Geneva’s Stories: Geneva Rotary Club Celebrates 100 Years of Service

October 18th, 2019

By Charles Bauder, Rotarian and Guest Blogger


Geneva Rotary Club celebrates its 35th Anniversary in 1954.

In 1905, Paul Harris, a Chicago Attorney, formed the Rotary Club of Chicago. The club’s purpose was to bring together professionals with diverse backgrounds who could exchange ideas, form meaningful friendships and serve their community. Today there are over 35,000 Rotary Clubs world-wide with 1.2 million members.

The Geneva Rotary Club’s organizational meeting was held May 12, 1919 with 25 charter members. The charter of the Geneva Rotary Club lists Geneva as Club No. 546.

Today over 80 club members practice Rotary International’s motto of “Service Above Self”.


Geneva Rotarians harvest apples in Brownlee Orchards during World War II.

Over the past 100 years, the Geneva Rotary Club has served the community in a variety of ways. Many of the club’s service activities have endured the test of time.  The club’s Student Loan Program was established in 1923; members have been manning the Salvation Army’s kettles on Christmas Eve since 1940; in 1956 the Geneva Club, along with the Rotary Clubs of Ontario, Seneca, Yates, and Wayne Counties established Camp Onseyawa for challenged children; since 1962, members have contributed to the “Birthday Fund” to support the Geneva Pubic Library; beginning  1980, the club has provided financial support for the DARE program; an Interact Club was formed in 1995 at Geneva High School; The “Santa Train” has been running since 2001 and provides a wonderful experience for children as well as raising funds for community projects. In 2008, the club established an annual grant program to support local organizations and activities. This past year the club awarded 24 grants.


Children at Rotary Camp Onseyawa, 1957.


In 2010, the club initiated the annual “Service Above Self Award” dinner. The dinner recognizes a person who has given extraordinary service to our community.  The dinner also raises funds to support the Geneva City School System’s Backpack Program.


Geneva student members of Rotary Interact work as elves on the Santa Train.

To learn more about the Geneva Rotary Club’s service to the community and beyond, join us October 30, 2019 at “Celebrating Community Milestones,” a presentation recognizing the anniversaries of five community organizations that have contributed to Geneva’s rich community life over the past 100 years.

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