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PAUR Launches Effort to Help Maui
September 5, 2023
By Jyotika RoyC

August 9, 2023, will remain forever etched in Hawaii history. Multiple fires broke out across the island of Maui, the aftermath of which left the beautiful and historical town of Lahaina completely destroyed, hundreds dead, hundreds still missing, and thousands displaced. The cost of rehabilitation is now estimated to be close to $6 billion.

To support the rebuild and rehabilitation efforts of the community, Rotarians of Hawaii have stepped forward. The Maui Fires Relief Fund  aims to provide immediate assistance and long-term recovery support to the people of Maui, as they navigate the path to rebuilding their lives and communities. The giving link is open to everyone!


To help raise funds, Hawaii Rotary District 5000 has reached out to other Rotary districts including District 5170 which, in turn, includes the Rotary Club of Palo Alto/University (PAUR).

To further encourage its membership and the local community to contribute to this fund, PAURPresident, Larry Christenson, has launched a special initiative. Under the promotion of “1 + 1 =3”, for every PAUR member donation of at least $100 along with a matching donation from an anon-Rotarian community member/friend of a similar amount, PAUR will contribute $100 to the Maui Fires Relief Fund. This promotion is open till October 15, 2023, and will be available to thefirst 50 donations.

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MAUI_FIRE_Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.jpg

Per Mr. Christenson, if PAUR members want to maximize the matching opportunity, they should ask a non-Rotarian friend to join them in donating to the Maui Fires Relief Fund and introduce them to Rotary. Community members may reach out to a friend in PAUR to donate together, to avail of a similar match. They could also consider visiting the Club at one of their
weekly meetings at Sheraton Palo Alto on Friday mornings.


Rotary Club of Palo Alto/University invites residents of Bay Area to open their hearts and wallets to the citizens of Maui and help restore it to its previous glory. Your donations, no matter the size will make a difference in rebuilding lives and providing a better future.

To learn more about PAUR visit

This past summer, Mr. Cepeda interned at a local RotaCare Clinic in East Palo Alto. RotaCare Clinics, founded by community leaders and members of local Rotary International service clubs, provide free medical care to low-income people in the Bay Area. Mr. Cepeda shared his summer research findings with the Club and emphasized the need for healthcare in underserved communities. “Next steps,” he said, “include a pilot study that could help lead to a sustainable national RotaCare model.” He hopes to pursue a career as an MD-PhD at a research institution, mentoring new students in his lab, and directing free clinics to support underrepresented individuals.

About Rotary Global Grant Scholarships

These scholarships are awarded to the students focusing their careers in one of Rotary Foundation’s Seven Areas of Focus. The scholar’s course of study, for which they are already accepted by an academic institution, is directed toward supporting the mission of The Rotary Foundation and the Rotary International credo, “Service Above Self,” and to foster international understanding and relations among people of different nations. 

About the Rotary Foundation

The mission of The Rotary Foundation is to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty. As part of that mission, The Rotary Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, through Rotary International’s Member Rotary Clubs, has maintained one of the largest and lucrative scholarship programs of its kind since 1947.

To learn more about PAUR please visit 



Jyotika RoyC & Sophie Tsang

Palo Alto University Rotary


To Cambridge with a Rotary Global Grant Scholarship 

“Attending Cambridge University would not have been feasible without Rotary. It is an honor to receive this scholarship and to be recognized for my efforts in contributing to Rotary’s mission with my research in finding cures for autoimmune diseases,” states recipient Christian Cepeda.

Palo Alto, CA, August 4, 2023 - A Friday morning meeting for the members of the Rotary Club of Palo Alto/University (PAUR) was made special when Stanford graduate Christian Cepeda, 2023-24 Rotary Global Grant Scholar, was presented with a scholarship check of $30,000 from the Rotary Foundation. 

Mr. Cepeda is a worthy recipient. A Harvard-Amgen Scholar, Goldwater Scholar, a Hispanic Scholarship Fund Scholar, QuestBridge Scholar, Stanford NEUro Fellow, and a Caltech Wave Fellow, a commitment to research has been a constant in his career. 

He graduated from Stanford University in June with an undergraduate degree in Human Biology and a Concentration in Neuroimmunology. He is headed next to Cambridge University, UK, for a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) degree in Clinical Neurosciences, made possible by the Rotary Global Grant Scholarship. 











Club President Larry Christenson and Club Treasurer David MacKenzie presented the check and were joined by Dr. Noe Pablo Lozano, Co-Chair of Rotary District 5170 Global Scholarship Grant Committee. Dr. Lozano listed Christian’s many awards and said, “As a first generation, low-income student, this is phenomenal.” Dr. Lozano is Emeritus Associate Dean of Student Affairs at Stanford. 

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Photo L-R: Dick Levy, Ken Graham, Larry Christenson, Mary Chigos, Dr. Noe Lozano, Christian Cepeda, and David MacKenzie.

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