January 2020 NewsBrief Volume 4 Issue 6.5

RI Trustees Announce Environment as

Area of Focus: The Ball is in Our Court

Karen D. Kendrick-Hands

Riseley IA 2020 AOF Taskforce

Ian Riseley, Past RIP and Chair of the Foundation's Environmental Issues Taskforce, announces review of Environment as new Area of Focus at RI International Assembly, San Diego, Jan. 21, 2020. Photo by Rotarian Mary Berge.

Support the work of the Foundation's Environmental Issues Taskforce and make a difference by completing this survey by Jan. 31, 2020.

ESRAG Board's Position: We support the addition of the Environment as a unique and separate Rotary Area of Focus (AOF). With the addition of a new Area of Focus: Ensuring Environmental Sustainability, Rotary's Areas of Focus will more closely align with all 17 of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals, including the six SDGs that address the environment and climate action. Youth between 12 and 15 can access the survey here.

Read ESRAG's new Green Position paper in support of a unique Area of Focus for the Environment.

Survey Provides Input for Foundation Taskforce

ESRAG members and friends are invited to complete a survey by January 31, midnight US CST, which will help guide the Environmental Issues Taskforce as they ponder how to add the Environment as an Area of Focus (AOF).   RI Foundation Trustees, meeting last weekend in San Diego, California, before the RI International Assembly, agreed - in an unexpected, but welcome development - "to consider adding Environmental Issues as a new Area of Focus or adding Environmental Issues to an existing Area of Focus."  The news inspired a burst of enthusiasm on social media, although the Taskforce is just getting to work. The question of how to create an Area of Focus for the environment is still very much in play. Make a difference by sharing your views.

ESRAG Leadership and Abby McNear (Director of Grants, Rotary International) invite you and your Rotary colleagues to help shape Rotary’s environmental future. The Rotary Foundation is working on ways to support environmental sustainability through grant-making. As someone who is passionate about both Rotary and environmental action, we invite you to provide valuable insight to the Rotary leaders who are working on this issue. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey.  The Rotary Foundation staff will present the results in early February to the Taskforce, so the survey will close 12:00 PM Central Standard Time (Chicago time) on Friday, 31 January. 

To provide context for your answers, you will want to read ESRAG's Green Position Paper on Adding Environment as an Area of Focus.  ESRAG will share the compiled survey results in an upcoming newsletter. Thanks in advance for helping to shape Rotary's future! If you have any questions about the survey, please contact Once you have completed the survey, share its link widely with your Rotary colleagues, and invite them to complete it as well. If you are between the ages of 12 and 15, you can participate in the survey by visiting the Climate Solutions Coalition Membership page

Background on TRF's Environmental Issues Taskforce.

The Environmental Issues Taskforce, consisting of four Foundation Trustees:  Brenda Cressey, Jennifer Jones, and Kenneth Schuppert, Jr., led by Past RIP Ian Riseley; RI Director Jan Lucas Ket, and Elyse YiChun Lin, Co-Chair, RI Rotaract Committee 2019-20, will resolve implementation details. They are seeking input from ESRAG and its friends. You can help by completing the above survey and inviting your Rotary colleagues and members of the Rotary family to complete it as well. 

Chair Riseley has invited ESRAG to support the Taskforce in its decision-making process; ESRAG Chair Chris Puttock asked Karen Kendrick-Hands to be the contact person for ESRAG. Karen helped RI staff develop the above survey, which will gather crucial data from ESRAG and Climate Solutions Coalition members, newsletter subscribers and friends. Board members Karen, Chris and Steve Solbrack, with support from Llewellyn Botha, RC Newlands, South Africa,  co-authored ESRAG's first "Green Position" paper in support of making the Environment a unique Area of Focus, not combined with any of the six current Areas of Focus. The survey "opens opportunities" (RIPE Holger Knaack's theme for 2021) to help the Foundation add the Environment as an Area of Focus. This action will make Rotary more relevant and attractive to the next generation of Rotarians, more closely align Rotary's Areas of Focus with the UN's 17 Sustainable Development Goals, enhance Rotary International's reputation in Civil Society, in addition to opening up Global Grants to fund environmental projects. The environment will again have a seat at the "Rotary table." Participate, today!

Not yet a member? It's more important than ever to Join ESRAG today!  Your ESRAG dues help Rotary connect the world by sharing strategies to "Ensure Environmental Sustainability" and save us all from climate change.

The January 2020 Newsletter will be published in the next few days.  Standby!