3/27/14 meeting: ‘Gapminder,’ a tool for Rotary?

Picture 3Meeting at Quigley’s Restaurant
593 Columbia Turnpike
East Greenbush


Attending (12):
Bill Dowd, Murray Forth, Pat Bailey, Jim Leyhane, A.J. Amato, Jim Mendrysa, Carole Spencer, Len Leonidas, Dick Drumm, Rommel Tolentino, Roberto Martinez, Charlie Foote.

Guests: None.


Program: “Gapminder,” an Evidence Base for Rotary


Screen shot 2014-03-28 at 1.49.36 PM

Len Leonidas’ program was based on Gapminder, a program created by Hans Rosling, a Swedish professor, that assembles statistics from reputable organizations worldwide and puts them into interactive format that allows study in numerous areas.

He noted that in his medical practice he balances the work with the scientific data available to him. Indeed, everything is based on data, from a child learning to take its first steps to major corporations using statistics to create actions. He related the analysis and use of data to our efforts as Rotarians making decisions to create and/or support efforts to improve lives of people around the globe.

Using collected data, he said, we can show how successful we are or where work needs to be done. He showed a brief video of Bill Gates explaining how he looks for input for his foundation’s philanthropic endeavors. He also showed a two-minute video called “River of Myths” about childhood deaths in developing countries from 1963 through 2012, and how places we once thought were the worst actually have shown some improvement.

Len manipulated the Gapminder charts to show how users can access information on such topics as lifespans, poverty levels, annual incomes, health care usages, population trends, and many more topics, changing the X-Y coordinates on each to show different aspects of the subjects.

He said that after downloading free charts we might be able to use them to  find information that would help us solve a problem or decide where we can put our money for the best effect. As he observed, sometimes the answers are surprisingly simple.

Gapminder sounds like a fascinating opportunity to learn more about the world and ways we might be able to help Rotary improve lives. It was noted that actually being able to spend some time with the charts beyond simply seeing them in a brief program presentation would be helpful.


Announcements/Business:

MEMBERSHIP:
President-elect Bill Dowd, presiding in the absence of the president, led members in welcoming Roberto Martinez back to Rotary membership as of tonight.

SIMULATED GOLF TOURNAMENT: Event co-coordinator Murray Forth reported that this Saturday’s event at Burden Lake Country Club has only a few slots remaining. He said the plan is to move the event to February next year, when weather no doubt will be worse and indoor golf will be even more appealing. This is the first-ever such fundraiser for the club. Part of the proceeds will benefit Ronald McDonald House.

THIRD-QUARTER GOAL: Bill reminded attendees that we are near the end of the third quarter of the Rotary Year. That means March 31 is the deadline for contributing items to Circles of Mercy in Rensselaer, which has been our quarterly goal. A number of members have been very generous with donations of clothing, household items and the like to the charitable organization’s Cate’s Closet store.

EASTER BASKETS: Event coordinator Len Leonidas said numerous donations have been made for our project to provide baskets for Circles of Mercy’s “Cate’s Kids Easter Baskets” push. Len and his Tiger Cub Scouts will assemble the baskets and deliver them.

ONGOING FUNDRAISERS: Murray noted we still have Hoffman’s Car Wash tickets for sale and that this is a perfect time of year to move them at $100 for 11 washes. All sales go directly to our club treasury. … Bill thanked members for their ongoing generosity to the “Pocket Change for Autism” weekly collection. Donations will be totaled at the end of the Rotary Year and a donation made.


NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, April 3, at Quigley’s restaurant.


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