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Brief histories of the "First 100" Clubs

Rotary Club of Wichita

Rotary International District 5690

 

1911-2011 One Page History

 

Go to Wichita History right now.
Members of the Rotary Club of Wichita perform for fellow Rotarians at the District Conference in Garden City, Kans.

In the late summer of 1911, 31-year old Harry W. Stanley, an agent for the Equitable Life Insurance Company, traveled to Chicago for the company's convention. While there, a fellow agent mentioned a new organization he had joined. His enthusiasm intrigued Stanley sufficiently that he sought out the organization's founder, Paul Harris, to discuss the club's merits. Convinced that Rotary's blend of acquaintance making, business success and community service would benefit his hometown, Stanley returned to Kansas dedicated to bringing Rotary to Wichita.

With 11 other businessmen, Stanley founded the Rotary Club of Wichita, which soon swelled to 72 members. The club was admitted to Rotary International that November, and received its Charter two years later in June 1913.

During the early years, the club was largely a booster or chamber of commerce-type organization with a single mission: to let important men of all nations know about Wichita, Kansas, and the products produced here. As the organization grew, however, Wichita Rotarians became more involved in the community, spearheading city beautification efforts and providing recreation and training programs for boys. In 1916, the group championed a plan to enact a city manager form of government in Wichita, successfully petitioning both the state government and Wichita residents for approval. Rotarians were also instrumental in reforming the Law and Order League into the Greater Wichita Civic League. Also in 1916, the first issue of the club's bulletin, Round and Round, was published.

Founder Harry Stanley and others board ship for the 1921 convention in Edinburgh, Scotland.
 

Since that time, the Rotary Club of Wichita has been instrumental in bringing a number of important organizations to Wichita, including the Boy Scouts of America, Easter Seal Society and the Big Brother organization. Rotary continuously committed its time and efforts to aiding and improving Wichita and, in particular, the city's youth, with a variety of activities. 

Later, when a plan was hatched to build Century II with municipal bonds, the club supported the effort and presented the case to the city. 

Today, Rotary Club of Wichita is a thriving organization that takes its responsibility to the people of Wichita quite seriously. Each year, members ring bells for the Salvation Army and encourage blood drive donors during the holiday season. With the creation of the Wichita Rotary Charitable Fund in 1983, the club amassed sufficient funding to take on even greater tasks, such as sponsoring the  was instrumental in establishing the Students In Free Enterprise (S.I.F.E.) program at Wichita State University, which provides students with the tools they need to succeed in today's competitive business environment.

The Wichita Rotary Charitable Fund also provides scholarship funding for high school students to attend the annual Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) camp, sponsors the Rotary Interact Club at Wichita's East High School, and supports the Rotary Inter-country Teacher Exchange (RITE) program, sending teachers abroad for 4 to 6 weeks while their counterparts experience American teaching techniques. In addition, a substantial 5-year grant was donated to
appelExploration Place which allows elementary school children to visit the facility at greatly reduced rates.

Geri Appel, Wichita Rotary President 2000-2001, DG 2002-03 District 5690, One of the founding members of  Rotary Global History Fellowship and a charter Vice President of The Fellowship

Charter and Edinburgh photos from Calum Thomson

Club #30 is featured in a publication on page 102 of The Heartland Abroad: The Rotary Club’s Mission of Civic Internationalism, Brendan M. Goff

 
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