Grosse Pointe Rotary Club
Grosse Pointe

Service Above Self

We meet In Person
Wednesdays at 5:30 PM
The Village Grille
16930 Kercheval Ave
Grosse Pointe, MI 48230
United States of America

Our meetings are Hybrid Meetings.

Members will receive email invites each week to join in person and a link to join virtually.

If you wish to be a guest please contact a member or Email us at GrossePointeRotary@gmail.com

Our Stories
Terry Gibb spoke to the club as a representative for MSU Extension Services.
 
MSU Extension’s mission is to help people improve their lives through an educational process that applies knowledge to critical issues, needs, and opportunities. It brings the vast knowledge resources of MSU directly to individuals, communities, and businesses.
 
In 1914, Congress passed the Smith-Lever Act, which directed the nation’s land grant universities to oversee its work in every state. MSU Extension has divided Michigan into 14 districts, with 4 statewide institutes: (1) Children & Youth, (2) Health & Nutrition, (3) Agriculture & Agribusiness, and (4) Community, Food & Environment.
 
Children & Youth includes the 4H Club, which is the largest youth development program in the State with 59,000 youth taking part. It teaches life skills, how to be a leader, and career preparation. Health and Nutrition focuses on nutrition, physical activity, food preparation, and food safety. The programs in Agriculture and Agribusiness include Master Gardener, plant & pest diagnostics, and crop production. Community, Food & Environment is the most varied institute with programs in areas such as housing education and foreclosure, local government fiscal sustainability, and homeowner septic education. www.canr.msu.edu/outreach/
Stu Alderman spoke to the club as the Executive Director of the Neighborhood Club.
 
The Neighborhood Club was formed in 1911 as a service organization. Its mission, as a nonprofit, was (and is) to collaborate to enhance the health and well-being of Grosse Pointe and the surrounding communities by offering recreation, social, and wellness programs.
 
From 2000 – 2003, a Master Recreation Plan was commissioned, and it was determined that a state of-the-art recreation center and warm water pool were priorities for the area. The Neighborhood Club was willing to take that vision and make it a reality. leading to its current 48,000 square foot building (celebrating its 10th anniversary). To break ground, a loan of $7 million was needed along with a $4 million capital campaign and Mr. Alderman is proud to report that about $2.4 million remains to be paid. Beaumont (now Corewell Health) leases 25% of this space and discussions regarding a new lease are ongoing. Within the structure, there is a pool, a gym, a fitness center, small conference rooms available to rent, and a preschool.
 
Having a membership provides access to the fitness center, over 55 group exercise classes, the pool (and its aquatic classes), the gym, and discounted fees toward its many youth and adult sports leagues. These sports leagues have been run by the Neighborhood Club for decades. It also operates a thrift shop, at the corner of University and Mack, which will be celebrating its 95th anniversary this year.
 
After losing 634 households due to Covid, dropping membership to 1,359 by April, 2021, Mr. Alderman is proud to report that it’s now up to 2,100. To learn more, please visit www.neighborhoodclub.net.
Abigail Turnbull spoke to the club as Grosse Pointe Chamber of Commerce Membership & Events Coordinator.
 
Turnbull joined the Chamber in December 2022 and has helped with existing programs such as networking events that take place 1 or 2 times a month, an online business directory, an online job directory, marketing gift bags, and chamber change (gift cards that are essentially cash that can be used at member businesses where the business is reimbursed the value of the gift card). Her goals include making these programs even better and developing new ones.
 
Upcoming events include: 3/5 – 3/11: Grosse Pointe Restaurant Week. The theme is Passport to the Pointes where you can have your passport stamped and exchanged for chamber change. 5/4: Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast. The keynote speaker is JT Mestaugh. 6/23: Legacy on the Lake. This will take place at the Ford House and will honor Jim and Ann Nicholson. 11/24: Santa Claus Parade. The Chamber is excited that a new Santa float is being built by The Parade Company. Look for fundraising opportunities to support this.
 
There are approximately 1,000 businesses in Grosse Pointe and over 600 of are Chamber members. Ms. Turnbull works with, and promotes, all four local associations (GP Park Business Association, Main Street Grosse Pointe, the Hill Association, and the GP Woods Business Association) equally. She views them as organizations working together and not competing against each other. www.grossepointechamber.com
David Eardley spoke to the club giving his New Member Vocational.
 
Talk David grew up in northeast Detroit, at 8 Mile and Van Dyke. He attended Harper Woods Lutheran East and then the University of Michigan, where his career in ministry began. He studied at the Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary on the Campus of Northwestern University and received his first posting in 1993 at a church in Britton, MI, a small farming community. This was a bit of a culture shock, after growing up in Detroit.
 
In 1997, David was transferred to a church in Ann Arbor (which he attended as a college student). He moved to Bay City in 2001, where he became familiar with Rotary, and then on to Frankenmuth in 2006, where he joined their club.
 
In 2013, David moved to his largest church, in Rochester. He became a member of the Rochester Club and was its president in 2021-22. In addition to navigating Covid, David had a challenging year, inheriting two contentious issues (a money donation dispute and new bylaws) and had to secure a new meeting location. David became the senior pastor at Grosse Pointe Methodist church on July 1, 2022. www.gpumc.org. He lives with his wife, Sara, and 17- year-old son, Ryan.
 
