Lessons in generosity from rural Africa

Members of the Rotary Club of Yumbe, Uganda, participate in a community clean-up project in Achiba village.
Members of the Rotary Club of Yumbe, Uganda, participate in a community clean-up project in Achiba village.

By Helene Dudley, past president of the Rotary Club of Coconut Grove, Florida, USA

My eyes filled with tears as I attended  a Zoom meeting of the Yumbe, Uganda provisional Rotary Club discussing a service project they were planning to help a nearby village. I reached out in chat to another participant of the meeting who admitted she too was tearing up. The club is not yet officially recognized by Rotary International and the women are well below the poverty line but they are already doing service projects.

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Working with Habitat to provide a place to live

By Randy Bretz, Rotary Club of Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

Martha and her family
Martha and her family will receive a home thanks to the efforts of the Rotary Club of Lincoln, Nebraska, working in partnership with Habit for Humanity.

A woman from Africa and her six children will soon have a new home in Lincoln, Nebraska, thanks to our Rotary club and Habitat for Humanity of Lincoln.

Construction will begin soon on the home for Martha and her children, giving them a place to live that isn’t cramped and even with a yard for the family to enjoy. Martha’s salary can only afford a two-bedroom apartment, but with the help of nearly $40,000 from our club, Habitat for Humanity will be able to construct a three-bedroom home on a lot in Lincoln that she can afford to buy.

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Mobilizing volunteers through the power of Rotary

By Lisa Hunter, Rotary Club of Maidenhead Bridge, Berkshire, England

Lisa Hunter
Lisa Hunter

I am so proud to belong to an organization that empowers ordinary people to work together to make a difference in other people’s lives. Through the Rotary network, we come together to use our skills and knowledge to support each other and build up our communities.

Nowhere was this more apparent to me than at the beginning of the pandemic, when our community went into lockdown and people were isolated and shut in. My club formed a Community Response Team to mobilize a network of volunteers to do what we do best: support those who need help in difficult times.

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Michigan club pairs students with mentors

By Rotary staff

A decade ago, Jackie Huie and members of the Rotary Club of St. Joseph & Benton Harbor, Michigan, USA, launched a program that has helped hundreds of local high school students learn more about their dream careers by connecting them with professionals in those fields. The program is still running strong. And Huie talks about the value of the program, and what she loves about Rotary in this podcast. Learn more about the program at https://www.rotary.org/en/rotary-pairs-students-top-mentors

Listen to select blog posts on our new Rotary Voices podcast

5 ingredients of a successful Rotary club

By Barton Goldenberg, immediate past governor of District 7620 (Maryland and Washington D.C., USA)

Running a successful Rotary club is a bit like baking a cake. You need the right ingredients.
Running a successful Rotary club is a bit like baking a cake. You need the right ingredients.

If you’re a baker, you know that a great cake is made up of individual ingredients that come together to produce something special. A great Rotary club is like that, in that it is made up of a unique mix of ingredients. Here are the five that I have found in most, if not all, successful Rotary clubs.

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Mobile screening limits spread of COVID-19

Byung Woo Kim stands by the mobile screening center. The bus travels to those who suspect they have COVID-19 to perform tests, minimizing their exposure to others.

By Byung Woo Kim, past president of the Rotary Club of Cheongju-Musim, South Korea

My Rotary club has been working on more than one global grant project every year. When we were planning an initiative this year, we were seeing a high rate of COVID-19 cases. At that time, the government’s guidelines required that those suspected of having COVID should be tested at their nearest screening center. But as they travel from their home to the screening center using public transportation, they come in contact with multiple people and risk infecting still others in the hospital performing the screening.

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How we grew our club by saying no to domestic violence

Rotary Baton relay
Rotary clubs in New South Wales delivered a message against domestic violence during the baton relay event marking 100 years of Rotary in Australia and New Zealand.

By David Harmon, president, Rotary Club of Ballina on Richmond, New South Wales, Australia

If we want to reverse the decline in membership that many clubs have been experiencing the last 10 years, we need to have a cause that engages our members and communities. With this in mind, our Rotary club created a focus group three years ago that searched for an issue that would make a real difference in our community. After carefully consideration we decided to adopt a project to address domestic violence and family abuse. Since our involvement in this project, we have grown from 31 members to 76 members.

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The magic of Rotary: touching lives in Indonesia

Eva harvests paddy field

Eva Kurniaty harvests a paddy field that was turned into productive land through a global grant.

Eva Kurniaty

Eva Kurniaty

By Eva Kurniaty, Rotary Coordinator, Past District Governor, and member of the Rotary Club of Jakarta Sunter Centennial, Indonesia

When I was a district governor in 2013, there was a Rotary club in my district, in Cilacap, Central Java, that only had a few members. My senior leaders advised me to terminate the club since they were inactive, held no meetings, conducted no projects, and never contributed to The Rotary Foundation. But I was determined not to end it; I knew it was possible to revive it. Continue reading

No use crying over spilled milk

Martin Cohn holds up containers of Green Mountain Yogurt made from surplus milk.

By Martin Cohn, past president of the Rotary Club of Brattleboro, Vermont, USA 

In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Vermont dairy farmers were in trouble. With the close of colleges and restaurants, there was too much supply of milk. This excess was headed to be spilled into mudholes. At the same time, the need to help food-insecure families was increasing. How could food that was being wasted reach people who needed food?

That’s when I heard about a project where the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets was coordinating an effort to recover raw milk from being disposed of while creating a new, temporary food supply for Vermont Foodbank. In collaboration with the Vermont Community Foundation, $60,000 was made available to purchase this milk for the benefit of Vermonters. These efforts were particularly important as Vermont’s dairy industry, like all sectors, had been challenged by COVID-19 but remain essential to the state’s food supply. However, more money was needed. Continue reading

Discovering the power of Rotary during a pandemic

Sorting food for the food drive

Members of the Rotary Club of San Antonio, Texas, sort items for a food drive in a school parking lot.

By Nathan Rizzo, Rotary Club of San Antonio, Texas, USA

I have been a member of my club for two years, but it was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic that I learned what it truly means to be a Rotarian. When my state of Texas went into quarantine, our club president, Brandon Logan, set up a ‘virtual happy hour’ on Thursday evenings. It was amazing to see all of the friendly, smiling faces of my fellow Rotarians. We spent an hour catching up; and then our conversation turned to service, and what we could do to help during the pandemic. Continue reading