The importance of the Craft Talk!

Every club has speakers…..some good, others we wish had ended up at the Lions Club in error. Vocational Service starts at home with our own clubs! How can we be examples to others if we don’t tune ourselves up first while at the same time…..nourishing our own roots as Rotarians? One of the best things I have taken away from Rotary meetings at other clubs……has been listening to members give craft talks. Giving a craft talk is an art……however being on the receiving end can and is one of the most enlightening things a Rotarian can experience.

Every club has a gold mine of members that can speak about the craft they participate in ……the history, changes, trends, advantages, problems and opportunities. Sharing this information with fellow members is very much the backbone of Rotary and where it started. When a member gives a craft talk…..a lot goes through the minds of the audience. After hearing a Craft Talk given at a club, here were some thoughts:

1) This was not a “dull” meeting that members showed up for, this was a vibrant engaging meeting that members were involved in. I’ll bet that everyone in that room thought about that meeting for many days afterward…..the content, the way it was said … but most importantly the depth and understanding of the vocation that the craft talk was explaining.

2) I for one started thinking …… this guy could be an incredible mentor for a young person that might want to both know about and/or move into the insurance industry. What an opportunity for a Rotarian to be able to really make a difference in a young life……and at the same time help to “breed” integrity in his field.

3) There is a such a difference between the typical
“Whom am I” that a lot of members give either when they are inducted into a club or asked to speak about themselves and the true craft talk.

Not only does the craft talk engage the other members… is imparting information that they would otherwise never be exposed to. The craft talk also puts the member presenting in a new professional light that the other members never saw shining on this member. Additionally skill sets that the presenter has in a particular field…may very well benefit the club in ways that the rest of the membership never even dreamed of to help on projects, club leadership, youth services etc. These skill sets never would have been discovered by the rest of the club, district etc. had the craft talk never taken place.

All new members need to be in gear and engaged from the moment they are inducted…..otherwise when the clutch is let out……they are in neutral, go nowhere, get bored and leave Rotary. What better method of getting members (long time and new) to expose their skill set than a craft talk. Off premise and occasional meetings that deviate from the normal club meeting schedule are a breath of fresh air…..and bring us back to where Rotary started 110 years ago……They certainly got it right then……maybe we can all re-visit our Rotary roots and learn a great deal.

Think about it…..


Rotary is Serving Humanity!

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteers dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges.
• Rotary harnesses the strength of 1.2 million professional and community leaders from more than 200 countries and areas to help families in need.
• From local food pantries to clean water and maternal health, Rotary clubs join forces to carry out effective and sustainable projects at home and abroad.
• Rotary provides a platform for successful men and women of all ethnicities, faiths, and cultures to make the world a better place through volunteer service.

Rotary’s top philanthropic goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.
• Rotary and its partners are close to eradicating polio, having achieved a 99.9 percent reduction in cases since 1988. It would become the only human disease other than smallpox to be eradicated.
• Rotary’s chief role is fundraising, advocacy, and mobilizing volunteers.
• Rotary members have contributed more than $1.5 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect more than 2 billion children in 122 countries from polio.
• Rotary is working to raise an additional $35 million per year through 2018 for polio eradication, to be matched 2 to 1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Rotary builds peace and international understanding through education and humanitarian service and by developing young leaders.
• More than 900 graduates of the Rotary Peace Centers master’s degree program are in key decision-making positions in governments, corporations, and organizations around the world.
• Rotary’s humanitarian projects help prevent the underlying causes of conflict, such as poverty, illiteracy, and a lack of clean water.
• Rotary’s Youth Exchange program fosters international goodwill by enabling 8,000 high school students to live and study abroad each year in 115 countries.
• Rotary’s two adjunct organizations — Interact and Rotaract — develop young leaders by promoting volunteer service, leadership, and professional development.

What’s Rotary?

What’s Rotary?

As the new Rotary year begins on July 1, I am really excited to be an Assistant Governor for my District and to be the Rotary Foundation Chair for my club during the Rotary Serving Humanity year. It is especially meaningful to be the Rotary Foundation Chair during this centennial year of the Rotary Foundation. Let’s Celebrate! It is a time to reflect on What’s Rotary?

The essence of Rotary is defined by 3 concepts: Friendship, Service, and Integrity. Rotary is a volunteer organization of 1.2 million business and professional leaders united world wide to provide humanitarian service and help build goodwill and peace. About 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas conduct projects to address today’s challenges – including illiteracy, disease, hunger, poverty, lack of clean water, and environmental concerns – while encouraging high ethical standards in all vocations.

