Club Executives & Directors
President 2020-2021 (PE)
Immediate Past President
Executive Secretary
Sgt at Arms
Foundation Chair
RYLA Chair
Community Service Director
Service Committee
Service Committee

The Rotary Club of Needham - Welcome

Welcome to Needham! We are a great group of 30 members strong and growing. Men and Women, young and old – we meet for lunch every Tuesday. Our projects focus on giving back to both our community here and beyond.

Tuesdays, 12:00-1:30pm
Needham Sheraton: 100 Cabot Street

With interesting speakers and an energized group
every week, you will come away inspired.



Home Page Stories
Rotary Club of Needham Newsletter March 10th, 2020
Special Note: on Wednesday, March 11th, 2020, the World Health Organization declared the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic. As of this morning there are 118,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in 114 countries with 4600 new cases yesterday and 4300 cumulative deaths. Last night, President Trump banned travel from Europe into the US for a month as confirmed cases in our country reached 1215 with 36 deaths. And, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker declared an emergency in our state as confirmed coronavirus cases here almost doubled overnight to 92. Most of our volunteer opportunities and community support activities (except our funding of local charitable organizations) have been postponed indefinitely. This is a rapidly developing story, and you should check meeting dates and details with the hosting organization. Club members are having lively debates about how best to continue with our charitable activities, given the restrictions posed by the social distancing that's required to slow the spread of the virus.
At our Tuesday luncheon meeting, instead of serving ourselves unprotected, we chose some servers who wore gloves to ensure our safety. We still managed to have fun, celebrating the February-March birthdays of Ken Davis and Tom Savino (see photos below).
Volunteer Opportunities
Meal Packing
TBD presumed postponed
In the Community
NEF Spelling Bee
TBD presumed postponed
League of Women Voters Civics Bee 
TBD presumed postponed
Flowers for the Elderly
TBD presumed postponed
Speaker: Kenny Raskin, Artistic Director, Hearts and Noses Hospital Clown Troupe (photos below)
Kenny has built a career as a physical comedian and actor. He originated the role of Le Fou in "Beauty and the Beast", and he was the lead clown in Cirque du Soleil. Jeannie Lindheim founded a hospital clown troupe in Boston in 1997 after touring in Russia with Patch Adams' troupe. The name changed to Hearts and Noses in 2006. Kenny has been with the troupe for 23 years, the last four as Artistic Director. His job is to train the volunteers in clowning and to make sure that they're funny.
Hearts and Noses engages and empowers children in a medical environment. Last year, the troupe visited 3,500 hospitalized children in five Boston hospitals: Tufts Floating Hospital, Boston Medical Center, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Franciscan Children's Hospital and Mass General. Most importantly, the child gets to choose whether to participate in this type of "therapy". They don't have a choice in their medical care. Clowning makes the child the center of attention by following their lead. The power of clowning is that it briefly transports the child and parent to another place where the child rather than the illness can be the center of attention. The troupe's website cites medical studies showing that humor reduces anxiety and reduces length of stay.
The troupe, now 21 clowns, started as an entirely volunteer organization. They have professionalized their staff by adding two paid clowns, which will increase to four next year. The mission has broadened as well with some touring clowns now focusing on refugees, veterans and elderly. A benefit for Hearts and Noses, starring Kenny and his band, Superchief, scheduled for April 4th at the Center at the Heights was postponed due to the new coronavirus restrictions. So, it becomes even more important to join our club in supporting Hearts and Noses with a donation:
Rotary Club of Needham Newsletter February 25th, 2020
Volunteer Opportunities
Meal Packing
"The Rise Against Hunger": packing 20,000 meals for the hungry on Saturday March 28th at a location TBD from 10:00-2:00 with the Needham High School Interact Club.
In the Community
Paul Harris Fellows (see picture below):
Ron Sokol and Charles Nelson were recognized as Paul Harris Fellows at our Tuesday meeting for $1000 contributions to the Rotary Foundation.
We held a Grand Opening for the Ambassador Raymond Flynn Sensory Room at the Joseph P. Tynan Elementary School in South Boston on Wednesday February 26th (see pictures below).
