A Commitment to Community
For over 50 years the Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club has aimed to provide their community with humanitarian services. They also maintain a strong global presence, proving that their effort to serve others has no geographical borders. With their firm belief in putting others first the club strives to uphold their mission to provide aid for those who need it most. Through fundraising, hands-on projects, and outreach, the club and its members exemplify the idea of service above self. Join us as we speak with Co-Presidents Jamie Palizban and Heather Manion about how they uphold their mission and committment to helping those in need.
For those who might not know, what is a Rotary Club?
Rotary is an organization of business and professional persons united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. The Rotary Club of Rancho Santa Fe was founded by a group of Rancho Santa Fe residents in 1959. There were more than 25 charter members. More than 50 years later this Rotary Club has grown and we have spread our wings and grown our membership to over 80 members. We are proud of the many organizations and projects we have supported through the years and look forward to many years of supporting those in need.
What types of activities is the Rotary Club involved with?
RSF Rotary Club has projects on community, local, and international levels. Our areas of focus are:
Community level: Community development and support
Local and international level: Child health, education, and literacy
International level: Water, sanitations, and basic human needs
Locally, we have engaged in various activities to serve organizations such as Women Resource Center, San Pasqual Academy, Just in Time Foster Kids, San Diego Children’s Museum, Miracle Babies, and several military platforms. Rotary is an international organization with local club representation in most countries. Our club’s international projects include Water for Sudan, Mexico Blanket Drive, and supporting several orphanages.
Do you hold fundraising events throughout the year?
We try to have one project per month. Our biggest fundraiser is the Taste Of Rancho Santa Fe, which will take place Oct. 11 this year. Many local Rancho Santa Fe restaurants provide sampling of their culinary excellence. Top wineries, breweries, and vodka vendors serve a sampling of their top products. Money is raised for 11 charities. It is a first class event and we have a lot of fun putting it together.
What was the inspiration behind having two club presidents?
Being a Rancho Santa Fe Rotary President is a lot of responsibility and since Heather Manion and I wanted to do a good job and also balance our full-time work responsibilities, we decided to join forces. This is the first time our Rotary District has had two presidents serve one club and we have a feeling that it will not be the last. Heather and I complement each other. I am the organizer and the visionary and Heather is the force behind most of the projects. Our goal is to bring our club up a notch, do some good, and have fun in the process.
How many members does your club currently have?
We are currently at 80 members.
For those interested in joining, how does someone become a member? How else can people contribute?
Our members are introduced or invited initially. There is an application and board approval process as well. We are looking for individuals who not only believe in “Service above Self,” but who also are willing to bring their resources to serve our club. We meet weekly and get involved in projects, so as you can see we become close friends.
The best way to sponsor our club is to become a sponsor for Taste of Rancho Santa Fe. Many levels of sponsorship are available.
What mission does the club hold true?
He profits most who serves his fellow best.
What activites does the RSF Rotary Club open to the public?
Taste of Rancho Santa Fe: Our biggest fundraiser of the year is Taste of Rancho Santa Fe, which sells out every year. This year it will be on Oct. 11 from 4 to 7 p.m. on the lawn of the Inn at Rancho Santa Fe. Tickets are $75 per person. To purchase tickets visit www.tasteofrsf.org.
Fall BBQ: An outdoor BBQ in the center of the village to connect everyone in the community, including kids. The Fall BBQ is on Sept. 18. Tickets are $8 per person.
What are some local 92067 organizations that your club supports?
We support local organizations such as the RSF Community Center, Senior Center, and the Historical Society.
What are some projects and programs you are currently working on?
Head Start Christmas program: We will be gift-giving to a large group of underserved San Diego preschoolers. We are collaborating with the Del Mar Rotary Club to accomplish this wonderful project. A special luncheon is scheduled for Dec. 8. We are also hosting a Valentine party for all the single Rotarians in our San Diego District on Feb. 12, 2016 at a local Rotarian Rancho Santa Fe estate.
Our military and youth committees are also working on some projects to be announced later.
What are your short-term and long-term goals for the club?
My short-term goals:
Make sure every Rotarian is active and involved in some capacity
Make sure every Rotarian utilizes the “My Rotary” website
Sponsor district-level global grants – such as “End Polio” and “Micro Credit”
Increase more local awareness of our Rotary club and who we are
Nominate club members for district rewards
Raise money for the Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Endowment
My long-term goals:
To organize our club in such a way to make the job easier for future presidents
To energize our club so everyone will participate in their maximum capacity
To work all different committees as one team with common, clear goals
To be supportive of Rotary initiatives in a district and global capacity
What is the most exciting aspect of being a Rotarian?
For me the most exciting aspect of being a Rotarian is how much we can do as a team not only locally but also internationally. Rotary’s overall contribution to the world is now in the billions. That is exciting! Polio is almost wiped off of planet earth because of the efforts and commitment of Rotarians.
Where and when does your club meet?
We meet every Tuesday from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at the RSF Golf Club. We do have dark days due to holidays or projects so check our calendar on www.rsfrotary.com.
What has been most memorable about working with the RSF Rotary Club?