Rotary International’s CODE OF POLICIES provides the following Mission Statement of Rotary International: Rotary provides service to others, promotes integrity, and advances world understanding, goodwill, and peace through our fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders. The Board of Rotary International has adopted “core values” as part of the strategic plan of Rotary International: Service, Fellowship, Diversity, Integrity, and Leadership.

As the worlds largest private provider of international scholarships, The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International helps more than 1,000 students annually to study abroad and serve as cultural ambassadors. Rotary also partners with seven prestigious universities around the world, providing opportunities to earn a master’s degree in peace and conflict resolution.

PolioPlus is Rotary’s flagship program. By the time polio is eradicated, Rotary club members will have contributed US$850 million and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than two billion children in 122 countries. Rotary is a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, along with the World Health Organization, UNICEF and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Founded in Chicago in 1905 as the world’s first volunteer service organization, Rotary quickly expanded around the globe. Today, club members meet weekly to plan service projects, discuss community and international issues, and enjoy fellowship. Clubs are nonpolitical and open to every race, culture and creed.

Why am I a Rotarian?

Being a Rotarian provides a wonderful opportunity to make friends, to participate in a wide variety of humanitarian projects that benefit my local community and our world, and to network with community leaders and business people who demonstrate high ethical standards. Being a Rotarian has allowed me to know the satisfaction which comes from knowing that somewhere, someone needed my help, and that I took the time to do something. Meetings are surprisingly fun and on very diverse topics. Being a Rotarian helps me become a better person and makes the quality of my own life just a little richer and more meaningful. The following reasons “Why I am a Rotarian” are based on reasons presented by Richard D. King, Rotary International President 2001-02, which resonate with me.

1. Opportunity to Serve: As a service club, Rotary’s business is mankind and its product is service. This is perhaps the best reason for becoming a Rotarian: the chance to do good.

2. Friendship / Fellowship / Community: In an increasingly complex world, Rotary provides one of the most basic human needs: the need for friendship and fellowship. It is one of two reasons why Rotary began in 1905.

3. Business Development: The second original reason for Rotary’s beginning is business development. Everyone needs to network. Rotary consists of a cross-section of every business community. Its members come from all walks of life. Rotarians help each other and collectively help others.

4. The Development of Ethics: Rotarians practice a ‘Four-Way Test’ that governs our ethical standards. The Four-Way Test for Rotarians reminds us that high ethical standards never go out of style. Rotarians are expected to be ethical in business and personal relationships.

5. Personal Growth and Development: Membership in Rotary ensures continuing growth and education in human relations and personal development.

6. Leadership Development: Rotary is an organization of leaders and successful people. Serving in Rotary positions is guaranteed to strengthen anyone’s leadership skills. Leadership is all about learning how to motivate, influence and lead others and this happens in Rotary.

7. Continuing Education: Each week at Rotary, there is a program designed to keep members informed about what is going on in the community, nation and world. Each meeting provides an opportunity to listen to different speakers on a variety of timely topics.

8. Citizenship in the Community: Membership in a Rotary club helps develop better community citizens. The average Rotary club consists of some of the most active citizens of any community.

9. Citizenship in the World: Every Rotarian wears a pin that says “Rotary International.” There are few places on the globe that do not have a Rotary club. Every Rotarian (over 1.22 million) is welcome – even encouraged – to attend any of the 35,000 clubs in over 200 nations and geographical regions. This encourages new friendships in both local and world communities.

10. Prestige: Rotary members are prominent people: leaders of business, the professions, art, government, sports, military, religion, and all disciplines. Rotary is the oldest and most prestigious service club in the world. Its ranks include executives, managers, and professionals – people who make decisions and influence policy.

11. Travel: Traveling Rotarians can meet fellow Rotarians throughout the world. Opportunities like international conventions, participation in vocational training teams, and international grants provide the chance to see the Rotary world.

12. Public Speaking Skills: Many individuals who joined Rotary were uncomfortable about speaking in public. Rotary develops confidence and skill in public communication and the opportunity to practice and perfect these skills.

13. Development of Social Skills: Every week and at various events and functions, Rotary develops one’s personality, social skills and people skills. Rotary is for people who like people.

14. Vocational Skills: Every Rotarian is expected to take part in the growth and development of his or her own profession or vocation; to serve on committees and to teach youth about jobs or vocations. Rotary helps to make each individual a better doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc.

15. Entertainment: Every Rotary club and district has parties and activities that contribute to a diverse, yet professional business life. Rotary holds conferences, conventions, assemblies, and institutes that provide entertainment in addition to Rotary information, education, and service.

16. Family Programs: Rotary provides one of the world’s largest youth exchange programs; high school and college clubs for future Rotarians; opportunities for spouse involvement; and a host of activities designed to help family members in growth and the development of family values.