Ambassador Raymond Flynn, Mayor of Boston from 1984-1993 and Ambassador to the Holy See from 1993-1997, was keynote speaker. His speech traced his involvement in supporting autistic children and their parents from driving his nephew from South Boston to the only school that would then serve autistic kids, deep in the suburbs of metro Boston. He noted that parent advocacy had resulted in improvements in public education where kids with sensory disorders can now remain and get an education in public schools, and that the soothing environment of sensory rooms is the latest improvement helping to keep those kids engaged in their education. Libby Pero and Bill Paulson were recognized for their pivotal roles in getting the sensory room funded and built. The children were led into the room for the first time as the Ambassador was completing his remarks, and the sweetest reward was the pleasant sound as they enthusiastically played in the room.
Offsite Meeting: Beth Israel Deaconess Needham, Tuesday March 3rd
in place of our regularly scheduled noon meeting that day, we will instead meet John Fogarty, President BID Needham, for an update on the hospital's new facilities. Please invite a friend to attend with you.
NEF Spelling Bee
Sunday March 15th at 3:00 at Needham High School Cafeteria
League of Women Voters Civics Bee 
Sunday March 22nd at 2:00 at Broadmeadow School
Speaker: Zachary Attenborough, Employment Coordinator, Elliott House of Riverside Community Care (see picture below)
Riverside Community Care (RCC) is a non-profit organization that offers mental healthcare, developmental and brain injury services, early childhood and youth services, addiction treatment and trauma response. It serves over 40,000 children and adults in Eastern and Central Massachusetts. Elliot House is a unit of RCC located at 255 Highland Avenue in Needham. It's called a "clubhouse" because it's focused on providing a supportive environment where "members", recovering from a mental illness, can regain job skills, find employment, reduce hospitalizations, secure decent housing and develop meaningful relationships. The emphasis is on a reintegration into the community and a return to paid employment.
Zach is an Employment Coordinator there. He told us that about 60% of people with a mental illness have an underlying substance abuse issue. People often inappropriately self-medicate to sooth themselves when facing difficulties. The clubhouse environment, including a 12-step, self-help, recovery program, helps members learn to manage difficulties though connection, support and education, reducing the chance of a relapse. There are three types of employment programs:
  1. Transitional: typically 6-9 months where a staff person will fill for a member who is unable to work
  2. Supported: staff help members with job search, resume writing, and interview preparation 
  3. Independent
Typical work activities include: word processing, spreadsheet design, data collection, data entry, food service, banking, budgeting, and building and grounds maintenance. The amount of time that a member spends in a work unit is determined by their personal choice and interests. A "work-ordered day" concept keeps tract of members' work and results in reimbursement, which is billed to the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health. For more information on Elliot House see Riverside Community Care's website:
Rotary Club of Needham Newsletter February 11th, 2020
Volunteer Opportunities
Meal Packing
"The Rise Against Hunger": packing 20,000 meals for the hungry on Saturday March 28th at the Masonic Hall from 10:00-2:00 with the Needham High School Interact Club.
In the Community
Needham High School Service Fair (see photo below)
Students at Needham High School are required to provide 60 hours of service to their community. On Wednesday February 12th, local service organizations, including the Rotary Club of Needham, held a "service fair" at the High School to explain their community service to the students while offering the students an opportunity to get involved and meet their service goals. 
Needham Free Public Library and the Boston Bruins Pajama Drive to Benefit Children in the Department of Children and Families System and Cradles to Crayons
The goal was 12,000 pairs of pjs. Our members donated new pajamas or funds to buy them, multiplying the impact of the Club's $500 donation. The combined Rotary donations were used to purchase 200 pairs of pajamas. 
Spelling Bee
Sunday March 15th at 3:00 at Needham High School Cafeteria
Civics Bee 
Sunday March 22nd at 2:00 at Broadmeadow School
Meeting: Charles River YMCA 
Speaking on behalf of the Charles River YMCA were Paula Jacobson, Executive Director (see photo below), and Julie Richmond, Business Director. The Charles River Y is one of 13 YMCA facilities serving the greater Boston community. The first Young Mens' Christian Association (YMCA) in the United States was founded in Boston by Captain Thomas Sullivan in 1851. Needham's Charles River branch followed in 1880. The YMCA has a distinguished history of nurturing the "triangle" of body, mind and spirit in this region. Springfield College, originally the School of Christian Workers, was founded to train YMCA leaders. It retains that role today. Basketball was created in 1891 when the director of the Springfield YMCA gave Physical Education teacher, James Naismith two weeks to come up with a game that could be played indoors in winter. Volleyball followed four years later. Northeastern University started off in 1916 as the "evening institute" for the YMCA. 
