Are you Proudly Rotarian?

Members of the Rotary Club of Sunyani Central, Ghana, hold a polio day rally.

By Frank Kofi Owusu Debrah, Foundation Chair and Past President of the Rotary Club of Sunyani Central, Ghana

It is certainly true that the reasons for a person joining Rotary are varied and many. For some, it’s the personal and business networking that motivates them. For others, it’s fellowship and a sense of belonging to a world-wide organization of people. Still for others, it’s a status symbol. Whatever the reasons, everyone has one. Sadly, some of the reasons don’t fit Rotary’s primary purpose; a network of problem solvers living the mantra of Service Above Self.

Networking for professional and personal development is laudable, so is the quest for social recognition through association with entities that have an impact, and so is an opportunity to travel around the world to Rotary events. My fear is that the essence and core responsibility of being a Rotarian is being lost on many around the world, at least from my club.

Many of us travel on expensive budgets to Rotary events, yet we have not contributed a single cent to The Rotary Foundation where our investment into communities around the world comes from. I simply cannot comprehend this and I am certain that there are many of us thinking alike.

However, it is obvious that there are also many who do not feature the Foundation in their budget priorities, and that, whether they donate or not to the Foundation, they consider themselves a Proud Rotarian as long as they pay dues. This must change. Privileges come with responsibilities whether voluntary or compulsory. Whoever enjoys the privileges has an inherent moral obligation to live the responsibilities as well.

It is unbelievable that many clubs struggle to have members offering themselves up for leadership, club service, community service, and even participation in club meetings, projects, and other events. Being Proudly Rotarian is not just an empty accolade and status symbol. Rather, it is a call for service and commitment to hold true the driving motive of Rotary. It’s a call to give of yourself to the world community in giving to support and strengthen the Rotary Foundation’s humanitarian efforts around the globe. It’s a call to build strong clubs and use our skills, professional knowledge, and technical know how to bring happiness to people in our communities.

If this is not your core understanding of what it means to be Proudly Rotarian, I guess you are simply and unfortunately a mere member of Rotary.

I am a Rotarian and Proudly so. Which are you?

12 thoughts on “Are you Proudly Rotarian?

  1. Thank you Frank for bringing up the subject. You are quite on point. I have also learned much from all the contributions. I hope every one else also has.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks Koffi and also Bill. So many today are focused on personal and business interest. Some go to the extent of holding on to their dues because they don’t like the President all in effort to bring him down and make his tenure a failure. All these happen because we are not strict about delisting defaulters. We need to reorientate our members make Rotary live up the Mantra


  3. I think the main point being made is active participation in supporting the organization whose name, credibility and branding we use. Whether that is financially, administrativly or promotionally. When a club is formed or a person joins Rotary through a club there are responsibilities that come with that. In my opinion simply apply the 4 way test between yourself or your club and Rotary International and see if the test holds up.


  4. While I agree that being Proudly Rotarian involves more that attending weekly meetings and simply paying dues, I disagree that supporting The Rotary Foundation is a prerequisite for claiming such status. Support for The Rotary Foundation is certainly laudable, but there are many other ways for Rotarians to practice Service Above Self. Active participation in club sponsored community and international service projects, whether are not they are supported by the foundation, is one such method. Dedicating one’s self towards effective club administration is another. For the record, I am a 31 year Rotarian who has been a Paul Harris Fellow since 1993 and a Major Donor since 2009. My support for the foundation is one, but by no means the only reason I claim to be proudly Rotarian.

    IMHO, the constant drumbeat for Rotary Foundation support is one of the reasons that North American membership numbers have been declining for a number of years.


    • Bill, you’re on point. Indeed, I gave my definition of being a Proud Rotarian to include other areas beyond giving to the Foundation. And as you rightly said, those other service avenues are great and impactful as well. However, I strongly believe that in whatever capacity that we have found service above self, we own it a duty to at least sustain the foundation with any giving we can. You’re an example of that and I’m sure many others too. In our part of the world, we get so much but give so little to the foundation. That bothers me a lot.


    • The points raised by both Frank and Bill are valid. Certainly we need to sustain what I like to call “OUR” Rotary Foundation, rather than “THE” Rotary Doundation however the matter revolves around the difference between Check Book Rotary and Hands-On Rotary.

      The advantage of a Hands-On Rotary, where we are involved actively in service activities and projects, is greater engagement and the dopamine effect.

      The other point to note is that, for the younger generation that we need to attract to sustain Rotary of the present (let alone that of the future), the ONLY differentiator that Rotary offers compared to many other uses of their time I a world so full of opportunities is SERVICE. If as a younger person you wish to just donate, then there are plenty of organisations around the world to donate to. On the other hand, my experience is that the young of today miss the opportunity to make a difference and such such opportunities. That is where Rotary offers an incredible worldwide infrastructure to undertake and support such activities, both locally and globally.

      Service is the magic sauce.


  5. Surely feel amazed to be a part of this family named ROTARY and as being ROTARIAN. We are = close to eradicate this monster the menace POLIO.


  6. Pingback: Are you Proudly Rotarian? | The Rotary Club of Carteret

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