Our  community service theme for June & July is “Beat the Heat” – Concentrating service efforts to make the lives of those less fortunate more comfortable as the summertime & heat kicks into high gear. Two areas of specific needs are shown below with connection opportunities to volunteer and help in the Houston area. For those outside Houston look for similar needs and support opportunities in your community …. These needs are everywhere this time of year. Be proactive and represent Rotary wherever you are and please do so often!
Could the next wonder drug be somewhere in Canada's snowy north? Take a trip to this beautiful, frigid landscape as chemist Normand Voyer explores the mysterious molecular treasures found in plants thriving in the cold. These scarcely investigated organisms could hold immense medical promise, he says – so long as we work quickly enough to discover them.

About the speaker

Normand Voyer's work demonstrates the molecular richness of the Canadian Great White snowy North and the importance of stewarding its fragile ecosystems.

The first years of the Rotary Club

The first Rotary Club was formed when attorney Paul P. Harris called together a meeting of three business acquaintances in downtown Chicago, United States, at Harris's friend Gustave Loehr's office in the Unity Building on Dearborn Street on February 23, 1905.  In addition to Harris and Loehr (a mining engineer and freemason), Silvester Schiele (a coal merchant), and Hiram E. Shorey (a tailor) were the other two who attended this first meeting. The members chose the name Rotary because initially they rotated subsequent weekly club meetings to each other's offices, although within a year, the Chicago club became so large it became necessary to adopt the now-common practice of a regular meeting place.

The next four Rotary Clubs were organized in cities in the western United States, beginning with San Francisco,   then OaklandSeattle,  and Los Angeles.  The National Association of Rotary Clubs in America was formed in 1910.  On November 3, 1910, a Rotary club began meeting in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, marking the beginning of Rotary as an international organization.  On 22 February 1911, the first meeting of the Rotary Club Dublin was held in Dublin, Ireland.  This was the first club established outside of North America. In April 1912, Rotary chartered the Winnipeg club marking the first establishment of an American-style service club outside the United States.   To reflect the addition of a club outside of the United States, the name was changed to the International Association of Rotary Clubs in 1912.

In August 1912, the Rotary Club of London received its charter from the Association, marking the first acknowledged Rotary club outside North America. It later became known that the Dublin club in Ireland was organized before the London club, but the Dublin club did not receive its charter until after the London club was chartered.[citation needed] During World War I, Rotary in Britain increased from 9 to 22 clubs, and other early clubs in other nations included those in Cuba in 1916, the Philippines in 1919 and India in 1920.

In 1922, the name was changed to Rotary International. From 1923 to 1928, Rotary's office and headquarters were located on E 20th Street (now E Cullerton Street) in the Atwell Building.  During this same time, the monthly magazine The Rotarian was published mere floors below by Atwell Printing and Binding Company. By 1925, Rotary had grown to 200 clubs with more than 20,000 members.  During the 1930s there was an expanding conflict in Asia between Japan and China and the fear of a confrontation between Japan and the United States. In hopes of helping resolve these issues, a leading Japanese international statesman Prince Iyesato Tokugawa was chosen as the Honorary Keynote Speaker at Rotary's Silver (25th) Anniversary Convention/Celebration held in 1930 in Chicago. Prince Tokugawa held the influential position of president of Japan's upper house of congress the Diet for 30 years. Tokugawa promoted democratic principles and international goodwill. It was only after his passing in 1940 that Japanese militants were able to push Japan into joining the Axis Powers in WWII.

World War II era in Europe

Rotary Clubs in Spain ceased to operate shortly after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.

Clubs were disbanded across Europe as follows:

Rotary International has worked with the UN since the UN started in 1945. At that time Rotary was involved in 65 countries. The two organizations shared ideals around promoting peace. Rotary received consultative status at the UN in 1946–47.

During the Third Reich, Rotary Clubs were grouped with Freemasonry as secret societies associated with Jews, and Nazi officials were banned from joining them. This was reversed in July 1933 after appeals but the club was forced to ban all Jews from membership. This led to several non-Jews quitting in solidarity. In order to survive the members tried to show their loyalty to the Nazi leadership, inviting government officials and high standing businesspeople like Hermann Schlosser who was a business manager for Degesch which supplied Zyklon B for use at death camps such as Auschwitz-Birkenau. After 1945, the Rotary club tried to control the damage by preventing members such as Hans Globke and Wolfgang A. Wick from being appointed presidents.

