator William Gaston Pearson, 1858-1947), where Rotary met this week. The building was acquired and renovations begun in 2017 thanks to public-private partnerships and investments from Durham Public Schools, Durham County, Self-Help and other generous foundations and individuals (SU is now the main tenant). The building was then in a somewhat dilapidated condition (removing asbestos cost some $5 million), but is now fully restored, as Rotarians could see during a brief tour after the meeting. SU is funded byfoundations, corporations, government grants and individual donations.

SU aims to aid low-income, first-generation college-going students from the Durham Public Schools and help them take charge of their lives, sort out their goals — and achieve them, be they college or some other post-secondary qualification. SU takes in 50-60 students each year and walks with those students and families for 11 years to and through college. There is no cost. To date, 100% of SU students have graduated from high school, and they just celebrated their first class of college graduates last year. Students and teachers meet in the summer and after school for academic support and enrichment and to discuss students’ goals and how to achieve them. Should you go to college? Which college? How to minimize student debt? What are other alternatives?

          (Many Thanks for Elise Sharpe, for help)

          – John Staddon

Durham 150 Celebration

Despite the rain, Durham Rotarians showed up to celebrate Durham’s 150thAnniversary on April 13, 2019 at the American Tobacco Campus.  The celebration included speeches by the mayor, poetry reading, music and performances by the local Bouncing Bulldogs.  Attendees were invited to participate in various activities that focused on Durham’s rich history. The celebration focused upon four areas:  History & Education, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Social and Robust Democracy, and Arts & Leisure.  Rotary is an official sponsor of the Social Equity and Robust Democracy focus Area.

Elizabeth Weiner (R) and Karen Wells (L) representing the Rotary Club of Durham


Of the forty seven volunteers that signed up to assist with the event,  eleven of them were from the Rotary Club of Durham. We are proud to support the Durham 150 Celebrations in this great city that we call home.

Durham 150 Celebrations will continue in the upcoming months. Please consider participating in the planned events.