In Person Meeting on June 11, 2021
Our meeting on Friday, June 11 will be held outside at Rotary Park from 12:30-1:30 pm weather permitting. There will not be a program or lunch since we are all excited to use the time to socialize and catch up with each other in person. Due to speaker commitments and technology needs, the other scheduled meetings for the month of June will be held virtually on Zoom. We are hopeful to be back to meeting in person following the Fourth of July holiday on July 16 dependent on restrictions on meeting capacities. We are looking forward to bringing Club members together again!
Parking:  Park at the Lansing Center parking ramp and please bring in your tickets to our gathering so we can apply a sticker to the ticket so you will be able to exit at no charge.  This is the same procedure we had before COVID.  Thank you so much!  
Notice of Annual Meeting 
The Annual Meeting of the membership of the Rotary Club of Lansing Foundation will be held during the regular meeting of the Rotary Club of Lansing at 12:30 p.m. on Friday, June 18, 2021.  Business to come before the membership will include a report on the Foundation's activities during the past year, as well as the election of members to the Foundation's Board of Directors.  The Nominating Committee report of the foundation will be presented to recommend the following individuals to the membership as nominees for the Foundation's Board of Directors, to serve for a three year term beginning July 1, 2021:
  • Anne Cauley
  • Hari Kern
  • Pam Miklavcic
  • John Shaski
  • Curt Sonnenberg
  • Doug Wiesner
If you have any questions regarding the meeting agenda, please contact Foundation President, Donna Gardner at 
Funding for Local Grants
The Foundation Board of Directors approved the following grant recommendations from the Local Grant Committee:
Cristo Rey-Community Center - $5,000 - to fund the Prescription Assistance Program for patients who do not have coverage 
Care Free Medical Inc. - $5,000 - Providing comprehensive care and access to services for those in need
St. Vincent Catholic Charities - $5,000 - Immigration Law Clinic
Helping Hands Respite Care - $5,000 - outreach efforts and subsidize the cost of care
CASA for Kids, Inc. Barry, Eaton & Ingham - $5,000 - Expansion of service for abused and neglected children
Potter Park Zoological Society - $5,000 - renovation of the zoo's bathrooms
All of the Above Hip Hop Academy - $5,000 - Artists, educators and advocates that mentor youth 
WAI-IAM, Inc. and RISE Recovery Community - $5,000 - housing to transition people from substance abuse
District Conference
The 2021 District Conference will be VIRTUAL via Zoom on Thursday, June 24, from 6:00—8:00 PM. The District Conference will include the Hero Celebration featuring our honoree Patrick Hanes, the District Annual Meeting, the Memorial Service, and Inspirational Speakers.  Registration is NOW OPEN and you can Click HERE to register.  Need help registering?  Please contact District Administrator Ingrid Nova at 517-604-6360 or
Special Projects 
Thanks to the Rotarians who worked through our Special Projects Committee to do a clean up with Habitat for Humanity! The project was a success and those who participated had a lot of fun too! Thanks to Committee Chair Jason Brunette for organizing the project for Rotarians to do good in the community!
Photo includes:  Kurt Guter, Jeff Connell, Nicole Baumer, Camron Gnass, Linda Lynch and not in photo was Todd Gute.
Editarian Report for June 4, 2021
Those of us who arrived just before the meeting was called to order greeted each other and discussed how much we missed meeting in person. Casey Jacobsen said a friend had told her, you’ll either emerge from COVID-19 as a “hunk, a chunk or a drunk.” So true, Casey!
President Julie called the meeting to order at precisely 12:30 p.m.
Lolo Robison presented the invocation – a timeless, inclusive and moving message – which she borrowed from Jonathan Sacks, Chief Rabbi of Great Britain. Based on recent events (hostilities and intolerances that have manifested in 2021 in the form of mass shootings – more than 10 per week this year through May 31), and with a recession still in force, the invocation focused on a message of gratitude – giving thanks for all the things that cost nothing but are worth everything. Despite many hardships and painful events, we discovered that love brings new meaning to marriage, family and life in general, allowing us to share in everyday miracles; for the blessings and kindnesses of friends; friends who stand by us in tough times; for mentors and teachers; for rare souls who lift us when we are laid low; and for the people we meet every day who light up the world with simple gestures of humanity and decency.
For the Patriotic Song, John Dale Smith performed America the Beautiful.