17. Cultural Awareness: Around the world, practically every religion, country, culture, race, creed, political persuasion, language, color and ethnic identity is represented among members of Rotary. Rotary is a cross section of the world’s most prominent citizens who are aware of their cultures and have developed a love of working with people everywhere. They become better citizens of their countries in the process.

18. Nice People: Rotarians are the nicest people on the face of the earth.

19. Fun: Rotary is a fun and exciting place to be.

20. Absence of an Official Creed: Rotary has no secret handshake, no official creed, no secret meetings or rituals. It is an open society of men and women who simply believe in helping others.

History of Rotary

As my year as President of the Rotary Club of Palm Springs ends and “Light Up Rotary” comes to an end, I have found it interesting to rediscover the history of Rotary.

Invited to dinner by a fellow attorney, Paul Harris is inspired to start an organization where men of different professions could gather in fellowship. He spends some five years considering this possibility.

1 Club

First gathering, on Thursday evening, 23 February 1905 in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. by attorney Paul P. Harris. Young Harris, fresh from a wild five years as a reporter, actor, cowboy, seaman, granite salesman, fruit picker and hotel clerk, five years building a successful law practice, then had an idea. It was regarding observations of success and respect which could come from organizing professional acquaintances. More years past. He had given this much thought by the time he and Silvester Schiele walked over to Gus Loehr’s office, in Room 711 that cold winter night in 1905, almost 9 years from his arrival in Chicago. Several weeks later, Schiele was elected the first president of Rotary when the meeting was held in his office. Harris suggested several names, one of them being “Rotary.”


Members agree to be on “first name” basis. Singing introduced by Harry L. Gurgles. Rotary “Wagon Wheel” emblem adopted, the first of many varieties of “wheel emblems” to be used by different clubs, until 1912, when a geared wheel History of the Rotary Wheelwas adopted, this to be follow by authorization of an official emblem (1924), a wheel of six spokes, twenty-four cogs, and a “keyway.”


First community service project: a “public comfort station” in Chicago near City Hall for men and women. Harris writes that he was pressured by both the saloon keepers and lady’s garment stores not to install such a convenience.


2 Clubs

San Fransisco Second club formed in San Francisco California, U.S.A. by businessman Homer Wood. Paul Harris had asked Chicago Rotarian, Manuel Munoz, who was being sent to San Francisco by his employer, to “spread the word” about Rotary. The timing was perfect. San Francisco businessmen needed a boost. It has been just two years since the devastating earthquake of 1906 which nearly destroyed the city.


7 Clubs

Homer WoodsHomer Wood then organized Oakland, California, USA #3, Seattle, Washington, USA #4 and Los Angeles, California, USA #5 by the end of 1909. Two days after Christmas, Seattle #4 organized Tacoma, Washington, USA #8. It was an answer to Paul Harris’s prayers. Rotary was an idea that could be taken to many cities.

1910 William Morrow San Francisco Rotarian William Stuart Morrow becomes an unlikely figure in Rotary history. His San Francisco business dissolves and he returns home to Dublin, Ireland and brings Rotary with him. He organizes several clubs in Ireland and the UK He has the full the endorsement of Paul Harris and Ches Perry, until he runs afoul of London Rotarians.


16 Clubs

Chesley PerryFirst Rotary convention was held in Chicago, 15-17 August, with sixteen clubs in Rotary. The National Association of Rotary Clubs was formed. Paul Harris was elected president of the Association and served two terms. Chesley R. Perry began 32 years of service as Secretary, then General Secretary of Rotary from 1910-1942.
1910 Rotary “principles” adopted in form of five objectives
1910 Rotary becomes “international” on 3 November 1910 with the “organization” of Rotary Club of Winnipeg, Canada. Winnipeg then was chartered as Club #35 on 13 April 1912 prior to the Duluth, Minnesota USA convention when Rotary become the International Association of Rotary Clubs.
1910 Jean ThomsonMr & Mrs Paul HarrisPaul becomes a founding member of the Prairie Club of Chicago. On one of the club’s early hikes a beautiful young woman from Edinburgh, Scotland points out a tear in his jacket and offers to fix it. Jean Thomson and Paul Harris were married several months later. In two years he bought her a large home and they named their home after a road in Edinburgh, “Comely Bank.” There they started their life long friendship garden.

