March 28, 2009

Sally wants YOU to VOLUNTEER!

March 24, 2009: WOW! Did we get fired up this week or what! Sally Burnette, Community Volunteer Coordinator for the United Way, kept us both spellbound and service oriented. A graduate of our city's Ashley Hall and the College of Charleston, Sally has worked with the founding of Spoleto and the local crisis hotline.

The 211 hotline is open 24/7 for people with all kinds of needs and is staffed by live VOLUNTEERS, just one of the many ways we can help others. As a cheerleader for volunteer services, Sally stresses the importance of establishing a connection with people who want to help others, but first the volunteers must come together. She rejects the often held comment that one is "just a volunteer". Instead we should be passionate in saying "I AM a volunteer".

In the Charleston area 46% of seniors volunteer their time, time that when translated to money would cost $73,000.000. By volunteering just 2 hours a week an individual can reap great rewards: improved mental and physical health; longevity, higher level of functionality, an opportunity to meet other people; and helping to bring families together. Many businesses like Meade Westvaco recognize that sponsoring volunteerism can improve employment recruitment and retention, help train employees, improve public perception of their company, and provide work opportunities to those who may have been "down-sized" or taken early retirement.

In 2008, Charleston conducted the LARGEST DAY OF CARING IN THE UNITED STATES! For those who wish to volunteer, projects include: reducing hunger, helping keep people safe, improving education, working for clean water and air, improving health care, promoting the arts and music, and making emergency help available. If you want to know more information go to the web at, or simply call 211. Thank you, Sally, for giving us a challenge and a boost.

Reported by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

March 22, 2009

"Better Known Around the World than Around the Corner"

March 17, 2009: Our Club was treated to a wonderful presentation by Dr. Edward Wilson, Director of Charleston's Storm Eye Institute; the only comprehensive eye institute in South Carolina. Dr. Wilson has a very distinguished resume to include over 2000 published professional papers and 500 keynote presentations. Named after Albert Florens and Mrs. William (Willie) Storm, the Eye Institute has been South Carolina's center for the management of complex and serious eye diseases for thirty years. As a research institute, Storm Eye enjoys notoriety throughout the world for innovation and discovery in many fields including intraocular lenses, retinal function and the study of retinal diseases, and glaucoma neuroprotection.

The Institute's teaching programs attract, year in and year out, many of the best applicants from across the country. Storm Eye Institute is undergoing another exciting phase of growth. Dr. Wilson is certain that the Institutes future will be even more exciting than it's past as they strive to maintain and improve our patient satisfaction by being "user friendly". "Even as we grow in size and complexity, we wish to maintain our small town southern hospitality." Patients and referring physicians remain impressed with how easy it is to gain access to the doctors of Storm Eye. Each of our professionals are willing and able to hear your concerns and help in any way possible. The information provided in this website is intended to facilitate that easy access and to help meet our "user friendly" goal. Wilson emphasized the Staff's quality is increasing: last year the Institute had 600 applications for 4 teaching positions: 42 were interviewed and the top 4 were higher.

Dr. Edwards concluded by showing a very interesting video and then re-stating, "at the Storm Eye Institute, vision is our mission. We seek to advance the science of ophthalmology and meet the eye care needs of the public by committing to care, to teach, to serve, to discover."

Reported by Bill Crowe, Keyway Committee Chair

March 13, 2009

"Water Mission International and The Rotary Club of Charleston Save Lives"

March 10, 2009: "Every 15 seconds a child dies of a water-related disease, 1.1 billion people lack access to clean water, 2.4 billion lack access to sanitation, 25,000 people die every day to a water born disease." These statistics are staggering. That's why The Rotary Club of Charleston and the Daniel Island Rotary Club formed a partnership with Water Missions International to save lives!

In 2001 George and Molly Greene founded Water Missions International (WMI) as a Christian ministry in response to the over whelming need of so many for access to clean water. In 2004, post Tsunami, Rotary clubs got involved to help WMI achieve its goal of World Wide Water Quality. In the beginning WMI began by purchasing water filtration equipment and "dropping it off" in the areas of need. Since that time, through trial and error, the folks at WMI have created a system that not only provides clean water but that offers the education that is the only beginning point of true, lasting change! At present when WMI is at work they implement a community development program that educates the village people on the operation and maintenance of the water treatment system and on health and hygiene. The communities are also expected to raise the money to operate the treatment plants, as well as, construct a building to house the system and assist in its installation. By educating communities and involving those who benefit from the clean water that WMI provides, Water Missions is able to set the stage for real understanding and change. The cost of clean water is approximately $4 to $5 per thousand gallons or $4 per person, per year. Today, WMI has projects in over 40 countries, and over 600 water treatment systems. 1,000,000 people receive clean water today because of the work of Water Missions International.

