There is far more to Dolly Parton than meets the eye

Dolly Parton is a Paul Harris Fellow and an Honorary Rotarian

Dolly Parton is a Paul Harris Fellow and an Honorary Rotarian in the Cleethorpes Rotary Club

Dolly Parton, born 70 years ago today, is mostly thought of as a widely successful  American singer-songwriter, which is true,  but there is far more to her than just that.

She’s also an actress, businesswoman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, dedicated Wife, Doctor of Letters, Paul Harris Fellow and a Rotarian.

Dolly came from very humble beginnings in Tennessee where she was 1 of 12 children who’s family was so poor that it’s rumored her father had to pay for her birth with a bag of grain.

She is perhaps one of the most decorated musical talents in history with 25 certified Gold, Platinum or Multi-Platinum Records, 26 songs reaching No. 1 on the Billboard country charts, 42 career top-10 country albums and over 100 million recordings recording sold world-wide.

But don’t think for a moment that Dolly is a one-dimensional Gal… she’s never forgot her roots in poverty or the early struggles that her family endured as a result of her father being unable to read and write.

Dolly is a hands-on philanthropist who leverages her talents, her resources and her entrepreneurial skills to improve the lives of many others. A brief highlight of a seemingly endless list of Dolly’s good deeds include:

  • Being a longtime supporter of charities, especially those relating to literacy.
  • She established the Imagination Library in 1995, which sends one book per month to children from the time of their birth until they enter kindergarten. Many Rotary Clubs partner in this program.
  • Giving $500,000 to Fort Sanders Medical Center to help launch a new Cancer Hospital
  • Leading significant efforts to preserve the bald eagle through the American Eagle Foundation’s sanctuary at Dollywood.
  • Giving out countless scholarships through her foundation.

She’s very aware of her public persona and isn’t above poking a little fun at herself.

When asked in a recent interview if she’s had work done, she replied “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap”.

John Germ & Dolly Parton

John Germ & Dolly Parton

Dolly received an honorary doctorate of humane and musical letters from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 2009, so she’s really Dr. Dolly – or Double D as she referred to herself to RIPE John Germ on the stage of the Rotary International Convention in Montreal in 2011. Dolly was a keynote speaker at that conference and closed it with a performance of 9 to 5.

At 70 years old Dolly is still an energetic beauty with an amazing voice that shows no signs of slowing down as she’s still a significant presence in the music industry, works actively on her foundation to make the world place and generously gives of her time and talents to her family.

Dolly epitomizes Service Above Self by giving of herself day in and day out, she is the ultimate model of what a Rotarian is all about.

Dolly is also Paul Harris fellow – presented by RIPE John Germ in Montreal and she’s a Rotarian – a member of the Cleethorpes (Grimsby, UK) Rotary Club.

I wish that the North Haven Rotary Club thought of inviting her first.

Rick B


New RI Theme Announced: ROTARY SERVING HUMANITY (38 Years of Rotary International Themes)

Each January, as Rotary District governors-elect from all over the world gather at the International Assembly for training and fellowship, the then Rotary International President-elect announces his (hopefully soon to be her) RI Theme.

The RI Theme sets the tone for what Rotary Clubs around the world will work towards once the Rotary International President-elect (RIPE), the 534 District governors-elect (DGEs) and the 35,000 Rotary Club Presidents-elect begin their new year on July 1st.

The excitement, anticipation and fanfare around RI Theme announcements have been a Rotary staple for the since 1955  and this year was no exception as RI President-elect John F. Germ said, and that being a part of Rotary is a “great opportunity” to make that happen.

Germ unveiled the 2016-17 presidential theme, Rotary Serving Humanity, to incoming district governors on 18 January at the International Assembly in San Diego, California, USA.

“I believe everyone recognizes the opportunity to serve Rotary for what it truly is: not a small opportunity, but a great one; an opportunity of a lifetime to change the world for the better, forever through Rotary’s service to humanity,” said Germ.

Rotary members around the globe are serving humanity by providing clean water to underdeveloped communities, promoting peace in conflict areas, and strengthening communities through basic education and literacy. But none more important than our work to eradicate polio worldwide, he said.

The timing of releasing RI Themes is carefully choreographed to the training which incoming District Governors (known as District Governors-elect) and Club Presidents (known as Presidents-elect) receive as the added significance of the RI Theme is to keep Rotary fresh each year while provide unique inspiration to the incoming world-wide leadership.

Below are the RI Theme Pins for the past 37 years. Merchandising the RI Theme on pins, ties, scarfs, clothing, banners and other giftware has evolved steadily since 1979-80. Prior to that the RI Theme was communicated in booklet form.