31 Clubs

Convention in Portland. 15 new clubs had joined the ranks of NARC. Many others were organized and “doing” business as those in the United Kingdom were. The following is from Rotary International news andinfo/ presscenter/regnews/euromide/index.html “Rotary spread like wildfire across the Atlantic to Ireland, Great Britain, continental Europe, and the Middle East. Six years after Chicago lawyer Paul Harris formed the first Rotary club in 1905, Rotary admitted the Rotary Club of Dublin, Ireland, followed in 1912 by clubs in Belfast and London and Manchester, England. Harry Lauder was one among many Europeans who embraced Rotary in those early days. As one of the world’s most popular entertainers through the first half of the century, Lauder joined the Rotary Club of Glasgow in 1914. A year later he wrote, ‘Rotary is going to be the greatest and grandest cooperative institution ever founded.'”
1911 The National Rotarian magazine was born with General Secretary Ches Perry as the editor
1911 At the 1911 convention in Portland, the Rotary Club of Seattle proposes a platform that becomes the Rotary platform

Today’s platform is much the same.

“He Profits Most Who Serves Best” is also part of that platform


50 Clubs meet in Duluth with delegates from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and the organization becomes “The International Association of Rotary Clubs.” London joins the same year as the 50th club. 5,000 members. Paul Harris is named President emeritus.


First districts (then called divisions) are established, 8 in U.S.A., 2 in Canada, one in Britain and Ireland.

By year’s end there were 54 Clubs


89 Clubs
During 18-21 August of 1913, 930 Rotarians gathered in Buffalo, NY, USA for the fourth convention. The charter process catches up with six UK clubs. See Ireland-UK & Archives

Rotary contributes $25,000 active relief funds to help flood victims in Ohio/Indiana


100th Club
The 100th club of the International Association of Rotary Clubs is formed on 1 March in Phoenix, AZ, USA. However, on that particular Sunday, and only that one day in March, there was not one qualified application but six. There is no record of how #100, of the six (#100 – 105) was determined from that selection.

1914 Convention

123 Clubs

15,000 Rotarians
22-26 June and 1,288 Rotarians make the long journey to Houston, TX, USA. Rotarian Henry Brunier of San Francisco and his wife “Ann” boarded a special train for the convention. Since Ann was the only woman on the train for most of the trip, the other Rotarians began calling her “Rotary Ann”. In Houston the Bruniers met Guy and Ann Gundaker of Philadelphia. Soon the name “Rotary Ann” belonged to Guy’s wife as well. The term “Rotary Ann” lasted until the late 1980’s. Gundaker was RIP 1923-24.
1914 War – British Clubs involved in relief work e.g., housing Belgian refugees
1915 The term “Governor” is established for districts. Columbus, GA., U.S.A. is Charter #200
1916 El Club Rotario de la Habana, capital of Cuba. First club in a non-English speaking country.

Arch KlumphIn 1917, Arch C. Klumph, Rotary’s sixth president, proposed to the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the creation of an “endowment fund for Rotary . . . for the purpose of doing good in the world in charitable, educational, and other avenues of community service.” A few months later, the endowment received its first contribution of $26.50 from the Rotary Club of Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Also at the 1917 convention: Klumph insisted that the District Governors know the International Constitution and be acquainted with Rotary history.
1917 Club #300 Huntington, Ind., U.S.A.
1918 Club #400 Fort Scott, Kans., U.S.A. 40,000 members world-wide.
1918 One of the less well known Rotary Clubs and, indeed, one that was never chartered was the ALLIED ROTARY CLUB OF FRANCE. Before he left the United States for Europe in the later days of world war one, Ancil Brown, the secretary of the Indianapolis RC and auditor for the YMCA, was authorized by the Board of the IARC to arrange regular meetings for Rotarians stationed in Paris or its vicinity.
1919 First Rotary Club in Asia is chartered in Manila.

Cornelia HarrisPaul Harris’s mother, Cornelia Bryan Harris dies in Denver, Colorado. Paul had spent very little time with his parents who never seemed to be able to keep their family together. It was Paul’s grandfather whose quiet generosity maintained his parents. Paul’s father, George, never very successful in life, is vigilant as his wife’s caretaker at the end of her life.

Club #500 Fremont, Nebr., U.S.A.

1921 Club #1000 York, England. Rotarians James W. Davidson, of Calgary, and J. Layton Ralston of Halifax, appointed as commissioners to organize clubs in Australia and New Zealand.
The International Association of Rotary Clubs is shortened to Rotary International.

While not affiliated directly with Rotary, The Inner Wheel organization commenced in England in 1924 with members being the wives of Rotarians. Their emblem is the Wheel inside the (Rotary) wheel.

