Vol. 108, No. 37, March 12, 2024
Next Meeting 
When:Friday, March 15, 2024
Where:Lansing Community College, Michigan Room
Address:600 N. Grand Ave., Park in Gannon Ramp
Speaker:Erica & Michael Lynn Jr.
Title:"The Empowerment Network and Lansing 360"
Chair of the Day:Ben Rathbun
Reflection:Justin Sheehan
Greeter:Kurt Hanus
Editarian: Tim Adams
Microphone:Cathy Zell
Biography for Erica Lynn
Erica Lynn was born and raised in Lansing, MI, spending most of her childhood on the East side of Lansing before moving to the South side as a teen, proudly graduating from Everett High School. She enjoyed a 17 year career with the American Cancer Society in leadership roles involving project and people management, fundraising, and consulting. She is currently a Senior Project Coordinator in the Center for Culturally Responsive Engagement at MPHI, supporting projects in which the most impacted are at the center of conversations that seek to find solutions to problems affecting them.
In 2019 Erica co-founded The Village Lansing; a non-profit dedicated to combating gun violence through prevention efforts, intervention with those at risk, and supporting those affected. She also co-hosts Merica 20 to Life, a vodcast that aims to educate, motivate, spark conversation, and inspire action through conversations about what’s in the news, current events, entertainment, politics, and everyday life.
Previously Erica Co-Chaired the Lansing Branch Women in the NAACP Committee, was a 13 year Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Team Captain for the American Cancer Society, and served as the Lansing Support Group Leader for the Michigan Lupus Foundation. Erica was also instrumental in bringing the Advance Peace initiative to Lansing, serving on the Planning and Stakeholders Group. She also served on the Lansing School District’s Equity Data Team, supporting the District’s systemic equity review by analyzing data, identifying root causes, and developing recommendations to address identified inequities.
She remains heavily involved in the Lansing community, regularly attending neighborhood meetings, city council, and council committee meetings. She is currently running for the Lansing City Council Charter Commission, hoping to contribute her experience and passion for fostering community resilience, to ensure that our city's foundational document reflects the needs of all residents.
Erica is dedicated to building capacity in her community and mission driven work. She is very passionate about addressing the root causes of gun violence, health and racial equity, and social justice. She is excited about her efforts to build the Lansing Empowerment Network and the impact that it will undoubtedly have in our community.
Biography for Michael Lynn Jr.
Michael Lynn Jr. (Community Advocate)
Life long resident of Lansing MI.
Father of 3, Grandpa, husband, Son, uncle, Nephew, cousin and brother.
Co-Host of Merica 20 to Life, and Owner of Merica Media Group llc.
Owner of The Advocates Firearms Academy
Firearms Advocate/Instructor
Licensed EMT, Stop the Bleed Instructor
Community Violence Intervention Specialist
Executive director and Co-Founder of The Village Lansing, a non profit whose mission is to reduce gun violence by way of prevention, intervention and support with a focus on education over abstinence.
Lansing Empowerment Network/ Lansing 360 Facilitator and Board Chair
Local Grants Application
This year the Rotary Club of Lansing Foundation has allocated $62,000 for its Local Grants program.  Grants up to $10,000 will be awarded to nonprofit organizations that serve residents of Ingham, Eaton and/or Clinton Counties.
SELECTION CRITERIA:  Make a significant, positive impact in the Lansing community and address one or more of the following:
  • Impact underserved or disadvantage populations
  • Enhance cultural, recreational or economic elements of the community
  • Demonstrate a unique or emerging need that is unmet by another organization.
The Local Grant application will close April 8, 2024 via SlideRoom.  
March Birthdays
Joseph GarciaMarch 31
Sarah GarciaMarch 23
Kimberly GarlandMarch 08
Joel J. HoffmanMarch 31
Robert HoffmanMarch 08
Hari KernMarch 14
Matthew McGaugheyMarch 26
Kevin V. B. SchumacherMarch 03
Jay H. SmithMarch 22
Barb WhitneyMarch 07
Trey WilliamsMarch 08
Legacy Society
We are grateful to the following Rotarians and their spouses who have made this significant commitment that will be transformational to our Club's grantmaking - forever!
Ken Beachler
Ted Abrams
Jack & Margaret Bates
Bill & Marilyn Cochran
Robert Fisher
Heidi McNaughton
Helen & Charles Mickens
Irv Nichols
George & Marilyn Nugent
Editarian Report for March 8, 2024

Call to Order
President Nick called the meeting to order at 12:30 p.m. and led Rotarians in the recitation of the Four-Way Test.
Chris Holman delivered the reflection. I missed it, unfortunately, because I got stuck in construction traffic in the Frandor area and arrived late! I’m sure it inspired all.
Patriotic Song
The Patriotic Song was God Bless America.
Introduction of Guests & Visiting Rotarians
Cathy Zell did a fabulous job tossing the blue-square mic to Rotarians who introduced themselves or their guests.
Red Badge Presentation
President Nick presented Jenny Marr with her red badge. Congratulations, and welcome to the club, Jenny!
Health of the Club
President Nick announced that there was nothing to report regarding the Health of the Club, which we all infer to mean, everyone is in good health!
Special Music
When he knew his wife, Lillian Werbin, President and Co-owner of Elderly Instruments, was to be today’s speaker, Chair of the Month Ben Rathbun reached out to Dr. Steve Robinson, and said, “You worked at Elderly Instruments. Maybe you could play?” Steve said he could do better than that and put together a string band of Elderly Instruments alumni employees. They never played together as an ensemble. Being old-time string band musicians, they tried to come up with a funny name for themselves all through lunch.
