August 25, 2011


August 23, 2011: Tom Sweeney introduced this week's speaker, Senator Lindsey Graham. Graham was elected to the Senate in 2002 and reelected in 2008. He serves on numerous committees, including Appropriations (which oversees expenditures of the Federal Treasury), Armed Services (which is responsible for all areas of national defense), Budget (which establishes the blueprint for total government revenues and spending), and Judiciary (which covers issues ranging from the Constitution to criminal justice to intellectual property law). Graham addressed issues relating to the role of the U.S. military in the Middle East, job creation in South Carolina and the U.S., and the debt debate.

The U.S. response to September 11, according to Graham, has been and continues to be of vital importance to the defense of the nation. Our involvement in regions of the Middle East (Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt, Libya) and the battle against terrorism is a priority. The good news is that "what we have to offer --they want the same thing for their children." The message from the U.S.—"if you embrace representative government, then we'll stand by you." The investm-nts we are making now in this region of the world are "smart investments. We pay now or pay later." Even though we're broke, he said, he hasn't taken his eye of this ball. Our investments in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Egypt will result in a level of safety for America that is "beyond our wildest dreams."

On the issue of jobs, Graham argued that tax certainty has to be achieved before businesses will start hiring again. He said there will be a bipartisan effort to clean up the tax bill based around a plan that shrinks the tax code from six brackets to three and eliminates all deductions and subsidies except primary home mortgage interest and charitable giving.

Graham linked the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) complaint against Boeing to jobs and the economy. Boeing contracted with South Carolina because they knew it was a great place to do business. If efforts like those of NLRB stand, "it will be the end of expansion in America." The complaint would allow unions to hold a virtual 'veto' over business decisions, thus having the effect of dampening business expansion and job growth. Graham supports changing policies and introducing legislation aimed at putting an end to the NLRB threat.

Graham also pointed to the deepening of the Port of Charleston as critical to job creation in South Carolina. "The Port is the economic engine of this out of every five jobs in South Carolina is tied directly or indirectly to the operation of the Port."

Clean air and water should be part of the agenda of both parties. But the new EPA mandates threaten to destroy jobs. According to Graham, we need a sensible rational policy that will balance environmental protection with the needs of business.

Graham voted against the compromise debt-limit agreement negotiated between congressional leaders and Obama. "The agreement still adds over $7 trillion in new debt over the next decade and only makes a small reduction in future spending." The missing link, Graham argued, was a balanced budget amendment, and he will continue to work for its passage. As part of that effort, the future growth of entitlements, a major contributor of future budgetary problems, needs to be addressed. For example, the social security age could be adjusted and a means test created where those with an upper income would pay more of the cost of Medicare.

In closing, Graham noted that the debt limit debate points to fact that "kicking the can down the road is no longer an acceptable choice." It's time to bring discipline to the way Congress spends and to do things that are "smart and sensible." We are in jeopardy of losing the American Dream, defined by Graham as "where children are able to do better than their parents."

Submitted by Loretta Wilson, Keyway Committee

August 21, 2011


August 16, 2011: Rotarian Rob Dewey introduced today's speaker, Charleston County's EMS Director, Don Lundy. Rob highlighted Mr. Lundy's impressive resume including his past service on the former NAEMT Board of Governors as the representative for South Carolina and current service as Chair of the NAEMT Safety and Wellness Committee, member of the Finance Committee and NAEMT representative on the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology workgroup. Regionally, Don is Chair of the Lowcountry Regional EMS Council, former Chair of the South Carolina EMS Advisory Committee, serves on the State EMS Training Committee and is Past President of the South Carolina EMS Association, still serving on the executive board. Although his professional resume is impressive, the audience was awestricken as Rob detailed his extraordinary personal accomplishments, which includes fostering 31 children with his wife, Barbara Lundy.

Mr. Lundy began his presentation by showing a photo of a Station 51 ambulance and asking the audience if they remembered its significance. As many recalled, the ambulance was from the iconic 1970's show, Emergency!, the first show to feature paramedics who help rescue victimized or hurt patients. Almost 40 years later and the world of EMS has drastically changed, thanks to advancements in technology and the support of tax payer's dollars, which Mr. Lundy was quick to thank everyone for paying!