President Julie went around the Zoom to recognize visiting Rotarians and guests. She started by introducing Rob Widigan, Finance Director, City of Lansing. He is transferring his Rotary membership from Shelby to our club. Rob said he has a lot of Rotary swag from Shelby. He is looking forward to getting to meeting everyone and learning about upcoming Rotary projects in the Capital City.
Rebecca Bahar-Cook introduced Annette Rodgers, a fellow fundraising consultant who has raised money in every corner of the state. Annette was grateful for the warm welcome and the invitation to visit today.
President Julie introduced Jon Kolbasa, a guest of Katie Krick, and welcomed him to visit any time.
Diane Sanborn reported that she had nothing to report with respect to the Health of the Club, except that it was going to be 90 degrees the following week. She encouraged everyone to stay cool.
President Julie announced exciting news: a Social Gathering at Rotary Park for the June 11 meeting, 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Parking will be at the Lansing Center, thanks to Cathy Andrews who coordinated with the Center. All the validations are in hand, as usual. Cathy will hook everyone up with parking, so park closer to the end of the lot near Rotary Park, and join everyone at the fireplace area, which is reserved for us. There will be no food, but there will be lots of social time. If you have questions, please reach out. Mayor Andy Schor has been invited to join us. John Dale Smith will provide light keyboard music, so we can all connect and get back to business. After that, there are two more meetings on Zoom, then the July meetings will be in person at the Lansing Center, thanks to Scott Keith. President-Elect Sue Hansen could not be more ecstatic over the news and, according to President Julie, was turning cartwheels. Expect some clunkiness as we transition back to normal during the pandemic. There may be some food issues as there is not yet a full complement of events going on at this time. We’ll make it work and figure out a way to live-stream the meeting.
As one of many Rotarians Doing Great Things, Irv Nichols gave a phenomenal PowerPoint presentation on the South Sudan School, which is near and dear to his and many other Rotarians’ hearts. First, Irv thanked everyone who assisted by donating to the project. At the turn of the century, Irv reported that there were 300 young people who had come to the mid-Michigan area from a Kenya refugee camp, among them, the Lost Boys. Most of them were not Lost Boys, however. A group of about a dozen people started an organization that provided help to them in getting acclimated to the Michigan area. The U.S. government provided 90 days of assistance, and all of their needs were met by Catholic Social Services and other such groups. After the 90-day period, the refugees were on their own. They needed an awful lot of medical and dental information, how to find housing, how to shop, how to cook and more. Education was the most important need, so his nonprofit organization provided educational assistance for up to half the cost of credit hours at Lansing Community College – about $30 per credit hour. When the program finally wrapped up, it was about $105 per credit hour. From humble beginnings and $1,000 from the R.E. Olds Foundation, the organization eventually received $160,000 from the Granger Foundation, the R.E. Olds Foundation, the Dart Energy Foundation and a few others. One of the Lost Boys wanted to do something for his village. He has been living in Uganda when he was in Africa with his wife and a three-year-old baby daughter. He is back in the United States now. He and Irv addressed the Rotary Club in Jackson the day before. Another Lost Boy (Abraham) was at that meeting as well. Abraham has other family still living in South Sudan, but he has been in the U.S. since the early 2000s. He finished high school, followed by the completion of his undergraduate degree. Irv showed photos of other South Sudanese children attending school under trees, which didn’t work very well during the rainy season. Therefore, Abraham suggested that they build a school. They started that project about three or four years ago. The location of the school is near Juba in Majock Chinnois  and was started with the most basic construction imaginable. Irv sent a letter to Glenn Granger saying, “If you ever had to build one like this, it would take a long time.” He explained that they put mud in forms and put those out in the sunshine to bake. Once they baked for several days, all the bricks were piled together and a fire was started under them. The bricks were fired for three days to harden them. Irv’s group built a storage building for tools, wheelbarrows, shovels, picks and more. He showed photos of the construction getting underway. They applied for a grant from District 6360. The building had no windows or doors, and the grant request was specifically for furnishing the building. They had to approach other Rotary clubs, and quite a few people contributed funds for windows and doors. Irv reported that nothing is available in South Sudan, so they needed to go to other countries for everything they used. Tin for roofs came from Uganda or Kenya, and windows and doors were also supplied from adjacent countries. Irv explained that the flooring was made from large rocks, which were broken up by kids using sledge hammers. Cement and water were added, and the mixture was made smooth for the flooring. Blackboards were built into the building as well. They built four classrooms, which accommodate about 40 kids each. Supplies were still needed. The government furnished the needs of the headmaster, but not the teachers. Irv will challenge other Rotary clubs in the district to sponsor a teacher for about $1,200 – which would pay the salary of one teacher for a whole year. The building was painted white and dark blue. Making the desks and chairs was quite a project. Each chair-and-desk unit seats up to two or three students. All of the schoolhouses have been furnished, and the first days of school commenced this week. Latrines will be constructed as soon as the group is able to raise $5,000 to $6,000. They hope to put a kitchen in the building as well. Rotary clubs in Michigan were thanked, and a sign was added to thank Irv for working with the Rotary clubs. Those who contributed to the project included Rotary Club of Lansing ($55,000), District ($5,000), East Lansing Rotary ($1,500), Ionia Club ($250), Marshall Club ($500); and Uma Umakanth ($250). For the celebration, Abraham bought a cow for $500, and they used that for the main feast. Irv thanked everyone for all they’d done to help get the school started. Irv welcomes questions. Please send them directly to his attention.
