Anna Jones – In the News with Chairman Jones

Rotarian Anna Jones and the documentary she produced and directed is getting a lot of attention lately.

On October 12 she was interviewed by host Frank Stasio on his program “The State of Things” on WUNC. Here is a link to the the PBS station’s website with a story and a recording of the interview.

Now we have news from Anna that has just returned from the Indigo Moon Film Festival in Fayetteville where Chairman Jones won the Audience Choice Award in the Documentary Feature category.

For more information about the documentary go to 

Congratulations Anna for keeping alive your father’s effort to provide a quality education to all the children of North Carolina.



Inovation Fellows: New Class – October 2017

Our fellow Rotarian Christopher Gergen is CEO of Forward Impact, an organization that unleashes the impact potential of next generation entrepreneurial leaders. This work includes launching community-based strategies to develop and scale high-impact entrepreneurs. I first met Christopher nearly ten years ago when he started one of Durham’s first incubators for entrepreneurs, Bull City Forward. BCF focused on emerging companies whose mission included aspects of social entrepreneurship: i.e., “doing well by doing good.”

Now a Fellow at Duke’s Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Christopher helps communities and institutions of higher education develop transformational leadership experiences with partners such as Duke University and Greensboro’s Center for Creative Leadership, among many others. This vision, coupled with his work to develop and scale high-impact entrepreneurial concepts, led him to approach our Rotary Club’s Board of Directors four years ago with his idea of creating the downtown Durham Rotary Innovation Fellows.

Chris’s concept was simple: he wanted Rotarians to nominate a diverse group of high-impact entrepreneurial leaders in the community. Three Fellows would be selected from the nominees based on their ability to make sustainable, measurable, and scalable impacts in their respective fields, and to emphasize the concept of “inclusive innovation”: welcoming emerging leaders from diverse backgrounds and neighborhoods into the Rotary community and the greater Durham leadership network.
The cost of membership for the Fellows is underwritten by our club for the first 18 months. (Fellows are selected annually, however, so there is overlap among the successive classes.) After 18 months, Fellows are asked to pay 50 percent of membership costs, and beyond that, the hope is that they will be further along in their careers and more focused in their direction and can take on the cost of annual membership.

Christopher briefly introduced this year’s group of Fellows, our third “class,” allowing them as much time as possible to present their various programs. Katherine Gill has been a landscape architect since 2001, and is focusing her effort on helping people, young people in particular, learn more effectively in outdoor settings. She works with community partners to identify underutilized parcels of land in urban settings, and change them into places where kids can be involved in project-based outdoor learning exercises and engage in healthy living initiatives.

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Cuisine Crawl

Sunday, 60+ Rotarians and Duke Rotary Peace Fellows enjoyed food and fellowship in downtown Durham. Appetizers at the urban chic condo of Bill and Lucy Stokes were accompanied by great architecture and stunning rooftop deck views. Wine and bubbly was enjoyed by all, along with catered delicious Foster’s appetizers.

Then, divided into three groups and led by Rotarian restaurant guides, folks headed off to ‘crawl’ to Taberna Tapas, Dos Perros and Pompieri Pizza. With downtown Durham’s esteemed restaurant scene, we took advantage of the great food to be had downtown. Great food and conversation. With words of ‘we can’t eat another mouthful’, all were proved wrong when we departed our respective restaurants and headed to Arthur Roger’s Eno Ventures office, patio and ‘off alley’ urban chic offices. There we managed to consumer delicious desserts from Big Bundt’s Bakery and enjoyed our Indian summer weather on the patio.

It was a great event and the Fellowship Committee of Nancy Gordon, Tammie Sellman, Calla & Harvey Sellner, Mal White, Ellen Cassilly, Lynn Richardson, Jenny Levine, Emily Page, Shannon Leskin, Anna Jones and Jose and Meg Solera hope to keep the party rolling next year. Who know’s where it will end up then?

If anybody thinks Rotary is just for grumpy old guys with gray hair, you should attend one of our parties. Too many good pictures to try to pick the ten best. Here are the 44 best in four sliders.

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New Member: Rebecca Johnson (Becca)

Welcome new member Becca Johnson who was sponsored by Marge Nordstrom. Becca gave us a little background on herself as President Seth listens intently.

Born in Iowa and hailing from Illinois, I came to Durham eight years ago when I started graduate school at Duke. I have a degree in economics and a master’s in public policy, focused on international development. I work at FHI 360, running business operations for the business unit that conducts clinical trials around the world. I live in Durham with my dog and four chickens; my family is scattered across the United States.

Among my many adventures, I found myself in Thailand during a Tsunami, in Sierra Leone during an Ebola outbreak, and in France as we declared war on Iraq. I also spent a few years in Nicaragua with the Peace Corps. In all my adventures—even those with tribulations—I’ve met kind, happy, giving people and I’ve become more committed and determined to be a good, contributing global citizen. I look to this Rotary community as an opportunity to work with well-intentioned people who impact the community in a meaningful way—both locally and globally.


Program Report: Sarah Schroth- Proposed Duke Sculpture Garden and the Carol Dolci Exhibit

Sarah Schroth, today’s speaker, has headed the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke since 2013.  She has presided over perhaps the most lively period of the Nasher’s brief existence, since it was founded in 2005 as a successor to the smaller East Campus Art Museum.  She specializes in 18th century Spanish art and early in her career discovered unknown works from the period of El Greco and Velasquez.  Today she spoke on two topics: a new grand sculpture park for Duke and the current exhibition of a much neglected Italian Baroque artist, Carlo Dolci (1616-1686).

The sculpture park arose from a discussion about how to integrate the Nasher and the Rubinstein Center for the Arts, now nearing completion, across the street.  Sarah feels that the Nasher itself need not be extended “It is an optimal size for a university like Duke” she said.   The release to Duke (after the decease of its very elderly occupant) of a house adjacent to the Nasher was an added stimulus  to the new project. 

The Arts Center is just the most recent example of David Rubinstein’s ‘Giving Pledge’ philanthropy, adding to the Rubinstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library and a substantial contribution to the Sanford School of Public Policy.  After much discussion involving Sarah, Executive V-P and Duke Master Builder Tallman Trask, the plan is to take the Olmsted-designed Campus Drive and 144 acres of unused adjacent areas and create a sculpture park.

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Rotarian in the News: Chief CJ Davis on Megan Kelly in the Morning

Rotarian and Durham Chief of Police CJ Davis was one of four female Chiefs of Police that were profiled on Megan Kelly’s new show on her new network, NBC.