​​​​​​​Today's YMCA is open to people of all ages, genders and religions. The "Y" is dedicated to reducing the barrier to participation for less affluent families posed by fees. Membership dues and program service fees are designed to cover the cost of operation, while grants and donations (22% of Greater Boston Y's $77.5mm revenues in 2018) cover the cost of outreach to the less affluent. The Y promises to partner with others to create a community of caring people to improve health and to empower youth and families. Paula noted that the Charles River Y offers special programming with partners, including: the Charles River Center (developmental disabilities), Riverside School (behavioral health disorders), Walker School (behavioral, social and emotional challenges), Parent Talk and Needham Youth Services. Funding partners, who help to make the Charles River Y's programs accessible to all, include the Rotary Club of Needham, the Exchange Club, Needham Bank and Webster Bank. Julie Richmond pointed out that an important fundraiser for the Charles River Y' the Giving Gala, is coming up on March 21st at Powers Hall.
Rotary Club of Needham Newsletter February 18th, 2020
Volunteer Opportunities
Meal Packing
"The Rise Against Hunger": packing 20,000 meals for the hungry on Saturday March 28th at the Masonic Hall from 10:00-2:00 with the Needham High School Interact Club.
In the Community
Offsite Meeting: Beth Israel Deaconess Needham
in place of our regularly scheduled noon meeting on Tuesday March 3rd, we are instead meeting John Fogarty, President BID Needham, for an update on the hospital's new facilities. Please invite a friend to attend with you.
Grand Opening: Sensory Room at the Joseph P. Tynan Elementary School
Wednesday February 26th from 10-12 at Tynan Elementary School, 650 East 4th Street, Boston, Ma.
NEF Spelling Bee
Sunday March 15th at 3:00 at Needham High School Cafeteria
League of Women Voters Civics Bee 
Sunday March 22nd at 2:00 at Broadmeadow School
Speaker: Louise Condon
In order to facilitate trust-worthy referral business within our club, members have been sharing their biographies at our meetings. This week, Louise Condon told us her life story. Born in Pawtucket, RI, Louise met her future husband, Frank, at the age of 16 at an academic contest (Louise won). Frank's first job with Westinghouse took the family to Mansfield, Ohio, where Louise taught school. They moved within Westinghouse to New York, and lived in Connecticut. A career change to Finance brought the family to Needham in 1968. Raising seven children in a house on Hazelton Avenue, Louise focused on serving her family. As the kids neared college age, Louise looked to re-enter the labor force to help pay the education bills. The schools weren't hiring then, so she took a class at Needham High to train to become a real estate agent. In 1985, she had to create a real estate company to recover her kitchen, which had become a hang-out for her agent friends.
Now, Louise Condon Realty, Inc. has 18 agents working for the only remaining independently owned real estate company in Needham. Pursuing business references, I have only focused on Louise's professional career, but there's lots more to tell about her contributions to our club and in support of our community. And then, there are 17 grandchildren and an upcoming great-grandchild. But, those are stories that we'll ask her to tell on another day.
Rotary Club of Needham Newsletter February 4th, 2020
Volunteer Opportunities
Meal Packing
"The Rise Against Hunger": Saturday March 28th at the Masonic Hall (details still TBD) with the Needham High School Interact Club.
In the Community
Circle of Hope
Circle of Hope is looking for coats for all ages. There will soon be a coat sorting event (date TBD) where volunteers can help prepare the donated coats for distribution to shelters.
Needham Free Public Library and the Boston Bruins Pajama Drive to Benefit Children in the Department of Children and Families System and Cradles to Crayons
The goal is 12,000 pairs of pjs. We're helping by encouraging our members to donate new pajamas for children of all ages or to donate funds for this purpose, multiplying the impact of the Club's $500 donation, which was used to purchase 84 pairs of pajamas. Pajamas can be dropped off at our club meetings.
