New Member – Sasha Zarzour

Please join us in welcoming our new member, Sasha Zarzour sponsored by Elizabeth Pritchett Bass.

Sasha is originally from Newmarket, NH. She graduated from High Point University and received her Master’s in Nonprofit Management from Northeastern University. She lives in Durham, NC with her husband, Billy, and their two dogs, Wally and Susie. She is the Director of Development at Caring House, a nonprofit organization in Durham, where she has worked for over 3 years. Her hobbies include reading, running, and baking.

Presentation: District Governor – Marie Howard

Monday’s meeting brought the annual visit by the new District Governor. Marie Howard, a member of the Clayton Club, was introduced by the District Governor Elect David Haden, who also did a brief commercial for the next International Conference in Hawaii, which explained the shirt and lei worn by President Todd.  

District Governor Howard was introduced by David Hayden.

Governor Howard brought along her “First Dude,” David Howard, who is also a very involved Rotarian. She also acknowledged Club member and Past President and Past District Governor Newman Aguiar as the mentor that helped her prepare for her term.  

Like many good speakers, DG Howard started with a story to illustrate the concept of “connections” which is a big theme of Rotary. The story involved a Youth Exchange Student who ended up stuck in the Miami airport because of a missed connection on the way home to her family in South America. First Dude Dave was able to locate a nearby club, Miami Airport Rotary, believe it or not.  The club president jumped into action and made sure the student was safe, cared for and entertained waiting for the next flight.   [Read more…]

Paul Harris Fellowship (PHF)

L to R – Michael Tharp, Susan Miller, Elizabeth Pritchett Bass, Barker French, Arthur Rogers

Michael Tharp – Michael has been a member of our club since 2012.  He retired from the Durham School of the Arts and almost immediately picked up his passion for education by becoming actively involved in our work at YE Smith School.  He is not only an active Reading Ranger, but you will see him as an ever present figure at Books on Break.  Michael received his first PHF.

Susan Miller – a partner with DMJ & Co and just recently recognized as a Paul Harris Society Member.  She is also our Club Treasurer.  We thank her for the many hours she gives to Rotary and present her with her PHF Plus 6.
Elizabeth Pritchett Bass – has just begun a leave of absence as she and her husband Dustin are about to have their second baby on August 27th.  Elizabeth is a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley.  Today she brought in a new member and receives her PHF Plus 1.
Barker French’s name is all over Durham from the East Durham Children’s Initiative, Durham Tech and so many more and yet he’s so committed to Rotary that he and his daughter, Hillary are co-chairing the Second Century Fund for our Club this year.  PHF Plus 6.
Our Awesome Past President Arthur Rogers has served in many capacities not only in our club but the District as well.  In addition he has a reputation for having brought innumerable guests, visitors and new members into our Club.  Congratulations on PHF Plus 3.

Centerfest 2019

Calling All Durham Rotarians!

The Durham Arts Council is bringing the 45th Annual CenterFest Arts Festival to downtown Durham, and you can be a big part of making it happen!

The Rotary Club of Durham is playing a big role in helping make CenterFest Arts Festival a wonderful event for our community again this year!  Our Rotary Club is a sponsor of the event and helps by providing volunteer Rotarians who are asked to sign up for a 2-hour volunteer shift to help at  CenterFest Entrance Gates and Coke Booths.  Your role is to greet visitors, accept gate donations, and sell Coca-Cola Beverages (donated by Durham Coca-Cola Bottling Co.) All proceeds support the festival and also supports arts education programs of the Durham Arts Council in schools and the community.

Dates:  Saturday and Sunday, September 21 & 22, 2019.


Over 130 visual artists from near and far will showcase their work, and 75 performing arts groups will provide continuous music, dance and entertainment throughout the festival including extended Saturday evening entertainment. Add in yummy local food trucks, festival foods, hands on activities and Durham’s inspiring nonprofit and government services booths and you have the best way to kick off the fall season!  Bring the family, bring your friends, bring the neighborhood!  Over 34,000 visitors are anticipated for this exciting event.  CenterFest is ranked in the Top 100 Fine Arts Festivals in the United States (#56), and was just named “Best Festival” by Triangle Downtowner Magazine.

Festival hours are Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 11am-5pm. In the Heart of Downtown Durham!


2019 CenterFest Presenting Sponsor:  Duke Performances


Presentation: Don’t Waste Durham


Introduced by Rotarian, Elisabeth Wiener, Crystal Dreisbach, Founder & Executive Director of Don’t Waste Durham, told us that she was born in Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho but has fallen in love with Durham since moving here. She took us on an energizing and informative ride through her six year old non-profit devoted to “preventing trash at its source.” 

 Dreisbach explained that while the goal of recycling is commendable there are a number of problems with it. All efforts at reducing waste require changes in behavior and people need an incentive to change their behavior. She mentioned the bottle deposits collected in certain parts of the country and the fact that in those areas a person rarely sees bottles of any kind along roadsides. She startled us with the fact that only 9% of recyclable items are actually recycled and that all those items are down-cycled. That means that they are not reused but broken down. She also told us that Durham’s trash travels nearly 100 miles to its final disposal site. 

Because Durham’s landfill was closed some time ago, our trash takes this long and expensive trip to become the problem of our neighbors in Sampson County. Both environmental and equity issues abound in this practice. 

 Dreisbach’s organization’s actions on a number of fronts aim to reduce waste at the source. Perhaps the best-known part of their operation, due to its presentation about a year ago on the PBS Newshour, is Green to Go. The plan targets styrofoam and other single use containers that are used by Restaurants and other venders for customers taking food home. Green to Go uses a container that can be returned after use, washed, sterilized and made available for use by another customer. She said that they currently have 775 subscribers and 26 restaurants and stores that use the containers.   [Read more…]

Program: Casey Steinbacher, Executive Director of Made in Durham

Summertime. Growing up, for many adults, it was not just an annual break from school — it was time to get a job and not only go to work but learn to work.

This tradition continues in communities all over the country but for some adolescents, getting that first work experience can be tough.

Enter Casey Steinbacher, executive director at Made In Durham since 2017. She is helping to lead a unique nonprofit community collaborative of business, education, nonprofit, government and youth in creating a pipeline that closes the skills gap for Durham youth and readies them for high-paying careers while building a substantial local workforce.

Aminah Jenkins

Casey, who was joined by MID youth network member Aminah Jenkins, were both introduced by Rotarian Rory Gillis. As CEO of Casey’s Company, an

Rory Gillis [Read more…]