As the self described "penny-pinching-cheapskate," Mr. Lundy ensured the audience that he takes meticulous measures to ensure tax funds are appropriately and effectively allocated in the EMS budget. Overseeing a department of 144, covering 1,100 square miles in a coastal community with a daytime population of 600,000, is no small task, nor is establishing and monitoring its budget. Mr. Lundy outlined this year's $15M+ budget, which consists of $13M in Personnel (Walterboro has the highest paid EMS personnel in the state), $1M+ in Operation (includes 24/7 services) and $1M+ in Capital (covers 5 replacement ambulances). Utilizing an outside, private billing service, Mr. Lundy reported revenue collected in 2010 totaled $6M.

Transitioning from finances to technology, Mr. Lundy described the latest GPS systems, pod style work stations with 6 computer screens per employee, the newest EKG program and special operations ambulances. While the technology itself is impressive, the talented and heroic EMS teams, including rope, high angle, squat, bike and motorcycle, are unquestionably more remarkable.

With the help of his many employees and team members, Mr. Lundy has played in integral role in the education of both young and old students in Charleston County. With programs such as the Fourth Grade Poster Contest, EMS Education Team, High School Injury Project and Beta Babies, the department's influence will ensure a lasting effective as these students become young adults in our communities.

The department's strong community presence and nationally recognized EMS team provide a local service in which all Charleston County residents can take great pride. As Mr. Lundy says, "there's no such thing as a convenient emergency," so it is to the men and women of the EMS department, protecting and saving lives, we owe immense gratitude and thanks.

Submitted by Teal Van Saun, Keyway Committee
Ellis Predicts Success for Gamecocks This Season

August 9, 2011: Todd Ellis, the voice of Gamecocks Football broadcasting, brought us an overview of the upcoming football season at the University of South Carolina. Todd, a native of North Carolina, is a graduate of USC and holds every major quarterback record in Gamecocks Football since the great year of 1989. His passing record for the Gamecocks is 9953 yards!

Following graduation he signed with the Denver Broncos as a back-up to John Elway. Realizing that Elway was there for the long haul, he returned to USC to get a law degree and currently practices in Columbia. During football season, however, he is all football.

He lauded Coach Steve Spurrier, who is in his 7th season, as an outstanding advocate for both Gamecocks Football and the state of South Carolina. Ellis and the Spurrier family work hard together long into the early morning hours preparing the Sunday broadcast shows.

Looking ahead he sees the 2011 Gamecocks as the best ever in the school's history. He highlighted Quarterback Steve Garcia, who though prone to getting into situations outside of football, has the full support of the total team. Todd notes that Garcia is under incredible scrutiny everywhere, a pressure that few would want to endure.

He praised Marcus Latimore as a terrific person and football player who is expected to have a banner year. He also highlighted Alshon Jeffery, one of football's great receivers, and defensive player Jadeveon Clowney, last year's No.1 freshman pick.

Asked about discipline on the team, Todd noted that in speaking to young people he tries to make them all understand that they are personally under public scrutiny every time they put something on Facebook. He notes that in any group of 100 people, 10 will make serious mistakes, and the public picks up on it.

All you Gamecock fans get ready, he predicts a great 2011 Gamecocks Football year!

Submitted by Fred Sales, Keyway Committee

August 4, 2011

McGinley Reports Progress in County Schools, More Expected

August 2, 2011: Dr. Nancy McGinley, Superintendent of the Charleston County School District (CCSD), addressed our club. Prior to her 2007 appointment to this position, she served as chief academic officer for CCSD. Previous to that she was the Chief Executive Officer of the Philadelphia Education Fund, an independent, non-profit affiliate of the national Public Education Network dedicated to improving educational opportunities for disadvantaged youth. Before joining the Fund, she was director for leadership initiatives at Greater Philadelphia First, an organization focused on improving education and economic opportunities in the region.

Dr. McGinley oversees a system that includes over 44,000 students, 81 schools, numerous specialized programs, and 5,500 employees. (In addition, she recently adopted a puppy named Buffalo Bill Charleston who has reminded her of how hard it is to be a single parent.) She shared with us the progress that CCSD's students have made in recent years and then outlined the school building projects planned for 2011-1015.

Literacy efforts under McGinley's leadership show positive results. 45% of students in the county now attend schools rated "Excellent" compared to only one in five (20%) statewide. In 2010, CCSD seniors earned $48 million in scholarships, their highest earnings on record. For the third straight year in a row, CCSD's 3rd through 8th graders earned higher exemplary marks on the PASS test than their state peers in every grade and subject tested. CCSD schools are safer and more high tech than ever with expulsions and suspensions at four year lows.

Since 2007, the percentage of rising ninth graders reading at a fourth-grade level and below has dramatically dropped. In 2007, more than 20 percent of students entering ninth grade read at a fourth grade level. In 2011 this number is down to 12.8 percent (which includes English Language Learners and students with special needs). It is anticipated that this rate will be cut to zero within five years.