Meeting: Dr. John Keller, Citizens' Climate Lobby: "How we can stabilize the climate and improve the Human Condition"
Susan Peghiny, Assistant Governor of Rotary District 7910, introduced meterologist, Dr. John Keller (photo below). John represented the Boston Metrowest Chapter of the Citizens' Climate Lobby (CCL). CCL is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on developing the political will and organization to enact national policies to address climate change. The focus of CCL's advocacy is "The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act of 2019" (HR 763), which is a bill in the US House of Representatives that proposes a fee on carbon at the point of extraction with the revenue raised redistributed to households in the form of a flat, monthly dividend per household. The dividend is intended to offset the impact of higher fuel prices from the carbon fee.
Rotarian Marshall Saunders founded CCL in 2007 after seeing Al Gore's documentary "An Inconvenient Truth". He realized that his prior advocacy on behalf of people living in poverty could be wiped out by the effects of climate change: "There was a real danger of all our good works going for naught." Lots of the respectful, non-partisan culture of CCL can be attributed to him. When asked the question: "What should we do?", Marshall responded "What's needed is thousands of ordinary people organized, lobbying their members of Congress with one voice, one message, and lobbying in a relentless and unstoppable, yet friendly and respectful way."
Dr. Keller started off with the good news: the proportion of the world's population living in extreme poverty (< $2/day) has declined from about a third to about a tenth in the twenty-five years from 1990 to 2015. But economic growth is linked to consumption of energy, and 85% of the world's energy comes from burning fossil fuels. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is a byproduct of fossil fuel consumption, and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has been steadily rising from 270 parts per million (ppm) in 1750 to 410 ppm currently, and -depending on the path chosen by global leaders- could increase to 660 ppm by 2100 on our current path, to 540 ppm based on current international climate change agreements, and to 420 ppm, if all nations follow the Paris Accords. At 660 ppm the global climate would heat up to +4 degrees centigrade; at 540 ppm it would heat up to +3 degrees and at 420 ppm +1.5 degree. (Please see the graph below.) Dr. Keller noted that a 3 degree cooling resulted in an Ice Age, and a 4 degree increase in temperature could result in a 2 to 6 foot rise in sea level, while increasing the intensity of storms.
Here's the problem, the science of climate change is accepted, but the policy solution is not. Pollution is an externality to the cost of production: the private cost of production can be passed on to the consumer in the price, but the "external" cost of pollution is passed on to society. As a consequence, private cost is lower than societal cost, a market failure that can be addressed by government taxation or regulation. Carbon emissions were once free, and an effective policy solution will impose a price on those emissions throughout the world. CCL's preferred policy to fight climate change is a bill in Congress called HR 763. HR 763 would place a carbon fee of $15/metric ton on fossil fuel production, rising $10/year until emissions drop by 90%. The economic impact of the carbon fee on less affluent households would be ameliorated by dividending back the revenue raised on a flat basis per household. Studies estimate that about 60% of households would take in more from the dividend than they'd pay in higher prices. Imported energy, not subject to the domestic carbon fee, would be subject to a "border adjustment" reimposing the carbon fee.
CCL has 568 local chapters globally with 535 organized by congressional district in the US. There are five levers of political will that CCL uses to draw citizens into the political process and to provide training and support to ensure that their contribution is constructive:1) lobbying Congress, 2) media relations, 3) grassroots outreach, 4) grass tops engagement, and 5) group development and organizing. "Laser talks" on the CCL website offer intriguing examples of the organization's support of their volunteers. A laser talk is a powerful statement on a specific topic, including: climate science, policy design and impact and politics. CCL trainers offer webinars on climate advocacy twice a month. If you're ready to take action on climate change, the CCL website offers information on how to get started as a new CCL member or as a financial contributor (
Rebecca Ping - Needham Emergency Management
Mar 31, 2020 12:00 PM
Plans in the face of the Covid-19 virus
Plans in the face of the Covid-19 virus
Christina Raskin - Charles River School - Model UN
Apr 07, 2020 12:00 PM
Model UN Club
Tom Keating - Author - Yesterday's Soldier
Apr 14, 2020 12:00 PM
Yesterday’s Soldier, A Passage from Prayer to the Vietnam War, by Tom Keating
Birds Hill Pharmacy
Apr 21, 2020
How to promote strong "Gut Health"
Scholarship Winner
Jun 09, 2020 12:00 PM
Award scholarship to Needham High School scholarship winner
NO MEETING: Summer picnic tomorrow
Jun 16, 2020 12:00 PM
Diana Nestorova, District 7910 Governor
Aug 18, 2020
What's new in Rotary

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