Steve introduced his fellow band members — in reverse order of hire date at Elderly Instruments — and shared some trivia as well:
• Dave Keller (fiddle and mandolin) was hired in 2002;
• Doug Birch, an incredible dulcimer maker, was hired in 1996 (Doug and Steve were in a string band together called The Frenzy Brothers (The Frenzy Brothers - Stev187's Blog - Banjo Hangout). They were the Monday night string band for about eight years at the old Travelers Club International Restaurant and Tuba Museum;
• Dr. Robinson hired in at Elderly Instruments in 1990;
• Brian Heffren plays fiddle and was hired in 1984;
• Steve Szilagyi plays bass and was hired in 1980 (LCC trivia: Szilagyi’s son is LCC’s head librarian); and
• Stan Werbin doesn’t have a hire date, but the store was founded in 1972.
Another bit of trivia, according to Dr. Robinson: When old-time musicians want to stop playing a tune, one of them will lift their leg. The ensemble played Spotted Pony and Soldier’s Joy while the audience tapped their feet to the beat.
February Birthday Donations
Craig Stiles reported 100% participation among Rotarians with February birthdays, raising $1,000. The birthday question was, “If someone were to describe yourself as an ice cream flavor, what flavor would that be?”
Umakanth said, “Plain vanilla will suffice unless they create an entirely unique flavor.” Diane Sanborn said, “Two of my favorite flavors are coconut-raspberry.” Michelle Carlson said, “Mint chocolate chip,” because it was one of her favorites, and she’s kind of a bright and sweet person. Kayla Park said, “Pistachio. Classic and traditional with just a touch of new me.” She said she did get a second opinion: Hot ice cream, since she hates the cold and still gets to eat the pistachios.” Craig asked his kids what flavor he is. They all had their own flavors that they like but landed on, “You’re kind of the base of all flavors, and you go along with any topping. You’re kind of a nut, kind of a fruit.”
Happy birthday, Rotarians!
International Grant
Umakanth reported on the $5,000 international grant for Stem for All. He discussed the online learning infrastructure project at two remote villages in Tamil Nadu, India: Cheyyur and Samayapuram. Each received $2,500 through an FCRA-approved organization. The funds were used to purchase a laptop, projector, screen and accessories, internet connection and stipend for teacher assistants, which resulted in online and in-house classes. number of videos of the students thanking Rotary for their assistance in getting them a Wi-Fi connection. He said, “You empowered me, so these students can be considered your grandchildren. I’m creating hope in the world.”
 Foundation Signature Grants Applications for the $50,000 signature grant are being sought between Feb. 19 and March 11. Local grants are available from March 11 through April 5. There will be a link in the Rotogram. If you’re aware of local organizations that are interested in applying, check out the website.
Membership Committee Meeting
President Nick announced that the committee would meet in the President’s Room just after the regular club meeting.
Chair of the Month and Chair of the Day
President Nick thanked Ben Rathbun for serving as Chair of the Month and Chair of the Day. Ben enthusiastically introduced his wife, Lillian Werbin, president and co-owner of Elderly Instruments. Rotarians applauded Lillian for Elderly Instruments — named by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce the 2023 America’s Top Small Business (see news release and video at Elderly Instruments: Celebrating America's Top Small Business 2023 at). She highlighted the business’s history and legacy. Elderly was started in 1972 with two people, which was born of a dream. They made a catalog. Lillian started in 2014 part-time in the warehouse and had no idea it would be her life. She found an organic love for the business. The pandemic hit, and they learned how to make sure the business survived. She is now co-owner of the business with her dad, Stan Werbin. She credits her staff for the business’s success.
• Inventory is expansive and unique
• There are other music stores in the nation but not all care about what they care about
• Collective expertise and knowledge – 52 years this July; 20 people who worked at Elderly for over 10 years – “We horde our knowledge and we share it with each other, and we share it with others in the community.”
• Cutting-edge technology
• Expert repairs and setup
• Expansive network
• Our strong community
Just over 40 staffers. Four are part time; most are full time. Elderly manages four generations and eight departments: purchasing, accounts payable, HR, IT, marketing and sales, repair and appraisals.
Lillian explained that the instrument comes in from vendors and goes to the repair shop. It goes to our warehouse and gets put away. The salesperson sells an instrument, and it goes back to the repair shop and out the door. “There are hundreds of steps in between,” she said. “Our job is to make it so that the customer feels very fulfilled, and we do a good job of that.”
Elderly Instruments’ core values were established about seven years ago. They have always been the backbone of Elderly Instruments, and we kind of took all of our history and tried to figure out what the overarching ideas were that have never changed: knowledgeable, enthusiastic, resilient, community-focused, authentic and results-oriented.
Elderly Instruments’ inventory, shipping and repair has over 1,600 instruments in stock. Of those, approximately 1,000 are guitars. They also inventory and sell small goods and hard-to-find folk instruments. Anything that is ordered by 2 p.m. is shipped the same day (97%). All items are inspected by the repair shop. Elderly has an international presence, they are big on sponsorships and donations; they host events at Elderly and around Lansing; and the owners are heavily involved in the community. When they cannot donate, they volunteer their time.
Following an exceptional question-and-answer session, the meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m.
The email for Lolo Robison:  lrobison@cata.org 
Mar 21, 2024
4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Lansing Brewing
Mar 29, 2024
Apr 05, 2024
Apr 12, 2024
"Business Models for Small-Scale Technologies for Service Provider Enterprises"
View entire list
Rotary Club of Lansing
P. O. Box 13156
Lansing, MI   48901-3156
Meeting Responsibilities
March Birthday Chair
McGaughey, Matthew
Adams, Timothy
Sheehan, Justin
Chair of the Day
Rathbun, Benjamin
Chair of the Month
Rathbun, Benjamin
Zell, Katherine
Hanus, Kurt
Download Files
Rick Snyder's Presentation