What's New at Lansing Rotary
When:Friday, October 18th, 2019
Where:LCC Downtown Campus, Gannon Building, 411 North Grand Avenue
Speaker:Sam Singh, Chief Executive Officer of Public Policy Associates, Inc.
Topic:"2020 Census"
Chair of the Day:Chris Swope
Invocator:Bob Hoffman
Greeter:Dave Trumpie
Chair of the Month: Courtney Millbrook
Remembrance:Diane Sanborn
Editarian:Brian Taylor
Sam Singh is the Chief Executive Officer of Public Policy Associates, Inc. (PPA). PPA is based in Lansing but works nationally to research, evaluate, and consult in the policy areas of education, workforce development, criminal and juvenile justice, and healthy communities.
Mr. Singh has significant experience in both state and local government. He was elected to the Michigan Legislature as a State Representative for three terms from 2013-2018. He served on the Appropriations Committee for two terms and in his final term was chosen by his colleagues to serve as the Democratic Leader. On the local level, he served the community of East Lansing one term as Mayor and three terms on the City Council. During his 12 years in elected office in East Lansing, he focused on strengthening collaboration and programming with the East Lansing School District, Michigan State University and regional governments in the Mid-Michigan area.
Mr. Singh also served as a senior consultant for the New Economy Initiative for Southeast Michigan where he managed their grant portfolio for workforce and immigration initiatives. In addition, Mr. Singh served ten years as the President and CEO of the Michigan Nonprofit Association, an 1100 member-based association that was actively involved in public policy, capacity building and leadership development for the nonprofit sector. He has also held professional positions with the Volunteer Centers of Michigan and the Points of Light Foundation.
Mr. Singh is a graduate of Michigan State University and has extensive community experience having served on over twenty nonprofit boards throughout his career.
President Pat rang the bell to bring us to order. Rebecca Baher-Cook gave a meaningful invocation, and then Lisa Smith a capella led the Club in singing America the Beautiful. Janet Lillie circulated the mic among our numerous guests. Diane Sanborn shared that the health of the club is excellent.
There were several announcements and reports.
• President Pat noted the number of Athena award recipients and participants in the room, and Michelle Reynaert      announced the Athena event, Evening of Encouragement, at the Crowne Plaza.
• Glenn Granger said that Missy Lilje had stepped up to lead the Student Program Committee. Missy talked about the student program and thanked Dr. Mark Cascarilla, acting Superintendent of the Lansing School District for his support. She asked members to act as mentors by sitting with and welcoming the students. She asked for help with making connections to the 3 local private schools.
• President Pat spoke about the upcoming strategic planning session.
• Our Club has given $30,000 to fund the eradication of Polio, President Pat told us. Polio only exists in 3 countries and once fully eradicated, the disease cannot return.
• Scott Duimstra was recognized for the Capital Area District Library’s State Librarians Award for Excellent Customer Service. Scott reminded everyone to be careful of spilled salad dressing if you don’t have a lectern to stand behind when speaking. He spoke about their Connections and Corrections program where they record inmates reading a book and then give the recording and a copy of the book to the inmate’s child.
• Carmen Turner spoke about the Boys and Girls Club recent event, A Night To Remember. She spoke about a past participant, Robert Ray, who won a Bill Gates Scholarship in 2011 and wanted to become a doctor. The speaker at this year’s event was Dr. Robert Ray. Boys and Girls Club makes a difference. Chris Holman stole the mic from Janet for a moment of well deserved praise of Carmen Turner’s leadership.
• Courtney Millbrook was called out for the recent Lansing State Journal article praising the Lansing Symphony for their “cutting edge” classical music.
• President Pat waxed about how proud he is to be part of such a productive club. And the unfortunate lack of special music allowed us to spend some extra time recognizing people. He thanked Courtney Millbrook for her work as Chair of the Month.
Somehow Kevin Schumacher was given the mic as Chair of the Day. He gave a meandering yet meaningful introduction of our speaker, Joan Nelson. In the 60 days since he met her, this Energizer Bunny of a woman has changed Kevin’s outlook on ribs and helping others. He told a long story about finding a lost phone and Joan’s conscience leading him to do the right thing. When he was done introducing her, Joan was left with 2 minutes to speak.
Joan Nelson is the Executive Director of the Allen Neighborhood Center (ANC), a 20 year old non-propfit serving the northeast quadrant of the City of Lansing. They serve as a community development agency and are comprehensive and neighborhood based. While there is a great range of incomes in the area they serve, 25% of the residents are at or below poverty level, and 60% are below 80% of median income. The area they serve is also very diverse with 26 languages being spoken at Eastern High School.
ANC works on health, housing, commercial and economic development, and more. Food and hunger is a focus; every Monday they give away 11,000 pounds of produce and 200 pounds of bread to community members in need. Their farmers market was the first in Michigan to take food stamps. They work on growing food locally and have a greenhouse made possible by a Cool Cities Grant under the Granholm administration. Joan talked about ANC’s youth programs and highlighted the Garden in a Box and Edibles Park programs. The farmers market is now year-round, being inside or outside seasonally.
In upcoming projects, ANC will create Allen Place, a 29 unit comprehensive community hub. They are taking ownership of the building they have been in but there are numerous rehabilitation challenges including asbestos and contamination from dry cleaning businesses, a gas station, and a small engine repair business formerly onsite. When completed in addition to the age-friendly housing units, there will be several new food related businesses and culinary school for high school students in the development.
Note: as I was writing this I received the weekly Allen Farmers Market update. You can subscribe to Active Neighboring News at http://allenneighborhoodcenter.org/market/.
Chris Swope's email is:  chris.swope@gmail.com
Upcoming Speakers
Captain Chris Chamberlain
Oct 25, 2019
on the Michigan Princess Riverboat
Dr. Wolfgang Bauer, Assoc. VP for Admin Serv
Nov 01, 2019
"Go Green" at the Lansing Center - First Floor
Bill Beekman, MSU Athletic Director
Nov 08, 2019
at the Lansing Center on First Floor
Dr. Chris Contag, Director
Nov 15, 2019
Institute for Quantitative Health & Science @ Lansing Center
Michelle Pell, Director of MSU Union
Nov 22, 2019
"The MSU Union: A Storied Past, Inspired Future" @ Lansing Center
Club Information

Welcome to the Rotary Club of Lansing



We meet Fridays at 12:00 PM
Lansing Center @ Noon
333 E. Michigan Avenue
Lansing, MI  48933
United States of America
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