1925 Club #2000 Ketchikan, Alaska D5010
1926 George HarrisAt the age of 84, George Harris, Paul’s father dies in Denver, Colorado. Having finally inherited his mother’s estate he could continue his life’s practice of inventions and schemes that never succeeded. Paul Harris wrote that he cherished one fond memory of how his father cared for his mother in her final years. We as Rotarians, should be thankful to Paul’s grandfather, Howard Harris and his grandmother, Pamela Harris without whom there is no doubt Paul’s genius would not have found its “Road to Rotary.”
1928 Paul Harris AutobiographyPaul Harris’s signature is all that is seen on the cover of his 1928 autobiography “The Founder of Rotary,” with a forward by RI General Secretary Chesley R. Perry. Portions of this rare book are displayed here for Rotarians to read.

1928 Paul Harris journalHarris’s tour of Europe is described in his personal journal


Herbert Taylor Rotary four way test4-Way Test was formulated by Chicago Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor who, in the summer of 1932 had a serious business problem. How he solved it is a legend of Rotary. In 1968 Taylor wrote: “I leaned over my desk, rested my head in my hands, and prayed. After a few moments, I looked up and reached for a white paper card. Then I wrote down the twenty-four words that had come to me: “Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build good will Rotary four way billboard and better friendships? Will if be beneficial to all concerned?” The “Four Way Test” was adopted by Rotary International in January of 1943

1932 Paul Harris diary Paul Harris’s unpublished diary of his journey to Europe in 1932, during which time he planted “Friendship Trees” in many European cities.

Hear Paul Here! In 1933, Rotary International held its 24th convention in Paul Harris “on the air” speaks to non-Rotarians, who he says may be “Rotarians in their hearts.” Boston, MA, USA, from 26-30 June with 8,430 in attendance. Rotary’s president was from Albuquerque, NM. General Secretary was Chesley Perry. Paul Harris remained active as president emeritus. During the convention, a radio broadcast was arranged heard “around the world” and addressed to “non-Rotarians.” Perry introduced Harris who told his audience “of the air” that if they have “Love of ‘men’ in their heart,” then they are potential Rotarians! Now you can listen to a recording of this famous broadcast.

1935 Paul and Jean Harris travel to Hawaii, Japan, China, the Philippines, Australia, New Zealand and Canada attending conferences, planting “Friendship Trees,” and Paul writes a statement of international philosophy from Parramatta, Australia.
1935 Paul Harris writes his second autobiography, “This Rotarian Age,” this time mostly about the evolution of Rotary in the first 30 years of the organization.
1936 Club #4,000 Hanover, PA., U.S.A.
1939 Club #5,000 Rockmart, GA, U.S.A.

1941 March 3, 1941 Rotary Club of Palm Springs chartered by Paul Harris who visited Palm Springs in the winter and helped to start the club


“Ches” Perry retires as the first secretary of the National Association of Rotary and then Rotary International after serving over three decades. See tribute in The Rotarian

Seven Rotarians conferred honorary membership on General Douglas Macarthur, in a dark tunnel amongst wounded soldiers, prior to the fall of Corregidor.
1943 January, 1943 Adoption of the Four Way Test, written by Chicago Rotarian Herb Taylor: “Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build good will and better friendships? Will if be beneficial to all concerned?”


Rotary and the UNROTARY AND THE UNITED NATIONS: Forty-nine Rotarians help draft the United Nations Charter in San Francisco. Many of the delegates from around the world were also members of Rotary clubs. During his presidency, Dwight Eisenhower once said that Rotary was only second to the UN in its work for world peace and understanding.
1946 Paul Harris biographyAdventures in Service was first published in the last year of Paul Harris’s life, 1946. It continued to be updated and printed for many years. For The “History of Rotary” Project it constitutes a summary of our project in that it reflects the history and Rotary orientation of the “Paul Harris” years.

January 27 1947

Paul Harris After a many years of ill health, Rotary founder Paul Harris dies. Paul Harris was prominent in other civic and professional work. He served as the first chairman of the board of the National Easter Seal Society of Crippled Children and Adults in the USA and of the International Society for Crippled Children. He was a member of the board of managers of the Chicago Bar Association and its representative at the International Congress of Law at the Hague. He received the Silver Buffalo Award from the Boys Scouts of America for distinguished service to youth, and was decorated by the governments of Brazil, Chile, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, France and Peru.


Jean Harris

Paul’s widow, Jean Thomson Harris, suffers a nervous breakdown. Then, alone and childless, sold “Comely Bank” and lived in a Chicago hotel. Until 1955, she was involved in charity and philanthropy.

Also, in 1947 the first 18 Rotary Foundation scholarships were granted.

Paul Harris biography”My Road to Rotary,” the third book and second autobiography, written by Paul P. Harris is published. The first edition included 14 pages of highlights from 1905 – 1948. These were written for the publisher A. Kroch and Son, by Rotary International under the direction of Rotary’s second General Secretary, Philip Lovejoy.

