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Rotary Means Business Fellowship
www.RotaryMeansBusiness.org
For decades, Rotary frowned upon mixing business with the good deeds that Rotarians often performed. That idea conflicted with the fact that Rotary was started in 1905 as a business networking club.

It was not until the mid-2000ís that individual Rotary clubs began to feel comfortable about integrating business networking back into the Rotary World.

The very first Rotary Means Business group was founded by Rotary Club of San Francisco in 2004. This caught the attention of the District 5150 Governor, who encouraged suburban clubs in the District to form their own Rotary Means Business group. In 2005, both the Peninsula (south suburbs) and Marin (north suburbs) Rotary Means Business groups were formed.

Rotary Means Business came to Sonoma County in 2009 thru the efforts of members of the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa. Expansion of the Rotary Means Business concept was strongly supported by District Governors Jim Lampson and Maureen Merrill, so the local Santa Rosa group expanded to encompass the entire county. The leaders of the local RMB group also presented the concepts to other Rotary clubs from Ukiah to Los Gatos, and as far east as Reno.

The Sonoma County Rotary Means Business group also created a website and member directory, which began to attract members worldwide. Within a year, RMB had members from Italy, India, Australia, and more.

The leaders of the local RMB group realized that Rotary Means Business had a worldwide potential. So, in early 2012, a Steering Committee was formed to develop all the necessary documentation that Rotary would require to approve an International Fellowship.

Before submitting the documentation to Rotary International, the steering committee sought guidance from some past District Governors as to how to approach Rotary International. More than one PDG advised them to defer approaching Rotary International, as the general feeling was that RI was not quite ready to welcome a business-oriented Fellowship.

By early 2013, over 300 Rotarians from all over the world had signed up to the www.RotaryMeansBusiness.org website. Rotarians in India had offered to create smartphone apps for iPhone and Android. So Rotary Means Business was growing to a worldwide presence, even without full approval of RI.

With RMB growing organically, it was only a matter of time before RMB would gather the attention of Rotary International. In March of 2013, the webmaster at Rotary Means Business received a communication from RI inquiring about the Rotary Means Business concept.

This communication opened the door for the local RMB group to apply for Fellowship approval. Because much of the documentation had been prepared in advance, the application process went very smoothly.

In early November, Rotary Means Business was approved as the newest Fellowship of Rotary International. District 5130, in Northern California, can point with pride to an international organization that was grown from very small roots, nurtured, and allowed to flower as way to unite Rotarians from all over the world.

Upon receiving approval as an official Fellowship, RMB secured a booth in the House of Friendship at the 2014 Rotary International Convention in Sydney, Australia. The Chair of the newly approved Fellowship, Mark Burchill, was invited to speak at the Fellowship breakout at the convention. The Sydney convention yielded 65 new RMB members.

Over the next two years, the Rotary Means Business Fellowship continued to grow, primarily from the grassroots level. Groups of Rotarians all over the globe heard of the concept and contacted the RMB Fellowship for guidance in creating their local chapters of the Rotary Means Business Fellowship.

By July of 2016, the Rotary Means Business Fellowship had more than 300 members, in more than 30 countries. The Fellowship had 27 local chapters, on every continent except Antarctica.

Clearly, the concept of Rotary Means Business struck a chord with Rotarians world wide.

For more information, contact Mark Burchill, Chair, at Chair@RotaryMeansBusiness.org


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