What a privilege and honor it is for me to serve as the president of the Oklahoma City Rotary Club for the 2018-19 term.
This venerable club was founded in 1910 with 19 members. It was the 29th Rotary Club established in the world. Today, among more than 35,000 clubs, it is one of the largest. It is also one of the most generous.
Through 2017 total donations by the club to local, national, and international philanthropic activities have exceeded $4.3 million. This reflects both our size and the generosity of our members. Our club’s remarkable history of charity and service aligns with one of my goals for this year. I want us to focus on increasing club membership.
In the past few years membership has slipped some. Let’s turn that around. Increasing membership in and of itself does not guarantee increased giving or service, but a larger club can provide leverage, contacts and resources not always available to smaller clubs. That, in turn, strengthens our capability to provide “Service Above Self.”
I hope that by presenting the challenge of new member recruitment early we improve our chances of growing. Tied to this goal will be an effort to recruit younger members. I intend to form a “40 and under” committee whose job it will be to provide advice and counsel to the board on how we might appeal to a younger demographic.
My ultimate goal will be to have a very successful One Pledge Campaign that benefits worthy causes locally and beyond. To paraphrase the president of Rotary International, Rotary is 100% local and 100% global. Locally, our club is comprised of 600 men and women who unselfishly assist hundreds of wonderful causes and have nearly unlimited connections in the metro area. Globally, we are tied into a worldwide network of like-minded individuals and clubs that can assist each other “in a way no other organization can match.” This has led to a multi-decade effort to virtually eradicate polio. Other RI goals include promoting peace, providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene, saving mothers and children from poor health care, sanitation, and malnutrition, supporting education and growing local economies.
So, thank you for being a member of Rotary Club 29, the best Rotary Club in the world. Please join me in 2018 and 2019 for fun, fellowship, and the serious, but rewarding task of placing “Service Above Self.”