Dr. McGinley emphasized her focus on literacy improvement that starts earlier than high school. Hence, first grade reading academies were established across the county this year. Parents of students who are not on grade level in reading receive an official notification letters, and then in the fall, these students are put into an academy. The results of this program have been phenomenal. At the end of the last school year, 11 percent of our first graders read below grade level. This year that number is down to 6.7 percent.

Regarding school building projects, the six-year 1 penny sales tax increase voters approved in November will cover at least $450 million of the costs. The building program is estimated to infuse the local economy with $100 million over the next two years.

Between 2011 and 2015, the slated projects and budgets for each are as follows (in order by construction dates): Buist Academy $35.7 million; Memminger Elementary $22 million; former Rivers Middle School $25 million; Sullivan's Island Elementary $26.4 million; Harbor View Elementary $26.5 million; St. Andrews School of Math & Science $33.1 million; Chicora Elementary $28 million; Jennie Moore Elementary $72.2 million; James Island Charter High $25 million.

Success factors mentioned by Dr. McGinley include strong city leadership (on the part of Mayor Riley and others) to rebuild schools ASAP, city planning staff that provided a clear vision for each school, and extensive community engagement.

Submitted by Loretta Wilson, Keyway Committee
Thank YOU, George!

July 26 2011: Last Tuesday's meeting featured a practical and entertaining lesson in gratitude.

A former museum director, fundraising professional, and research scientist, George Stevens, the well recognized CEO and President of the Coastal Community Foundation, provided a succinct overview of the foundation's performance in giving to support our region's charities. He then surprised the audience with a welcome and captivating lesson on the etymology of "Thank you." His focus was to discuss the challenges many of us face in deciding just what the appropriate gestures should be in acknowledging a person’s or organization’s philanthropic support.

George's talk was a perfect theme dovetailing with our historic club's commitment to "Service Above Self."

"All successful philanthropy begins with a study of non-profits, charities and the overall needs and resources of a community," he said. "We need to be intelligent about how we allocate our valuable resources and also communicate what our mission is." He advocated members of our club becoming involved in grant committees. "How often do you have a chance to decide on how to give away millions of dollars? Besides, it's fun," he added with a winning smile.

He also spotlighted an issue that arose when some individuals who were studying grant options and saw just how much the Foundation and other parties contribute to community charities and non-profit organizations. "These people studying the grant options became angry," he said. "Why doesn't the community know more about what we're doing?" So, we must always be attentive to communications. Furthermore, how do we leverage the concept of community? "Rotary is a community," he said, "in fact, Rotary is MY community," making the point that when likeminded people join forces, amazing things can be accomplished. Thank you, George.

Commitment becomes contagious when we have the right communications and the right way to acknowledge the efforts of others and say…"Thank you!"

George cited a sign he noticed in the corporate offices of Piggly Wiggly, that simply said, "Go find someone to thank." Meaning, literally, make it clear that you are thinking of someone else and their needs. It is human nature to appreciate that someone thinks about us. And as fundraisers and business people, we should all be cognizant of the power that can have.

The audience was given the chance to consider points made in a letter to the editor in the Post & Courier (3/4/11), submitted by David Schools, CEO for Piggly Wiggly that rightly compared
instances of Wal-Mart's philosophy of community contributions (with strings and publicity) to that of our regional grocery store. The CEO of Piggly Wiggly said simply, "We don't think of community support as a publicity stunt."

To further illustrate his points, George shared with us examples of people who give very generously to the community and how we can best thank them. Most importantly, he reminded us, the real dividend for benefactors is the sense of community and compassion that is realized through giving. "It feels good, to know we are helping others, no matter the scale." The discussion was grounded by the precept we find in Luke 6:38:

"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."

Thank you, George! We mean it. A wonderful and important reminder of the power of human compassion and selfless service. Thank you.

After nearly five years as President and CEO of Coastal Community Foundation, George's local expertise has been built by thousands of conversations with nonprofit leaders and contributors to nonprofit organizations throughout the Lowcountry. Finding connections between community needs and donor interests keeps him searching for the next great listening opportunity. When George is not at work, he enjoys botanical illustrating and Japanese nature printing.

Coastal Community Foundation began in 1974 with $9,000 from The Rotary Club of Charleston to serve the tri-county area. Today we manage over $150 million in combined assets held in over 570 individual funds. Thousands of donors are served and charitable organizations supported throughout the eight coastal Carolina counties.

Submitted by Mark Danes, Keyway Committee