Let me start off by saying, I am a Rotarian. I’m the President-Elect and Membership Committee Chair for the Indianapolis East Rotary Club. Rotary has inspired me to find new ways to meet needs right here in the community.

Rotary International started in Chicago, Illinois in 1905 with 4 friends who wanted to share ideas, build meaningful partnerships and give back to the community. By following the principal of ‘Service Above Self,’ Rotary has grown to 1.2 million members worldwide who serve their community, one project at a time.

It’s been over 100 years since the first Rotary Club was chartered in Indiana. In fact, Indiana is home to some of Rotary’s oldest clubs. Rotary’s strong commitment to serving others in the community has made a meaningful impact on the lives of Hoosiers. These examples are only beginning to scratch the surface.

Rotary Club of Indianapolis – Riley Children’s Hospital

James Whitcomb Riley was a famous writer, poet and member of the Rotary Club of Indianapolis. When he died in 1916, fellow Rotarians from across Indiana helped start the James Whitcomb Riley Hospital for Children in 1924 in his honor and raised $276,000 to construct the Rotary Building, which served children with Polio. The original building still stands today at 702 Rotary Circle Indianapolis, Indiana 46202 as part of the IU School of Medicine on the campus of IUPUI.

Learn more about the Rotary Club of Indianapolis at https://indyrotary.com/

Rotary Club of Richmond – Starr Park Shelter

Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Richmond partnered with the Richmond Department of Parks and Recreation to help keep the park beautiful. Through a matching grant from the Rotary District 6560 Foundation, The Rotary Club of Richmond was able to build a new shelter at Starr Park, located at 315 N. 15th St Richmond, Indiana 47374.

Learn More about the Rotary Club of Richmond at http://www.richmondrotaryclub.com/

Rotary Club of Crown Point – Imagination Library

Started in 2016 by then Club President Katherine Chariton, The Crown Point Rotary Club and the Crown Point Community Foundation partnered with Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library to help 400 children in the community receive a free book every month. The Dolly Parton Imagination Library is a literacy program that sends children an age appropriate book every month from birth until the age of 5. To help the Crown Point Rotary get books into the hands of more children, you can make a donation at www.thecpcf.org/donate and add a memo that you’re supporting the Crown Point Rotary’s Imagination Library Project.

Learn more about the Rotary Club of Crown Point at https://www.crownpointrotary.org/

Rotary Club of Evansville – Education Enrichment

Each school year, the Rotary Club of Evansville provides $20,000 in grants to innovative classroom programs and offers mentoring to students in areas of vocation. The Rotary Club of Evansville also partners with the University of Evansville, University of Southern Indiana and Ivy Tech Community College to mentor college students. You can donate to the Evansville Rotary Foundation at www.oii.fyi/evansvillerotary.

Learn more about the Rotary Club of Evansville at https://evansvillerotary.com

Fort Wayne, Indiana – Backpacks of Hope

With the Help of Rotarians Dale Basham, iPDG and  Matt Howell from the Rotary Club of Muncie, Rotarians from across the country came together in Fort Wayne, Indiana to assemble over 500 backpacks for a local homeless-outreach mission, Backpacks of Hope. “Rotarians saw a need and sprang into action to help their community” Basham said during a recent interview. Backpacks of Hope was founded by Shelley, Jacob and Allison Septer in honor of John Zachery Septer and serves the Fort Wayne area. To learn more about Backpacks of Hope or to donate to their mission, visit www.backpacksofhope.org.

A New Age of Engagement for Service Organizations

Basham and Howell, understanding the need for service organizations  to modernize their community outreach and engagement, decided to do something about it. Howell and his wife Angie Rogers-Howell, owners of Farmhouse Creative, teamed up with Nate Spell of Three Media and Basham to create The Basham Group. The mission of their new venture is to help organizations bring enthusiasm, passion and ‘edutainment’ to service projects.

“If we don’t edutain people, we will lose people” Basham said. “The Basham Group is building a foundation for a new generation of world changers.” They combine expertise in video production, print and digital media with Basham’s signature energy and enthusiasm to keep members of your organization and your community connected, engaged and involved in your service projects.

The Future Looks Bright

Rotarians everywhere are looking forward to serving the community in 2020. And, I wouldn’t be a very good Membership Committee Chair if I didn’t invite you to check out a Rotary Club in your area. Visitors are always welcome at your local Rotary Club!

Membership in Rotary is open to everyone, regardless of race, gender, orientation or religion. The only requirement for membership is a desire to help make a difference in your community. To learn more about Rotary in your community, visit www.openinindiana.com/rotary.

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