2022 03 15 | Host: Calvin Reich | Imagine Rotary
Mar 15, 2022
President Elect Calvin Reich entertained us with Rotary’s historical trivia. The first meeting included four Chicago businessmen, in 1905. Over their first few meetings, they discussed several names for their group, including “Men with Friends, Blue Boys, Round Table & Conspirators,” before choosing Rotary. Early club members paid no dues, but supported their clubs through fines! For the first two years, Rotary was all about fellowship & networking; community service came in year three. The first five clubs were in Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland & Seattle. Sixteen clubs met at the first Rotary convention in 1910. An enthused member suggested they set a goal of having 1,000 clubs within 80 years – that goal was met in 11 years. In 1911, the Chicago Rotary Club budgeted $25.44 to distribute 2,000 copies of the "National Rotarian." In 1912, the Los Angeles club contributed $4,000 toward a proposed coast to coast highway. The first “international” Rotary club was Winnipeg, formed in 1912. The Rotary Youth Exchange program started in 1921, followed by Youth Leadership Awards in 1959. During his 1969 Apollo 11 mission, astronaut Buzz Aldrin left a Rotary 4-Way Test pin on the moon. In California, the first women were admitted to Rotary in 1978. In 1987, a unanimous decision of the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Rotary clubs may not exclude women – within three years, 20,000 women had joined; today, about 23% of members worldwide are female; on July 1st of this year, Canadian Jennifer Jones will be the first female President of Rotary International. RI has donated over US$200m to meet the Gates Foundation 2 to 1 matching grant program, in support of polio eradication.
Calvin finished his talk by asking each of us “Where do we see Rotary in 11 or 80 years?”