In this book you’ll hear Paul tell how Rotary came to be. How he became the person who had the vision to create this great movement. It is the only way to understand the values of Rotary from the man who taught them.

1955 Rotary’s Golden Jubilee is celebrated on 23 February with much fanfare in Chicago. Then on May 29 through June 2, the 46th Convention again celebrates the 50th year of Rotary and features a last appearance by Rotary’s “First Lady.” Following the 50th anniversary convention (1955), held in Chicago, Jean Thomson Harris returned to Edinburgh.

1960 Chesney Perry Chesley Reynolds Perry, secretary of Rotary 1910-1942 dies 21 February 1960. Called the “Builder of Rotary” by founder Paul Harris.


First Interact club was formed by Melbourne, Florida U.S.A. Rotary Club. In August of 1962, Jean Harris attends a small reception for the 50th anniversary of RC of Edinburgh. RI president elect Carl P. Miller was in attendance. RC of Edinburgh kept in close touch with Mrs. Harris until her death. The club maintains signs and remembrances to this day.

Jean Harris, dies in Edinburgh, Scotland

Rotary Foundation launches Matching Grants and Group Study Exchange programs


Paul Harris biography”Paul Harris will forever be remembered as the founder of Rotary International.

This account of his life, the first to be published, makes fascinating reading and marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of Rotary, which today has nearly one million members in more than 150 countries.” James P. Walsh

Polio Plus Rotary announces PolioPlus program to immunize all the children of the world against polio
1987 US Supreme Court rules women can join be members of Rotary

Council on Legislation changes the constitution and MOP to include women


Moscow Rotary Club Rotary Club of Moscow charted first ever club in then Soviet Union


Preserve Planet Earth Preserve Planet Earth program inspires some 2,000 Rotary-sponsored environmental projects

A re-birth of Paul and Jean Harris’s “Friendship Tree” good-will trips of the 30’s and forty’s results in the planting of hundreds of thousands of trees under the leadership of another “Paul” PRIP Paulo Costa, 1990-1991 Brazil (d2000)


Western Hemisphere declared polio-free
1997 Rotary returns to China, in Hong Kong
1999 Rotary Centres for International Studies in Peace and Conflict Resolution established
2000 (The “History of Rotary” Project) Website is organized 26 October 2000 by club #43 in Pueblo, Colorado USA

First provisional Rotary Club in Mainland China since WWII in Shanghai.


30,000th Rotary club chartered The “History of Rotary” Project establishes

Rotary returns to mainland China in Shanghai and Beijing
2003 The “History of Rotary” Project adds the “First Club” of each Rotary country to the project.

Following the convention in Brisbane, the Centennial Bell begins its journey to all of the “First 100 Clubs” of Rotary to conclude that tour at Chicago for the convention in 2005.

2005 23 February 2005: The Rotary Club of Chicago and Rotary International celebrate the centennial of the first meeting of four men whose gathering became a world wide movement. Rotary International convened the Centennial Convention 19-22 June 2005 in Chicago, Illinois, the birthplace of Rotary.


Rotary opens extension to China and Cuba (source Rotary International) Only four countries remain polio-endemic: Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan. Polio cases worldwide have dropped by 99 percent since 1985.


The Rotary Foundation celebrates the millionth Paul Harris Fellow by recognizing 34 individuals – one from each Rotary zone. The donors receive plaques and certificates honoring their contributions.


Rotary officially launches its effort to match a US$100 million challenge grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help eradicate polio.

In 2009, Rotary receives another grant of $255 million from the Gates Foundation and launches Rotary’s US$200 Million Challenge to match a portion of the grants and further support efforts to End Polio Now.


Rotary celebrates the 100th RI Convention in Birmingham, England. The event welcomes guest speakers Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, actress and UNICEF goodwill ambassador Mia Farrow, and renowned primatologist and humanitarian Dr. Jane Goodall.


The centennial of Rotary in Canada, and Rotary’s claim as an international organization. 2010 COL approves a Fifth Avenue of Service, eClubs become permanent, support recommended for Comely Bank, and more.

The contents of this project have been researched, collected, compiled and written by hundreds of Rotarians from around the world to preserve the history and underlying philosophies of Rotary. This is a “club service” project of Rotary districts, clubs and other Rotary organizations and enjoys the support of individual Rotarians, clubs, districts and zones all over the globe.


Rotary During the Holidays!

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.”
~ Buddha

During the holiday season, we hear from individuals, communities, and Rotary club members … who want to show and share with others. Embracing The Spirit of the Holiday Season with Your Rotary Family is uplifting and has been a real fun part of being the President for this Rotary year. The Rotary Club of Palm Springs is having many holiday activities this year to showcase and share with our members and the community.