David understands the importance of Rotary’s battle to eliminate polio as he had a very early in life exposure to the disease. His great aunt Betty Jane was stricken and had an iron lung in her home. Amazingly, she was able to raise two children in this condition.
 
Seeing how Rotary has helped him connect with the communities he has worked; David is a big proponent of what the organization is and does. With each club, he has seen the friendships made and the commitment to serving.
Julia Given & Lulu Nester spoke to the club from Freedom House Detroit.
 
Formed in 1983, Freedom House is located in southwest Detroit and serves individuals and families fleeing direct government, or government allowed, persecution. It has 14 dorm rooms with at least four beds in each and typically houses 50-60 people. It is an open facility with few rules – be respectful, complete your chores in a timely manner, and be in by curfew.
 
Freedom House offers five programs: (1) FreedomLives, providing shelter, food, and clothing, with many staying up to 2 years; (2) FreedomAids, providing legal aid assistance with the asylum process; (3) FreedomWorks, working on employment readiness, which, with government bureaucracy, can take 12-18 months to even be qualified to hold a job; (4) FreedomCares, providing on-site counseling and medical care through partnerships; and (5) FreedomTalks, affording a resource for those seeking global perspectives and language services.
 
Those seeking asylum learn about Freedom House through word of mouth and online searches. Our speakers are hoping to make it more of a household name in Detroit. To learn more or donate, please visit www.freedomhouse.org. In addition to money, items can be donated through its Amazon List. On the website, click on “Ways to Engage under “Join Us” and then “Get Started under “Give Goods via Amazon”.
Susan Wenzlick spoke to the club as a Senior Brownfield Consultant at Fishbeck, Thompson, Car & Huber, Inc.
 
After three decades with the Michigan Department of Environment Quality (now EGLE), Ms. Wenzlick joined Fishbeck, an engineering, environmental sciences, architecture, and construction management consulting firm based in Grand Rapids.
 
A short video was shown, highlighting the Detroit Riverwalk and how partnerships between the city, businesses, non-profits, and the State helped eliminate blight and environmental contamination, making the area as great as it is now. Collaboration and funding from all of these sources brought the dilapidated property back to life.
 
Most of the properties that become blighted and/or require environmental clean-up are mom & pop businesses (gas stations, cleaners) where the owners cannot afford to maintain or clean up the property. For unpaid back taxes, they revert back to the government who then attempt to sell at auction.
 
For properties not sold at auction, land banks were created to become the owners. Each county in the State has a land bank as well as the City of Detroit. They operate to sell the land, and also work with the State’s Brownfield Authority which provides grants and low-interest loans to communities to facilitate the redevelopment of contaminated properties. The Authority also provides tax increment financing to businesses to incentivize the cleaning and demolishing of properties where the businesses will benefit through lower taxes when redeveloped.
Nadia Nijimbere spoke to the club as the founder, owner, and chef of Baobab Restaurant in Detroit.
 
Ms. Nijimbere told us of her journey from an East African Rights Activist to a Detroit East African Cuisine restaurant owner. In 2013, she fled her country to avoid persecution and, through a connection, learned about the Freedom House, a temporary home for indigent survivors of persecution who are seeking asylum. Freedom House put her up in a facility near the Ambassador Bridge for two years and provided aid in her assimilation to the US. She was taught to speak English, given legal counsel, and given access to medical exams. During one of these exams, she learned that she was pregnant with twins.
 
Repeatedly in her presentation she expressed her gratitude to the Freedom House for the care and opportunity that they provided. Two years later, her husband, Hamissi Mamba, was able to join them. The first few years here were a struggle as Mr. Mamba was unable to look for work until his paperwork went through the system, which left Ms. Nijimbere’s caregiver job as the only source of income. In 2017 they were finally granted asylum.
 
As entrepreneurs, and, with their love of cooking, it seemed right that they open a restaurant and introduce East African foods to Detroit. Their idea allowed them to win $110,000 in two grant money competitions. Although they were lucky to acquire 6568 Woodward Avenue, Suite 100 in 2018, they did not open until 2021 and struggled during those years until they were able to obtain a loan.
 
Baobab means tree of life, and, in South Africa, a Baobab tree grows in areas without water. The staff is hired from Freedom House. www.baobafare.com.
Matthew Lambrecht spoke to the club as a US Border Patrol Agent for the Detroit The Border Patrol is the primary Federal law enforcement agency between the ports-of-entry and its mission is to prevent the entry of terrorists and their weapons from entering the country. This includes the detection, interdiction, and apprehension of those who attempt to illegally enter or smuggle people or contraband across our border.
 
Mr. Lambrecht’s duties as a supervisor include developing agency-wide strategies, policies, and procedures. He coordinates with other law enforcement agencies and applies his knowledge of law enforcement methods and techniques when participating in special investigative activities that impact National security.
 
Recent challenges that the Border Patrol has faced include Covid detainment issues and migrant surges which overwhelm local and state resources, especially in border communities.
Up and Coming Speakers
Amelie Catheline, co-chair, Food Waste Task Force
Mar 29, 2023
Food Too Good Too Waste Challenge & Lunch out of Landfills
Dr. Jody Rappe, Chief Medical Officer, Beaumont GP
Apr 05, 2023
Beaumont Grosse Pointe Updates
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