Rotary Club of Waco 74
Brief histories of Rotary's First 100 Clubs Also see Rotary Comes to Texas - 1912
On June 1, 1913, the International Association of Rotary Clubs granted charters to three Rotary clubs in Texas.
The triplets were Beaumont website, Galveston website and Waco, and they received charters 72, 73 and 74, as the clubs were listed alphabetically. The Waco club was organized on May 23, 1913, and chartered one week later with a membership of eleven.
On June 10, 1913, Waco joined the other Texas clubs in Galveston at a joint meeting of all the clubs in Texas, with Waco Rotarians part of the nearly 750 who attended.
Incorporated into a district almost immediately, the first District Conference was held in Waco on November 1, 1915 in the Retail Merchants Association offices in the Amicable Building. District Governor Richardson and delegates from 10 of the 13 Clubs in Texas attended, along with RI President Allen D. Albert, from Minneapolis, and a Vice President from Houston. The tickets for the informal banquet at the conference cost Waco Rotarians $1.00, and the delegates and international officers were guests of the club.
Throughout its 89-year history, the Rotary Club of Waco has earned the respect and admiration of the City of Waco. In 1916, when it was three years old, the club helped to establish the Waco Working Boys Club. From the inception, service by the individual Rotarian, at the community level, was stressed by the club. Not surprising, 37 members have served as mayor of the City of Waco through the years, and 55 different members have been elected presiding officer of the Waco Chamber of Commerce. Hundreds of members have provided leadership for all major civic endeavors. The club has also supplied leadership for Rotary District 5870 and its predecessors, with four District Governors: T. D. Brooks, Hubert Johnson, Jack H. Dillard and Pat Taggart.
The club has grown into a strong force of 350 outstanding business and professional men and women who live or work within the city. United in the spirit of service, the members join together each week at the club's meetings to enjoy fellowship and participate in the club’s activities.
Besides the Waco Working Boys Club project, youth service has been a major activity of the club, including its Youth Citizenship Award project. Playgrounds, baseball fields, a therapeutic swimming pool, and countless other landmarks throughout the city manifest the club's continuing concern and interest in young people. More than $300,000 has been used from the club's Rotary Youth Service Fund, Inc. to provide capital improvements, recreational equipment, clothing, meals, supplies, awards, and incidental expenses for youths and youth-oriented institutions and organizations. Over $96,900 has been invested in scholarships for 127 college students of McLennan County from the Waco Rotary Club Scholarship Fund. A special Hearing Aid Fund was active for many years to provide and maintain hearing aids for children of the county with defective hearing.
Three current annual projects deserve special note because two of them have been recognized by Rotary International with "Significant Achievement Awards." Funding for each of them comes from the club's Rotary Youth Service Fund, to which members contribute each year to support all of the club's youth activities. The popular television series called "Challenge" was initiated in 1967 to recognize academically talented area high school students. The project celebrated its 35th season in 2002. Over $78,000 has been spent on the project which has featured 2,136 high school students on 534 teams. In 1978, the club began its successful Leadership In Free Enterprise (L.I.F.E.) project to educate and motivate high school students on the advantages of the private enterprise system. Over 1,200 young people of McLennan County and the Rotary District have participated in the event, and the club has invested over $118,000 from the Youth Service Fund in the project.
The Youth Citizenship Award project is designed to recognize outstanding McLennan County high school graduating seniors for their good citizenship and their willingness to serve others. Twenty-two "Outstanding Young Citizens of McLennan County" have been named, and 460 students have been honored since the project started in 1981 at a cost of almost $75,000.
To date, thirty-six students endorsed by the club have been selected by the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International to study abroad on ambassadorial scholarship awards. The club has contributed almost $240,000 to support the programs of The Rotary Foundation including the PolioPlus Campaign to inoculate children all over the world against polio. As of 2002, the club has 155 Paul Harris Fellows; 66 Paul Harris Sustaining Members; and three Benefactors of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International
More than $22,000 in funds and tuition fees were given by the club to support the District's International Student Project, and the club hosted twenty-two international students as they attended Baylor University while participating in the project. Doug Rudman A Wheel That Keeps Turning, an essay by former Waco Rotarian and RGHF historian Joe Kagle