Rotary Toronto Virtual Lunch Meeting and Recording
Friday, April 3, 2020, 12:00 to 12:45 pm
What You Missed! 
Emcee: President Kevin Power, 
Guest Speakers:  Lorna Johnson and Neil Phillips
"It is hard to believe it is less than one month ago that the Women’s Initiative Committee hosted the International Women’s Day in the National Club.   A terrific lunch and a tremendous job by our Women’s Initiative Committee.  Now the National Club is closed.  The Royal York is eerily silent.
Our world as we knew it changed.  The impact of COVID-19 spread throughout Europe.  Italy was ravaged.  The death toll there now topping 13,000.  The numbers in Spain now exceeding Italy.  Before March 1, there was only one COVID death reported in the US.  The cases spread quickly and by the end of March the numbers in the US soared.  Our thoughts are now with the people of New York City.  A city only an hour flight from us here in Toronto. 
Our politicians and our medical officers of health at all levels are stressing the steps we need to take.  We need to follow the recommendations of public health on physical distancing and where applicable self isolation. 
So we need to adapt.  We rescheduled our Steam Whistle fundraiser to October.  We cancelled in person meetings and events. 
We approached Pat Neuman and the Fellowship and Entertainment committee to set up virtual events for our members.  We started on Wednesday night with the virtual cocktail.  We saw those that we had not seen in a while.  It was great to see that we can be together even when we are physically apart. 
We approached the program committee under the leadership of Bert Steenburgh.  Sitting here today we do not know when we will be able to meet again in person.   So we are running the very first virtual club meeting in the 108 year history of The Rotary Club of Toronto.  We have relaxed the formalities.  A relaxed dress code.  No head table.  Our program committee has been asked to arrange speakers for virtual programs.  On April 17 we will have a guest speaker at our virtual lunch. 
We approached our philanthropic committees to reach out into our community.  To find out how we as a club can make an impact in our community to address the urgent needs arising.  Our Community Services Committee has responded quickly.  In partnership with Robin Hood Army they have taken donations to our philanthropic fund for food and hygiene products and are reaching out to shelters and providing immediate assistance. 
In face of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rotary Club of Toronto Charitable Foundation approved $300,000 to be spent towards COVID-19 relief, with $100,000 of this amount given to The Rotary Club of Toronto Philanthropic Fund and $100,000 to be paid out by the Foundation for immediate needs arising from COVID 19.
The remaining $100,000 is for longer term needs arising from COVID-19.  This $100,000 is matching funds. Donations to the Rotary Club of Toronto Charitable Foundation COVID 19 fund will be matched by the Foundation up to $100,000.  President elect John Fortney has already obtained a $1,000 donation from Harvey Kalles Realty towards COVID19 relief.  Brian Westlake and Susan Howson are preparing a letter that members can use if they wish to request donations through their network or social media.  We will be using our club social media as well to seek further donations which would be matched by the Foundation.  From the funds raised and matched by the Foundation, one half will be dispersed to the Club for the club to distribute and the remaining half will be distributed by the Foundation.
We need our philanthropic committees to be proactive.   When your committee chair asks for help, please help.  We need our members to be engaged.  To be involved.  This will be a team effort.
Although the funds from the foundation for COVID-19 relief are focused on Toronto, we will also be exploring how we can assist internationally in relation to the needs arising from COVID-19. 
The impact of COVID-19 is beyond anything that many of us have ever seen.    We will adapt.  We are already adapting.  Through the use of technology, we will continue to meet and to be connected.  We can and will continue to serve.  We can and we will make an impact."