As Chair of the Month and Chair of the Day, Nicole Baumer introduced Michelle Massey, a director for Dewpoint in the marketing and business development arena, among other proficiencies. Michelle builds community and lifts others up. She’s been a long supporter of the community, serving on numerous nonprofit, business and community boards. She took it to the next level with Lansing Built to Last, which she spearheaded on behalf of our community. She inspired so many to come together and make it happen – over 20 sponsors made the idea a reality.
Michelle Massey thanked Nicole for the introduction. She had heard of Rotary but never realized how powerful we are. Michelle walked us back to the very beginning of COVID, when there were so many unknowns and we didn’t know what the future held for us or our community. She was talking to some people after everyone had been relegated to working from home, and they were telling her, “Oh my goodness, our businesses in Lansing are shutting down and things are happening, and I can hardly wait for the state to come back so that we can be normal again.” In her heart, she thought, “Do we really want to go back the way we were before COVID? Lansing was good, but it wasn’t great. What can we do to infuse this community with a little passion about the potential for what could happen?” She thought of the concept of having a competition that was by and for the people of Lansing, because people will come out to support their own and things for which they had the opportunity to provide input. She approached a couple of people that she trusted to help vet her idea. She was encouraged to proceed, but needed a group of individuals who would donate to the cause. She ran across a quote from Nelson Mandela that said, “It always seems impossible until it is done.” Inspired, she “started eating the elephant one bite at a time.” She called the George Eyde first and told the company that she needed a building that would be given to the eventual winner of the competition, rent-free, for one year. Within 24 hours, the company told her they would make it happen. Then they needed someone to renovate the building. She called the Gillespies, who said they would renovate the building. After that, Michelle said the project started ballooning – the Rathbun Insurance Agency, Redhead Design Studio, MSUFCU, Warner, WLNS, Downtown Lansing Inc., and so many more. They started a competition, and got 58 people from our community to apply to start a new business in Lansing. People had to submit their business plans. Twenty-four of the 58 applicants submitted a plan. Judges from all corners of our community voted, and the applicant pool was narrowed down to the top five candidates. The eventual winner was more than Michelle could ever imagine.
Michelle introduced Nikki Thompson Frazier, the winner of Lansing Built to Last. According to Michelle, Nikki is a driven and determined entrepreneur who has proven herself. Michelle invited Rotarians to give her a call if they have a passion or a drive to make something happen.
Nikki is the “Mompreneur” of Sweet Encounter Kids’ Culinary Academy. Nikki started as Sweet Encounter Bakery. She specializes in gluten-free goods. She moved to Lansing when her husband took a job at Michigan State, which put her at a crossroads. As a former nonprofit executive, she knew she had to reinvent herself and that cooking is a family pastime. She combined her passion for cooking and for kids, and launched Sweet Encounter Kids. There are two components of her business: 1) a subscription cooking club, featuring recipes of the month, complete with step-by-step guides, culinary tips, STEM-based activities, dinner-conversation cards that help you learn more about your kids, and a utensil of the month component; and 2) cooking classes, which are educational beyond kitchen basics. Students learn how to cut food safely, they learn about fractions and shapes, food science and experimentation. Kids Culinary Academy is all about food, family and fun. Nikki discussed how to make and flavor ice cream, and demonstrated how to make a quesadilla. Nikki plans to open a storefront and offer classes in the Hallmark Building on Washington Square. She was an absolute delight. For more information or to subscribe to recipe boxes, visit
Questions from Rotarians
1. What age groups are the cooking classes geared toward? Ages 4 to 14.
2. Are there different boxes or recipes for the different ages? They all get the same recipe, but they can be adapted for age appropriateness. Parents may need to assist with some tasks, depending on age and ability.