At our last meeting we collected over $600 in food for the Well In Desert which helps to feed the homeless in our community. Year to date, our club has collected over $1,000 in food from club members for this important commmunity service.

The Sunday before Thanksgiving was the Thanksgiving social for members which is a pot luck style dinner. After the dinner was the exciting ‘White Elephant Gift Exchange’ game. The fellowship and fun with members, family and friends is a great way to begin the holiday season.

On December 2, our members, together with the Interact Club that we sponsor at the High School, put the lights on three Christmas trees in downtown Palm Springs. The following day, December 3, “Light Up Rotary” Day was held with the lighting of three Christmas trees in the middle of downtown to showcase Rotary to our community. A banner with the Light Up Rotary Logo and Rotary Club of Palm Springs is on display through out the holiday season. The Men’s Chorus performed songs for the holiday season. Following the event, the NBC news station reported, “The Palm Springs Rotary Club and PS Resorts partnered to bring a little holiday cheer to Village Green in Downtown Palm Springs. The tree lighting honors the charitable spirit of the Rotary Club, who has given more than $1 million dollars to charitable causes in the community.”

The Christmas trees are inspired by Rotary International’s theme “Light Up Rotary” and is being held as our club’s Rotary Day for our community. Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. The Rotary Club of Palm Springs, which was chartered in 1941, is comprised of leaders in the community who have joined together to perform many hours of community service to support local projects that favorably impact our community. These include projects such as a “Prom” for residents of Angel View Crippled Children Foundation, Elementary Christmas Book Giveaway, urgent care medical assistance for students with financial need, and leadership training and programs for elementary and high school students to name a few of their local charitable activities.

At our meeting on December 3, we had a Holiday Giving Tree for the clients of the local senior center. So many of our seniors rely on the Meals on Wheels program which we support, and so many of our seniors are alone and would like to have some Christmas cheer. We have the “Giving Tree” at our meeting with little wish notes from 25 seniors who could use a little cheer. Many will ask for sweaters, robes, socks and other necessities. We ask members to pick up a note from the tree, buy the gift requested, gift wrap it and return it to our next meeting with the senior’s name on it. The gifts are taken to the Senior Center for distribution. Being a Holiday Angel, helps to bring some holiday cheer into the seniors’ lives. Rotarians feel really good buying and wrapping a little gift and having a senior who they may never meet, enjoy the holidays.

On December 10 is the Christmas Book Giveaway. Two new books will be given to each student at one of the elementary schools. Over $15,000 in books for every student!

Also, on December 10 is the Holiday Auction. The goal is to raise $6,000 to help support the club’s community service projects. This is the primary club fundraiser for the year.

And the Holiday activities conclude on December 17. The lunch meeting will have a performance of holiday music from the High School choir.

The fast pace of modern life can make it hard to find the time to really appreciate the holidays. That’s why it is so important to get your holiday just right; the Rotary Club of Palm Springs will “Light Up Rotary”!

Ethics and the Four Way Test

At the March 10, 2014 Interact Meeting at the local high school I was the speaker for the meeting. It was a great chance to interact with the students and talk about a very important topic — ethics. During the remarks I had a discussion with the students on each part of the Four Way Test.

Below is a summary of my presentation.

Everyone needs a Code of Ethics that they can live with each day.

Since it was developed in 1932 by Herbert J. Taylor, who later became RI president, it has never ceased to be relevant. It consists of four brief questions that are not based on culture or religion. Instead, they are a simple checklist for ethical behavior. They transcend generations and national borders.

The Four Way Test of Rotary has endured so long because it teaches of the value of ethical actions within ourselves. The Four Way Test … which guide Rotarians in the things that we think, say, or do.

1. IS IT THE TRUTH? – . TRUTH is objective and sometimes bitter to confront. Nonetheless it is an inescapable TRUTH – that in the end we will all have to face the truth.

2. IS IT FAIR TO ALL CONCERNED? – A close ally to truth is fairness. The TRUTH is only a worthwhile objective if we use it fairly. Fairness itself can be a controversial and contested concept. But in simple parlance, it means treating everyone with equal concern and respect. Respect for one another is a key ingredient of the 4 Way Test.

3. WILL IT BUILD GOODWILL AND BETTER FRIENDSHIPS – this is the key to the Rotary way. It is our friendship that binds us in a common bond of service to humanity. That bond must be preserved at all times. Sometimes even at the expense of TRUTH. The TRUTH is the tool by which we are supposed to build goodwill and better friendships – not destroy it.

