by CARMEN SIERING
Community activist Charlotte Zietlow has been a vital part of Bloomington since moving here in 1964 with her late husband, Paul. In recognition of her years of service, the three Bloomington Rotary clubs have selected Zietlow as their honoree at the seventh annual Bloomington Rotary Toast.
Zietlow, 86, is the first Rotarian to be selected, says Jim Bright, a toast committee member. He says she is the epitome of the Rotary motto of “service above self.”
“It’s a recognition that by working with other people, you can accomplish so much more,” Bright says.
Among her many accomplishments, Zietlow was the first female president of the Bloomington City Council and the Monroe County Board of Commissioners, has worked with and served on the boards of numerous area nonprofits, and was co-founder, with Marilyn Schultz, of the Goods for Cooks store. In the 1980s, Zietlow led the effort to save and restore the Monroe County Courthouse as well as a successful fight against a proposed local PCB incinerator.
Bright says the toast, which started in 2015, serves three purposes: to honor a special community member, to raise money for that person’s selected charity, and to enhance the image of Rotary in the community.
Half of the proceeds from the toast benefit the honoree’s chosen charity and half benefit local charitable causes championed by the three Rotary clubs. Zietlow’s charity is Habitat for Humanity. In its first six years, the toast has raised more than $250,000 for local charities.
The event, to be held on November 5 at Ivy Tech Community College–Bloomington’s Shreve Hall, 200 N. Daniels Way, will be emceed by former Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan. Individual tickets are $100. A livestream option is available for $25. “Last year, when we had to go online, other organizations simply sat out,” Bright says. “But we raised $50,000. This year, we’ll make it a hybrid event. Those $25 tickets add up, and it enables us to pull in a lot of people from outside the area.” For more information, visit rotarytoast.com.