Our project - Three years ago the Daniel Island Rotary Club formed a water committee and at that time Rotary International took on clean water as a project and The Rotary Club of Charleston agreed to a partnership. Currently, The Daniel Island Club as committed $10,000, Rotary Club of Charleston has committed $5000, and District 7770 has committed up to $50,000 to fund our joint project to provide safe water to villages in Peru. By working with out host partner, Iquitos Rotary, our money will be used to "retro-fit 4 existing river boats" with water treatment systems that will purify water and deliver it to 17 villages in the Amazon, serving over 3000 men, women and children. The villages will be equipped with tanks to hold the clean water and their people will receive safe water training and be educated on health and hygiene.

With your support, the partnership between our local rotary clubs, Rotary International and Water Missions can save thousands of lives, and move toward the finish line of providing safe, clean water to all in need. You can help by purchasing tickets to the Water Missions Gala, participating in the Walk for Water, sponsoring your own Rotary Wheels Fundraiser on May 18th or by supporting the Daniel Island Club's Charity Duck Race on June 6th.

Submitted by Elizabeth Wooten Burwell, Keyway Committee

March 7, 2009

"CRDA is key to our Future"

March 3, 2009: David Ginn shared his insight on the state of Economic Development and how the Charleston Regional Development Alliance is not only coping, but also working to bring our area out of the economic downturn more effectively. David brings significant expertise to the CRDA, as well as, our Rotary group. He began his career in Savannah, has been here since 1995, and has been President & CEO of the Economic Development Alliance since 2000.

Ginn shared the current state of economic development activity. While overall project activity is down by approximately 50%, increased focus and effort are being expended to ensure that when the upturn comes we will get our fair share of the companies relocating or expanding their operations.

The CRDA is aggressively promoting the three counties of Berkeley, Dorchester and Charleston to the world as a preferred place of business. It supports the approximately 630,000 people who live and work in the 90 miles of coastline around Charleston, and as far inland as fifty miles. Many times the work the Charleston Regional Development Alliance goes unnoticed and a few people may not even know the name. The reason you may not be as aware of them as you should is that their promotion really occurs to people outside of Charleston with the objective of attracting them to Charleston. When companies announce that they are coming to Charleston, it is deliberately set up so politicians and the key people from the company make the announcements. While the CRDA did the groundwork, and enabled it to happen, they want the company and the public officials to receive the credit.

While economic development activity is lower than 1-2 years ago, the CRDA continues to focus, not just on getting new businesses to come to Charleston, but also has short-term objectives to encourage companies that are consolidating, to either keep their staff here or to bring other staff to Charleston.

Through the efforts of the CRDA and a network of allies, our area made significant economic progress between 2000 and 2007 (latest data available). For example, the number of workers involved in manufacturing is up 17% here, while nationwide it is down 18%. Architecture and engineering employment is up 32% versus a 3% decrease nationwide. We have two times the job and wage growth as the rest of the country, and even bank deposits are up 108% in Charleston compared to the rest of the country at 67%.

We're fortunate Charleston has a number of assets that are attractive to the world's best companies. We have a quality location, an international commerce hub (70 international companies), several world-class innovation resources, attractive human capital and a strong military presence.

To prepare for the eventual upturn in the economy, it is important that we continue to invest in our regional "product," such as infrastructure and available real estate. aggressively promote this three-county region.

The CRDA is also taking advantage of the slower economy by making sure its internal house is in order and it will soon launch a funding campaign to increase its marketing and sales budget. The organization recently evolved its governance structure to provide more opportunities for business leadership and soon launch a funding campaign to increase its marketing and sales budget so it can more aggressively promote this three-county region.

While everyone would consider the current economic conditions as tough, the future is extremely bright. Because of the quality of lifestyle in Charleston, our competitive wage scale and the influx of talent, we are ideally positioned for the future.

Submitted by Wayne Outlaw, Keyway Committee