4. WILL IT BE BENEFICIAL TO ALL CONCERNED? This requires us to consider the value of truth within the context in which it is applied. We need to ask whether the context requires us to subjugate the truth to some other value like – kindness or compassion? There are situations where the truth is compromised or hidden in order to pursue a greater benefit. To blindly pursue TRUTH at any cost is not always the Rotary way. To do a greater good – compromise may be required.

Wisdom teaches us to value friendship and cherish it as does our 4 Way Test.

–Thomas Smith

Rotary and the Holiday Season




At this special time of year, I wanted to offer the following 

Dear Almighy,

We are thankful for the opportunity of meeting together as 
 Rotarians: to enjoy our fellowship and reaffirm our commitment
 to honesty and high ethics in all we do.

We are thankful for the privilege of being Rotarians to exemplify
 Rotary ideal: to provide service to others, promote integrity,
 and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace.

We ask for Your continued blessings for us to make
 even greater contributions in serving our community, and
 be more prepared to implement Rotary's strategic priorities and 
 goals for the years to come.

Thank You.


Being An Active Rotarian

The Four-Way Test Of The Things We Think, Say or Do

The 2014-2015 Board of Directors for the Rotary Club of Palm Springs will be meeting for the first time following the ‘Holiday Lunch’ next week. One of the tasks for this meeting will be to elect the President Nominee for 2015-2016. On July 1 the new Rotary year will begin. In order to ensure that the our Club has an effective year for 2014-2015,  I sent a message to all Club members asking them ‘Are You Interersted?’

We are very fortunate in the Rotary Club of Palm Springs because we have some very active Rotarians that set an outstanding example for our Club’s membership.

Are you interested in becoming more active in your Rotary Club?

An active Rotarian is someone who cares about their community. Being an active Rotarian involves supporting your local community (or beyond). This can be done in a number of ways.

Being an active Rotarian is what you make of it! All you need is a desire to see your community change or improve and lots of enthusiasm.

I asked a number of people what they thought an active Rotarian was … here are some of the answers they gave:

‘Someone who gets involved’

‘Someone who gives back to their community’

‘An active Rotarian cares for others in their community, shows they can be involved and committed’

‘Active Rotarians are people who believe we all count, and individually and together, we can make a difference’

‘One who cares about their community and doesn’t just sit and wait – they do things’

Congressman Ruiz at Rotary Club

The speaker for the Rotary Club of Palm Springs on November 6, 2013 was Congressman Raul Ruiz, M.D.  He was a great speaker.  After his remarks he was presented a ‘Paul Harris Fellow’ to exemplify how much we appreciate and recognize Dr. Ruiz‘ contributions to humanity.

He expressed appreciation to Rotary and our Club in particular, for its remarkable record of community service, saying he was privileged to be with us, and emphasizing that we are “all in this together” to help our citizens.

Doctor Ruiz, was a practicing emergency room physician before being elected to Congress last November.  He emphasized his focus on–and the importance of–providing constituent services.  He said that he and his staff have opened 669 cases, and so far 504 have been resolved.  These cases have primarily involved such matters as jobs, VA surgeries, veterans benefit backlogs, immigration, IRS conflicts.  But the majority have centered on military veterans’ issues.  He serves on the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, and also the Committee on Natural Resources.  Congressman Ruiz discussed the launch of his “Veterans Initiatives.”  He sees his role is to serve people and solve problems, not only through legislation.  Among his priorities  is to launch a “Veterans’ University,” which will soon help in assisting veterans and providing them with access to more jobs and services.

He commented on the extreme Congressional “gridlock” in Washington, adding that he has been successful in working “across the aisle” in a bipartisan way to help veterans and their problems.

Dr. Ruiz discussed our mutual social responsibilities, and emphasized how important it is to “forget politics and partisanship” to accomplish these goals.

The day’s event was especially meaningful since I had spent months trying to get Congressman Ruiz confirmed as a speaker.  After meeting with him and his staff at a reception a few months ago, I was able to get a date where he would be the speaker.  He is a good example of Service above Self  with his work in Haiti, his work as an ER Doctor, and his support for so many difference causes in the Coachella Valley.  It was indeed an honor for him to be the speaker today.

Seeing all the smiles and watching all the folks that attended the meeting today was confirmation that the hours spent in scheduling this very busy Congressman was worthwhile.  The meeting was a HIT!!!!

Another highlight of the day was being presented the ‘Benefactor’ Certificate and “wings”.   The presentation was meaningful and will always be a memory that I cherish.    I was asked to “Wear them proudly!    They are a sign of commitment to The Rotary Foundation and willingness to step up through Rotary to perform miracles!”