Help Us Share Rotary Stories

"I can only imagine what you will inspire through the stories you'll tell."
Dan Smith

Dan Smith

A passion for podcasting to tell the world about the great things Rotary is doing.
Image by Harbir K Bhatia


“Keeping Rotary to ourselves has a cost. And by sharing our Rotary moments, we are being generous with others and giving them an opportunity to understand the impact of Rotary.”

Jennifer Jones, President, Rotary International


We are doing just that. District Governor Cindi O’Neil started podcasting three years ago, collecting Rotary stories. The following year District 5110 launched the Voices of Rotary podcast channel. We have trained podcasters throughout the District collecting your stories, and they are always ready to record your and your club’s stories.

Last week we shared with you the hundreds of projects funded by the Disaster Grants program. Well, we are taking the next big step.

On February 4, Dan Smith (that’s me) will be going to Ukraine for a month. With the help of our team, you will be able to experience what it’s like to live there right now, with all the challenges a war can bring. If all goes as planned, you will meet Rotarians in Ukraine and the five surrounding countries, including Moldova, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland. You will meet the people we are helping, hear their voices, and experience what they are experiencing. You will see firsthand how Rotary is working to help the people there.



You will meet Rotarians like District Governor  Piotr Jankowski from Poland, and hear him tell his own story. This comment is from an email he shared with LeAnn Mobley, The Disaster Response Grant Specialist for Zone 26 & 27 and a co-founder of this project:

“On Monday evening, I returned from Lviv. We made a convoy of 25 small trucks and buses with humanitarian aid for orphanages. I can’t forget it. We reached the children around 9 pm. Frost, snow, darkness, and … together with them, we unloaded food, sleeping bags, and packages from Santa Claus. Tears were flowing from the eyes. By serving as the District Governor and helping our brothers in Ukraine, I think I am fulfilling my dreams. I am happy, and I feel that I have done something good in my life. Thank you for your help and support.”


Imagine being a part of that convoy and driving for hours, being cold and wet, unloading the supplies in the dark, but feeling full of warmth and fulfillment to the point of tears. If you’re a Rotarian, you probably already know how that feels. It is this experience we want you to share with them.

My family and friends think I’m crazy. Not only am I going into a war zone, but the weather there is extreme, with highs in the 20s and lows around 8 degrees Fahrenheit. A few years ago, I lived in Ukraine and had a business, a conference center, and serviced offices. A piece of my heart and friends are still there. So anything I can do to help can’t be enough.


Come Along Wity Us

This trip will be broadcast live and on demand. So you will be able to experience everything, right down to the train ride on a Soviet-era train.


The Goals

  • To capture Rotary Stories and share them with the world.
  • To train ten displaced Ukrainians to record those stories and give them a sustainable income
  • To be the “Community Assessment” tool and help us find the projects that will do the most good.


This project will train ten displaced Ukrainians in Ukraine and the neighboring countries to go out and collect those stories for you. To create podcasts and videos and share them with the world. Your donations will give them the equipment, software, and support to feed their families.

While businesses are fleeing Ukraine, we are building a business in Ukraine. With your help, we will open an office in Lviv and have six months of operating expenses. This funding includes “buying” ten podcasts from each of the Field Podcasters.

Once the program is fully operational, we will have a story every day of the month. That gives us the power to attract sponsors and share the stories on Public Radio through Public Radio Exchange (PRX), home of This American Life, The Moth, TED Talks Daily, and many more.


Your donations make this all possible.

Visit Voices of Rotary Ukraine. Find out more about the program and learn how your donations will be tax deductible and how every transaction is transparent. You will see what every dollar has bought.

Then go to GoFundMe and make that tax-deductible donation.


The first step – Nominate a Candidate

We are asking all of the 442 Rotary districts who donated to the fund to nominate a candidate for the Field Podcaster position. Because this is a project started by District 5110 we have the opportunity to nominate a candidate for the Field Podcaster that will will be appointed by DG Aimee Walsh outside of the global competition.

The basic requirements are that they live in one of the six target countries, have a good command of English, are familiar with Rotary values and have a good work ethic.

If you have someone who you have worked with that you think would be a good Podcaster, please nominate them here. The will receive all the training, equipment, software and support plus an income from the podcasts they submit.

Nominations for these District appointed candidates close on January 31. Nominations for the global candidates close on February 10.

This is your opportunity to give some one a new carrier and help support their family.


Why Not use a Global Grant?

Because it is winter in Ukraine, we want to support twelve families, not with charity but with a marketable skill to get them through the winter. Because a Global Grant or Volunteer Training Team will take months; we decided to turn to crowdfunding to raise the initial money to start this program.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact LeAnn Mobley or me. You can reach me at the Webmeister in the purple button below.

Join us on YouTube and Facebook, or follow us on Twitter and Instagram. The links are on the website, all with your help and support.

We want to thank District Governor Aimee Walsh for her support and encouragement.  With her help you can also follow us here in the newsletter.

It’s going to be one heck of a journey and we are glad you can join us.

“In everything we do, what people feel about Rotary will shape our future. I can only imagine what you will inspire through the stories you’ll tell.” JENNIFER JONES President, Rotary International


Thank you.


2 Responses

  1. Thank you, “Energizer Bunny” Dan, for forging ahead despite much early resistance and apathy towards the power podcast stories! I remain a strong supporter of getting stories of people in action out to the world!

    1. Emily, your support and the Service Above Self podcast series has been an extraordinary boost to the District. It has been, and continues to be, a great pleasure to work with you. Here’s to a stellar future!

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