On February 23rd, 1905, a young lawyer named Paul Harris met with a small group of his friends to propose a club for professionals and businessmen in Chicago. This club was later called the Rotary Club.
One hundred and fourteen years later Rotary has almost 1.2 million men and women members located in over 35,000 clubs world-wide.
Each Rotary Club is self-governing and focuses attention on local community concerns. Many of their projects are designed to meet the needs of their local community. In fact, some Rotary Clubs, such as the Rotary Club of Tryon, have their own Foundation. The Rotary Club of Tryon has sponsored for over 15 years the Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) Program at Polk Central Elementary School; annually, it awards over $20,000 in scholarships to local high school seniors seeking higher education. In Rotary Year 2017-2018, the Rotary Club of Tryon Foundation awarded over $39,000 in grants and awards — including local and international projects.
Each local Rotary Club is connected to all Rotary Clubs throughout the world through Rotary International. Since 1917 local clubs have participated in world projects through what became The Rotary Foundation (International). The first contribution to this entity was $26.50 from The Rotary Club of Kansas City in 1918. By 1954 The Rotary Foundation received contributions of one half million dollars in a single year.
By 1965 a million dollars was received in one year. In Rotary Year 2017-2018 contributions exceeded $304 million.
Rotarians connect people and solve problems. They transform communities around the world by providing students with opportunities to become tomorrow’s leaders, by providing clean water to communities, by protecting vulnerable children from polio and by responding to natural disasters. They promote healing and peaceful resolution of problems in a troubled world. For further information, contact Fred Hartley, President of the Rotary Club of Tryon, at 423-341-4965.
Happy Birthday, Rotary!