District 7980 Rotary Club Banner Contest

If your club is like most Rotary Clubs then you proudly display our old ‘blue & gold’ banner at all of your meetings. Your ‘blue & gold’ banner is also probably the backdrop for most photos that appear in the press and on the web (like the one below). It’s the look that we have been using forever and as Rotarians we really love it.

BergenBUT what does your Public Facing messaging say about your Rotary Club?

Look at the image on the right through the eyes of a prospective member and what might they think? Will they think that your club looks like a modern up to date place to be -or- will images from a time gone by be conjured up in their minds eye?

A handful of clubs in our district have decided that they wanted to project a more modern look (see samples from Norwalk, Bridgeport and Newtown) below.

Here are a few other interesting samples that I found from other districts by quickly browsing the web:

On Thursday Oct 3, 2013 I announced a Club Banner Contest at the Council of Presidents. The contest is a challenge to all of our Rotary Clubs to come up with a modern, colorful club banner which reflects their individual community that can serve as a photo backdrop for their club pictures.

This contest is open to all D7980 Rotary Clubs and will be held at the District Conference on May 2, 2014 in Groton Connecticut. We will have all participating Clubs display their Banner for the entire Conference, voting will take place by all attendees present and the top 3 banners will be recognized with district bragging rights. 

Banners should be regulation size (at least 3′ x 5′ but larger is encouraged). They can be either landscape or portrait.

Participation Information


AG Ann Brignola (  Fax: 203-389-6177 Cell: 203-314-6981)

Waterbury President Ellen Pollack (   Fax: 203-574-1960   Phone: 203-574-3636 ext 1137)


District 7980 Significant Club Achievement Awards Receive Major Overhaul

Sample Club Achievment Recognition

Sample Club Achievment Recognition

Now for something completely different…..Rotary Clubs will be recognized for the goals that they achieve and the amazing things that they do WITHOUT having to self-nominate themselves.

It’s 2014 and the District 7980 Leadership Team has come up with a progressive streamlined process that is aligned with the 4-Way test for recognizing the good works done by our Rotary Clubs.

In the past our Clubs had to submit 3 page proposals (self-nominations) in each Avenue of Service to be considered for awards. The process was so burdensome and subjective that only about 15% of our Clubs participated on a regular basis.

Now the playing field has been leveled as all Clubs, regardless of the number of members that they have or the depth of their pockets, have exactly the same opportunity to receive public recognition as long as they have met or exceeded their stated goals.

How it works: 

Each of our 61 Rotary Clubs will be evaluated by their Assistant Governors (AG) to determine if their Clubs have met or exceeded their goals in the Avenues of Service and The Rotary Foundation since July 1, 2013. AG’s will review all Club data points available to them on their Clubs such as:

  • The DG’s Blog postings
  • The Mid-year Survey that the President’s took
  • Reports from Rotary International
  • Club generated public relations such as newsletters, social media, websites and publicity received
  • One-on-one meetings with their Club Presidents
AG’s must submit via email by 3/15/14

AG’s must submit via email by 3/15/14

AG’s will then submit the goals and a photo (or two) for each of their qualifying Clubs to the District Governor no later than March 15th. 

Qualifying Clubs will be recognized in a very public way in front of record crowds during the District Conference and District Assembly in Groton, CT May 2-4th.

But wait there is more…..

These recognitions will be similar in format to the sample at the top of the page and will be featured as posters (2.5′ x 3.5′) in the House of Friendship during the District Conference and via video throughout the entire Conference. Club representatives attending the Conference will be presented with the poster-sized recognition to bring back to their Club at the conclusion of the Conference.

And as if that weren’t enough, still more….

Qualifying Clubs will receive electronic versions of these recognitions which are suitable for framing (8.5″ x 11″) and displaying in prominent places; a very nice perk for the all of the Rotarians who make success possible.

Could there possibly be more? Absolutely…..

Qualifying Clubs will also receive electronic versions of their recognitions which can be posted on their websites, Facebook pages or in any digital venue.

Screenshot 2014-02-05 15.28.48

RI President Burton hosting Facebook Q&A on raising Rotary Awareness

President Burton on Facebook

Rotary President Ron Burton will talk with Past Rotary District 7190 Governor Melissa Ward, chair-elect for Rotarians on Social Networks Fellowship (ROSNF), about how Rotary members can engage Rotary in a variety of ways.

Be part of the conversation by joining this Facebook event on Monday Jan 27th @ 11 AM EST.

The Q&A will be on Facebook <click here> using the comments section. Once the talk begins, please remember to refresh your page in order to see all the latest comments.

The direct URL is:

for those that wish to share it with their fellow Rotarians.