Rotary Club of South Richmond
P.O. Box 29146,Henrico,Virginia 23242
HISTORY OF THE ROTARY CLUB OF SOUTH RICHMOND
This is a brief summary of the history of the Rotary Club of South Richmond, Virginia which was organized and chartered on 11 March 1953. Of the original twenty-two charter members, one is an honorary member and one is still an active member in the Club. Over the years the Club has met at a number of locations in the South Richmond area and moved its meetings to Willow Oaks Country Club in 2012.
The Rotary Club of South Richmond is part of the Rotary International District 7600. It is unique in that one of its deceased members and two of its active members are Past District Governors. Two of them served in that capacity when the District covered all of Virginia east of the Blue Ridge Mountains and one served after the District was split, the current District 7600 covering all of South Eastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore of Virginia. In all, there are now fifty-nine Rotary Clubs in this District and its office is located in Williamsburg.
The Rotary Club of South Richmond has a long history of supporting local, District and world-wide charities and programs. In addition to providing at least $130,000 each year for local charities, as decided by its active Charity Committee, it also raises, from its members, $15,000 to $20,000 per year for the Annual Giving campaign for the Foundation of Rotary International. In the 1980s member Mel Burnett gave $50,000 to the Club to begin an Endowment, the income from which was to be used for unique educational purposes. This Endowment now holds assets totaling about $350,000 and it provides, from its income, the ability to award grants totaling up to $15,000 per year for that purpose.
Also in the 1980s Rotary International, in association with the World Health Organization undertook the task of inoculating every child in the world with polio vaccine. In the Rotary Club of South Richmond member Bill Walker challenged the membership of the Club to raise $50,000 for this purpose in thirty days. This goal was achieved and over the next three years the total raised for Polio Eradication was well in excess of $200,000. This program was quite successful but it continues in a few parts of the world where access was earlier denied through fear and ignorance and South Richmond still contributes to this program.
In the late 1980s a team of members went to Guyana , South America to meet with the Rotary Club of Georgetown Central and assess the needs for dental hygiene for the children of that country. This was the beginning of the Guyana Initiative which sent teams of dentists and doctors to service these children and, ultimately, the Club purchased a used tour bus and reconfigured it to provide a mobile dental office with four examining/treatment chairs. It is complete with its own power, water, air conditioning and laboratory and is still in operation where it goes to schools all over the eastern portion of Guyana . It is supported by the Rotary Club of Georgetown Central, the Rotary Club of South Richmond and other Rotary Clubs.
From the Guyana Initiative the International Hospital for Children was conceived. This entity, supported by the donations of many people and foundations, brings a number of children from third-world countries to Richmond , each year, where they receive life saving and corrective surgery by volunteer surgeons in the metropolitan Richmond area. The Club raised the initial funds for this project by sponsoring a forum in February of 2002 which brought George H. W. Bush to speak and raised $100,000 for this purpose along with an additional $70,000 which went into the Club's endowment. The International Hospital for Children is now the World Pediatric Project.
The MCV Hospitality House has long provided out-patient quarters for people served by the hospital. However they did not allow children into that facility. With the need of the International Hospital for Children it became evident that the Club needed to find a way to provide housing for these children and their parents. The Rotary Club of South Richmond undertook this challenge and developed the funding, through an obtained grant and other fund raising programs, raised over $200,000 that, with "in kind" work, brought about the $250,000 renovation of the eighth floor of that facility in the Spring of 2005. This provides a number of bedrooms, an activity room, a kitchen and other facilities. The children now have a place to stay while they heal from life saving surgery prior to going back to their home countries.
Also in the 1980s the YMCA was in the process of doing some work at its Camp Thunderbird . The Rotary Club of South Richmond, long a supporter of YMCA activities, undertook to provide $50,000 for the kitchen in the new lodge which was constructed as part of this project. These funds were raised over a two-year period and represented the Club's long commitment to that facility.
The key ingredient of the Rotary Club of South Richmond has been its long-standing emphasis on Fellowship ! It has a rich history of the members enjoying, caring and supporting each other and seeking out other members when needing a product or service. Members don't take themselves seriously and take pride in having fun at each others' expense. We play hard but we work hard !
The Club's annual social events include Founders Night / Officer Installation, sometimes formal and sometimes informal, the Dog Bowl, a member outing, called the Bass Outing for former member Aubrey Bass, a Holiday / Christmas Party, a Dove Hunt and Texas Hold 'Em Poker Tournaments among other appropriate events.
South Richmond continues the tradition of being one of the leading Rotary Clubs in District 7600!
Rotary Club of South Richmond
PO Box 29146
Henrico, VA 23242