3. What did you think about the LBTL contest itself? What advice would you give the organizers and potential sponsors that happened to give? Overall, things went really smoothly the first year. We got the information that we needed. There were a couple of bumps in the road, but nothing we couldn’t control. For example, things happened with the videos and the videographer, but it all worked out. I would add an accountant as a sponsor. We had so many great sponsors, but accounting is really important – I needed someone who could help me with accounting, getting Quick Books set up and making sure that I know what I’m doing so I’m prepared for taxes. I loved that there was such a variety of sponsors and that pretty much everything you need to be successful for your first year in business was literally handed to you – from a lawyer to marketing support to the Downtown Lansing Inc. helping out, to LEAP and the grant that you’re able to get, and MEDC – all these different people that I’ve spoken with who helped give me ideas and resources, so I feel like, overall, that was really amazing. Making sure we had a business plan, making sure we did projections. All of those things are key. Several of the sponsors I talked to said, what set me apart was that I really understood the business side – I wanted to have a great business, but I also had to look at my expenses and look at all these other factors. We had mentors. For the future, it would be helpful to have a workshop to help people with their business plans.
4. The FRIB has a program called PANcakes. Would you be interested in collaborating? Yes! I love collaborating. It’s one of the things I really value. I’m already having a conversation with the Boys and Girls Club about growing their own food. We have a personal garden at home, and my kids love it. They eat more fruits and vegetables. They love picking the vegetables from the garden, and making something with the harvest. I want to do that with intercity kids, where they can grow, and make their own food and enjoy it.
5. Would you put a link in the chat box for the subscription? It’s
6. Are the classes just for kids, or can adults go too? We will have some parent classes like Mommy & Me and Daddy & Me. We’re going to have Family Fun Fridays, where families can come together – again, something you’ll have to register and pay for online. It’ll be available once the storefront opens, and it’ll be made up of three to four families. You make the food together. I’m envisioning this really big table where we all can sit together, once COVID is in the past. We can enjoy those conversation cards with people you don’t know, like Dinner With Twelve Strangers – that concept of bringing people together from different areas, sit down and break bread together. I’ll have kids cooking classes by day, sprinkle in a couple of adult classes by night. We’ll have a couple of date nights, a couple of girls’ or guys’ nights – different things for the adults. As a mom, I want to have time with me and my girlfriends, and me and my husband. I want to cater to those who take care of kids as well as those who don’t have kids.
7. Are you working with other nonprofits that support low to moderate-income families? Yes. Boys and Girls Club, and Family and Kids Charities. I worked with Peckham and at-risk girls.
8. To anyone looking to start their own business what’s the best advice you have for them (adjusting realities, following dreams)? And how did your past nonprofit, communication and education experience influence your desire and ability to make this a reality? You need to plan to start a business. You have an idea, and that’s great, but you need to put your idea to work. Talk to people, get all types of resources, talk to other business owners, read books, get to the Small Business Center in Lansing. How well you can flesh out your idea and get passionate about it is important. When you talk about it, everyone else should get excited about it. As a nonprofit, you have to work with the bare minimum. You have to hustle and work. You have to want it and work hard for it, and keep in mind your purpose. Your brand is everything. Establish a strong brand. Your brand must be consistent; something that anchors you in your business.
9. You’ll be down the road from LCC. I’d love to connect you to our foster program. We are currently teaching foster students cooking basics. Awesome! My kids are in the background saying, “Cool!” I’ve always looked at adopting a child. I have a heart for kids in the foster care system and for kids who don’t have permanent homes, so yes.
President Julie thanked Nikki and invited her to discuss a complementary Rotary membership. She thanked Michelle for introducing us to Nikki. A donation will be made to our foundation in both of their names.
Next Friday: We’ll meet from 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. in Rotary Park.
Lolo Robison's email is: 
Jun 18, 2021
Jun 25, 2021
Jul 02, 2021
Jul 16, 2021
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Rotary Club of Lansing
P. O. Box 13156
Lansing, MI   48901-3156
Meeting Responsibilities
June Birthday Chair
Heriford, Nick
Sanborn, Diane
Swope, Chris
Chair of the Month
Baumer, Nicole
Chair of the Day