From 1945 onward

U.S. stamp commemorating Rotary International's 50th anniversary in 1955
Memorial seat, Melbourne, Australia

Rotary clubs in Eastern Europe and communist nations were disbanded by 1945–46, but new Rotary clubs were organized in many other countries, and by the time of the national independence movements in Africa and Asia, the new nations already had Rotary clubs. After the relaxation of government control of community groups in Russia and former Soviet satellite nations, Rotarians were welcomed as club organizers, and clubs were formed in those countries, beginning with the Moscow club in 1990.

In 1985, Rotary launched its PolioPlus program to immunize all of the world's children against polio. As of 2011, Rotary had contributed more than 900 million US dollars to the cause, resulting in the immunization of nearly two billion children worldwide.

As of 2006, Rotary had more than 1.4 million members in over 36,000 clubs among 200 countries and geographical areas, making it the most widespread by branches and second largest service club by membership, behind Lions Clubs International.   The number of Rotarians has slightly declined in recent years: Between 2002 and 2006, they went from 1,245,000 to 1,223,000 members. North America accounts for 450,000 members, Asia for 300,000, Europe for 250,000, Latin America for 100,000, Oceania for 100,000 and Africa for 30,000.

Rotary International is one of the largest service organizations in the world. Its stated mission is to "provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through [the] fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders".   It is a non-political and non-religious organization. Membership is by invitation and based on various social factors. There are over 46,000 member clubs worldwide, with a membership of 1.4 million individuals, known as Rotary members.


Rotarian Chase Nielsen is working on a Global Grant to help fund Tharseo Place, a home for rescuing victims of human trafficking.  We are partnering with Space Center Rotary Club and others to raise $100,000 which will be matched by $100,000 from The Rotary Foundation to contribute $200,000 to this project.  District Governor Mindi Snyder (Rotary District 5890) and 5910 DG Demetress Harrell have toured the facility and offered DDF (District Designated Funds) to contribute to the funds needed for this project.  Stan Galanski of Space Center Rotary Club is requesting additional Rotary club partners.  We are needing to rush our fundraising and it is late in the Rotary year (July begins a new Rotary year), which may mean that funds are already committed for projects in this Rotary year.  If you have contacts in other Rotary clubs anywhere in the world, please consider asking them to request funds for this project.   The program is pursuing enrollment  and has identified staff.  Online schooling will be provided and counseling the victims will also be included.

The Host Organising Committee is very excited to welcome Rotary members and guests to Melbourne for the 2023 Rotary International Convention.   Known as one of the world’s most livable cities, you will enjoy what we take for granted, a beautiful, vibrant and cosmopolitan city.  

Set on the shores of picturesque Port Phillip Bay, the southern-most city of mainland Australia  Melbourne is rich in aesthetics, with its beauty enhanced by the meandering Yarra River, immaculate parks and gardens, public art, classical buildings and innovative design.  

Iconic Flinders Street railway station is the meeting point for all people when they come to Melbourne. Start your journey there and enjoy a great coffee and discover what Melbourne has to offer. 

With interlocking laneways with graffiti art and the buzzing inner-city precinct reveals one-off boutiques and world-class restaurants, while our larger modern department stores and shopping complexes compete to enchant the most discerning shopper. Melbourne is culturally diverse and is globally recognised as one of the most concentrated dining and fashion cultures in the world. 

Melbourne is the heart of Australia's major sports: Formula 1, Melbourne Cup (the race that stops a nation), Australian Tennis Open, and the mighty Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) which is home to Australian cricket and our unique Australian Football League (AFL).

Just a short drive from the heart of Melbourne, you can take one of the world's iconic drives along the Great Ocean Road. Head north to the Murray River and sit amongst the great river red gums or relax with a glass of local wine on a river paddle steamer. Or, if you prefer, head to Phillip Island. Here you can visit the koala sanctuary and see the world-famous fairy penguin parade in the evening. Step back in time - head to Ballarat and try your hand at gold panning at Sovereign Hill. Visit the Yarra Valley,  home of great cool climate wines, chardonnay, pinot and sparkling. There are unlimited adventures and discoveries to be had, just a short distance from Melbourne City. 

Please keep visiting this site because we will be regularly posting new exciting activities and information. We look forward to welcoming you to our great city. 

Mary Barry 
Chair Host Organising Committee 2023 


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Upcoming Events & Speakers
Upcoming Speakers
Rotary Youth Exchange Student
Jun 08, 2023 6:30 PM
Wrap-up for our First RYE Student
Past Speakers
Protus Onyango - Lanterns for Light
Apr 20, 2023
Service Projects in Kenya
Rotary International News
Rotary magazines 2023 Photo Awards

In Rotary magazine’s 2023 Photo Awards, we see the world courtesy of this year’s finalists.

Service Above Self
June 2023
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