Matt Ball
President's Message
June 24, 2021

Dear LA5 Rotarians,

As I look back on this extraordinarily unique Rotary year, it gives me pause as I reflect upon some of the things that have made this a very memorable time.  

I marvel at how we never stopped holding our regular, weekly Rotary meetings.  The virtual Zoom format not only kept us united, communicating and planning on how to apply “service above self,” but it helped us to realize that we could pivot our processes, adapt and recalibrate the systems that helped to keep us relevant and effective.  

One of the brightest reflections came from LA5 operating with a positive cashflow this year.  Without struggling to meet a regular attendance quota at the California Club—for lunch meetings—our positive financial status has given us the freedom to make better budgetary decisions.  This financial bumper has also allowed us to set up next year’s technical format for hybrid meetings and give us the freedom to meet both on-line and in-person.  

In addition to our operating budget, our Foundation corpus grew to over 10 million dollars, making it even more possible for LA5 to be the philanthropic donor it was intended to be.  Case in point was the re-upping of our $260,000 Scholarship Program this year.  In addition, we awarded $50,000 in vocational scholarship money to the Urban League’s, BACKSTAGE CAREERS, thereby taking our total scholarship commitment this year to over $310,000.  

Under the intense Covid restrictions, LA5-er’s were able to say thank you to some of the front-line workers by providing lunches and prepared food on various days.  Similarly, State Senators partnered with LA5 and The Salvation Army to distribute over 30 thousand pounds of food to the underserved communities in South Los Angeles.  And in case we were perceived as isolated or uninvolved, bear in mind that LA partnered with Working Wardrobes to provide thousands of articles of new clothing to the military families at Camp Pendleton on two occasions.  

As we have expressed to all of our kids anytime they are in a funk, the cure for discouragement or self-pity, or just frustration with the hand we’ve been dealt, the cure is to get out and serve in the community. To help enable Rotarians to perform that community service, we will end our year the same way we began it: with a virtual, on-line fundraising concert, this time to support our community service fund.  Through the donation of individual songs from recognized performers, we hope to inspire all of you—and especially those considering whether to engage, or remained engaged with us, Rotary LA5 really is a cause worthy of your involvement.

A special thanks goes out to my Executive Committee this year and for each one of our Division Leaders.  It is those relationships and the resulting work we were able to perform together that has made this a very unexpected but rewarding year…more so than I could have ever imagined.

Thank you for trusting me at the helm of the year 2020-2021.  It’s been a labor of love.

Without regrets,

Matt Ball
Matt Ball, President, LA5

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