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NOTEBOOK: Rotary summit aims to expand Iowa’s reach in international projects


We occasionally get tips about upcoming Rotary events from our resident Rotarian and publisher, Chris Conetzkey. Here’s a good one that may interest you if your organization is considering involvement in an international humanitarian project. The Rotary Club of Des Moines this year is expanding the scope of its annual summit on international service projects, in an effort to help more Central Iowa nonprofits and businesses partner on humanitarian projects overseas. 

“The whole idea is to bring together the folks who are doing great things on international service projects,” said Becky Greenwald, who chairs the club’s international service committee. “This will hopefully increase the impact that Iowans are already having around the world.” 

During the fourth annual summit on June 1, Dan Houston, chairman, president and CEO of Principal Financial Group Inc., will be the featured speaker and lead a fireside chat about how companies can partner with nongovernmental organizations on international projects. The discussions will center on helping organizations better understand the business case that potential corporate partners look for when determining whether to participate in international projects, Greenwald said. 

The 2018 round of international grants will also be announced at the summit. Last year, Rotary Club of Des Moines awarded $7,000 to Self Help International for a clean water project in Nicaragua, and $3,000 to Solidarity Foundation for a microfinance project in Mexico. The Des Moines club also participated with Rotary Club of Ames and a Rotary Club in Tanzania on a large water system development project in that African nation. 

The June 1 event will be held at the UnityPoint Health Education and Research Center at Iowa Methodist Medical Center from 1 to 4 p.m. To register, click here

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