Russ DeFuria, Lisa Leonard and Matt Breidenstein discussed Rotary, an international fraternal organization. They covered its 1905 founding by a Chicago businessman looking to find friends, to a service-based international organization with members in over 200 countries and regions, from a men-only in business-attire to a group that welcomes women and dresses casually. Russ, a former President and a member for over 30 years, described them as ‘People of Action’ and explained Rotary’s ‘Six Areas of Focus’ which addresses clean water supplies around the world, hunger relief, maternal health, education, and, what he’s most proud of, the eradication of polio. Working with other international organizations, Rotary also trains conflict mediators, in the US they to work toward community-based solutions to poverty, crime or violence.
They spoke about their individual chapters, the service projects they choose, and what they each take from membership. Russ, a HVAC retailer and installer, also enjoys the business networking; Lisa, a voice-over artist, likes the social activities and chances to meet others, while Matt, a disaster responder with the American Red Cross, likes the community projects. They all spoke about the recent campaign to plant a tree for every member – a 1.2 million tree project.
Rotary welcomes membership to all, with college campus chapters, a high school program and groups throughout the region that meet at various times, from breakfast to happy-hour clubs. They also have online membership opportunities for those who cannot attend regular meetings. All encouraged listeners to attend meetings to find the chapter that meets their interests and schedule.