My most memorable times are the projects that I have included my kids in over the past 10 years. They have gone to orphanages in Mexico, passed blankets to poor families in Ensenada, and helped with gardening projects on the grounds of San Pasqual Academy. My oldest daughter Atusa just joined our club without me asking her – I think that is awesome!
RSF Rotary Club Co-President Jamie Palizban
Name: Jamie Palizban
Community: The Covenant at Rancho Santa Fe
Family: Husband – Gerry; Children – Atusa (24), Sandi (24), Kimia (22), Darius (20), and Elliot (19)
Interests: Attending church, studying the Bible, traveling, cooking, and gardening
Local Charities Supported by RSF Rotary Club
Locally, RSF Rotary has amazing outreach. We supplement nonprofit organizations to help our community with widespread donations. Recently we were proud to assist the following organizations with their worthwhile causes:
Assisted with Eagle projects
Made a donation
Canyon Crest Academy
Funded two student college scholarships through Dollars for Scholars
Chelsea’s Light Foundation
Assist those whose children have been abducted here in San Diego
Conner’s Cause for Children
Helped finance families struggling to cover the costs of caring for a child with a life-threatening illness
We approved an organization that takes inner-city kids
on camping excursions for positive and healthy experiences
Rotary Youth Leadership Academy
Helping build adults for tomorrow
Rotary Youth Orchestra
Approved a grant
San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum
San Pasqual Academy
Support with scholarships and their
Survivors of Torture International
Help build a healing community for
survivors of politically motivated
Various Underserved Families
We assist as a crisis arises
Women’s Resource Center
We support holiday events
and built a play yard at their
facility in Oceanside
What is it like to be a part of the RSF Rotary Club?
We are a dedicated group who support collaboration in order to achieve common goals through mutual knowledge and skill sharing. It is a door opener for members to meet leaders and professionals in different fields and work as a team contributing their specific knowledge, skills, and experience to achieve a common goal. RSF Rotary is like a family and we are all deeply committed to each other’s personal growth and success.
What kind of atmosphere can be experienced at your club’s weekly meetings? Are guests welcome?
All members and their guests feel welcome at our weekly meetings that are not only interesting and informational but are a lot of fun and include a great RSF Golf Club lunch. We encourage the attendance of family, friends, and anyone who is interested in learning more about our club.
Please tell us more about how your club contributes on an international level.
Each Rotary club contributes to help end polio annually with a portion of our dues. Bill Gates said, “Rotary continues to be the heart and soul of polio eradication.” You can learn more about it at www.endpolionow.org.
Our local club’s most recent international projects include Project Amigo in Colima where we annually pay tuition for several high school and college students. We provide groceries and blankets each year to the Rosarito Beach Rotary Club and jointly pass out these goods to underserved families picked by the local church.
We were instrumental in securing and moving discarded mobile modules to Rosarito, ultimately helping to build a school. We secured funds and built a Red Cross medical clinic in Rosarito Beach. We purchased an ambulance to be stationed some 200 miles from Rosarito Beach so rural wait times for medical assistance would not be delayed for several hours. We have partnered with Project Mercy to construct a house in eastern Tijuana where 30 or so members drove down and spent two days constructing a home set on a foundation poured by the local Playas Rotary Club. This provided much needed housing for a homeless family.
Can you give us an example of a current project?
Rotary is currently partnering with the Rosarito Red Cross and one of our members, Bill Herrick, to purchase a “jaws of life” tool so accident victims along the roads in Baja can be extricated from crashed vehicles. RSF Rotary consistently funds international relief teams for disaster relief in many foreign countries (Haiti, etc.) and most recently in Nepal for earthquake relief. Our group has taken up collections and purchased a ShelterBox to be sent down to Haiti for their earthquake relief.
What else would you like to share with 92067 Magazine readers about your experience as a Rotarian?
Over the years I have belonged to several philanthropic groups including Junior League of San Diego, Children’s Home Society, and the Cystic Fibrosis Society. I continue to volunteer monthly with the USO in San Diego. Each of those wonderful groups gave me valuable training and appreciation toward my present charitable passion: Rotary. I am now working with a diversified, organized group of community leaders where I am constantly learning new ways to improve my community. Each of my fellow members in Rotary inspires me to serve this community, the County of San Diego, and other countries in countless ways.
What has been most memorable about working with the RSF Rotary Club?
Water for Sudan was a vision in the mind of a the Rochester New York Rotary. One of RSF Rotary’s energetic members took up the cause and our club unified to make alleviating the water crisis in the Sudan our mantra. I became a West Coast board member, speaker, and fundraiser for Water for Sudan to build self-sustaining wells throughout this African nation. Within two years this cause became an International Rotary project. I learned about individual well sponsorships, grant writing, and matching grants. I know that Rotary saved lives and turned the tide in South Sudan. I am proud to have been part of this amazing project.
RSF Rotary Club Co-President Heather Manion
Name: Heather Manion
Community: The Covenant of Rancho Santa Fe
Family: Two children, three precious grandchildren, and a chocolate lab named Riley Belle
Interests: Singing with choir at Church of the Nativity, hospitality, cooking, musicals, and meeting new people
Rancho Santa Fe Rotary Club