In 1905, Paul Harris, a Chicago Lawyer, had an idea of sharing general information among his clients and business acquaintances, with the objective of furnishing good deeds for the common good.
Harris, along with three of his friends, met in his office to discuss his plan.
Essentially, they decided to recruit businessmen and professionals (women were not admitted as Rotary members until 1988) from an array of diversified leaders of business and industry, with the common interest of doing good for people.
The mission of Rotary International is “to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise.”
Rotary’s Four Way Test measures the value of all the club’s endeavors: “Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will It build good will and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned?”
Rotary International is now 110 years old.
There are 34,558 Rotary clubs worldwide, with 1.2 million Rotarians, all of whom follow the organization’s international efforts through The Rorarian Magazine, which is printed in dozens of languages.
One of the major projects all Rotary Clubs in the world participate in, as for example, is the eradication of polio.
In 1987, Polio Plus was begun by Rotary International, and through the active participation of all Rotary Clubs and in conjunction with the World Health Organization, polio is now eradicated in all but two countries.
Some 488 Rotary International Grants of $23.5 million and 868 Global Grants of $47.3 million were granted in 2013.
In 1992, the Waupaca Breakfast Rotary Club was an idea in the mind of Ron Reynolds, who had recently moved to Waupaca from Appleton.
With the help of his Appleton Rotary Club, a group of Waupaca community members were invited to a free breakfast meeting, and the rest is history.
The official charter of the club was on Jan. 23, 1993.
There were 24 charter members in the Waupaca Rotary Club, eight of whom are still members today. The Waupaca Club currently has about 85 members.
Waupaca Rotary focuses on education through its Mission Statement: “The Mission of the Waupaca Breakfast Rotary Club is to actively support education in the Waupaca area as a means to improve community cooperation and international understanding through the principles of Rotary.”
As part of its mission, Waupaca Rotary has hosted up to three year-long high school Inbound Rotary Foreign Exchange Students from all over the world each year for over 20 years.
Being an exchange, there has also been a like number of outbound Waupaca students from the Waupaca area as well.
Waupaca Rotary has steadily increased its annual charitable giving over the past 22 years, reaching $33,500 over the past year. Among the groups and projects supported have been Rotary Youth Exchange, Teacher Education Grants, WHS Music Department, Scholarships, The Rotary International Foundation, Riverview Rotary Park, Trees For Tomorrow, Badger Boys/Girls State, Student Service Above Self Awards, World Affairs Conference and Rotary Youth Leadership Awards.