Welcome to the Tuscaloosa Rotary!
Rotary is a world-wide organization of business and professional leaders, providing humanitarian service, encouraging high ethical standards in all vocations, and building goodwill and peace in the world. There are more than 32,000 Rotary clubs in about 200 countries, with more than 1.2 million members. The sun never sets on a Rotary meeting or service project!
Rotary is a local service club, bringing together a community of civic-minded citizens for fellowship and service. Membership is by vocational classification, with the expectation that Rotarians represent their business or profession in Rotary, and in turn represent Rotary and its principles among their colleagues.
THE ROTARY CLUB OF TUSCALOOSA WAS CHARTERED IN 1917, only 12 years after the founding of Rotary International. We are proudly Tuscaloosa ʼs oldest civic organization, second oldest of the 55 Rotary clubs in District 6860 (north Alabama), and Number 282 among the more than 32,000 Rotary clubs in the world. From its earliest days, the club actively supported community projects and promoted education through awarding of student scholarships.
Tuscaloosa Rotarians celebrated in 2005 the “100 Years of Service” of Rotary International. Standing proudly at the downtown corner of Greensboro and 8th Street in Tuscaloosa is the Rotary Centennial Clock, a Rotary gift to the citizens of Tuscaloosa County. From its 250 square foot plaza, a 17-foot clock tower offers the correct time on four faces, each of which identifies Rotary. Along with the clock are three monuments with bronze plaques, sharing with the public what Rotary is and what Rotarians stand for – service (community projects) and integrity (the Four-Way Test).
As integration came to the South, Tuscaloosa Rotarians led the way, becoming in 1973 the first Rotary Club in the state to induct a black member. When the RI Constitution was amended to include women in what had previously been an all-male club, Tuscaloosa was among the first in Alabama to cross this barrier. The club has shown continued growth to its present size of more than 200 members.
The Rotary Four-Way Test One of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is The Four-Way Test. Adopted by Rotary in 1943, it has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. It does not mandate any decision or action, but simply asks four questions:
Of the things we think, say or do:
- FIRST: Is it the TRUTH?
- SECOND: Is it FAIR to all concerned?
- THIRD: Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
- FOURTH: Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”
Regular attendance at weekly meetings is expected. As successful business and professional people who are in command of their own schedules, Rotarians are expected to make their presence at Tuesday meetings a priority. The Rotary Constitution requires 50 percent minimum attendance with no more than four consecutive unexcused absences. Missed meetings can be made up by attending another Rotary Club, or a designated Rotary activity or committee, within two weeks before or after the absence. An attendance make-up can also be accomplished “online.”
Rotary is a member-supported organization. Initiation fee is $120 (for former Rotarians $30). This is for pro-rated dues to RI and District, publications, etc. Quarterly dues of $175 (payable in advance during the first month of each quarter), include the weekly meals. New members pay the initiation fee with membership application. Pro-rated dues for the current quarter are billed later by the club treasurer.
Rotary’s Four Avenues of Service
- Club Service ensures effective functioning of the club and focuses on fellowship.
- Vocational Service encourages serving others and practicing high ethical standards.
- Community Service promotes projects and activities to improve life in its community.
- International Service expands Rotary’s global reach, promoting world understanding and peace.
Why Be a Rotarian?
- Opportunity to Serve. Rotarians provide service from community to international levels. Members experience fulfillment from giving back to the community.
- Personal Growth and Development. Membership in Rotary ensures continuing personal and professional development. Organizational planning, team-building, fundraising, and mentoring are just a sampling of the skills that can be enhanced through Rotary.
- Friendship. Fellowship was a primary reason Rotary was started in 1905, and members from multiple businesses and professions greet each other in first-name friendship. Through Rotary a member becomes friends with a broad array of community leaders.
- Professional Networking. A founding principle of Rotary was to provide a forum for professional and business leaders. Rotarians are people who make decisions and influence policy.
- Good Citizenship. Weekly programs keep Rotarians informed about what is taking place in the community, the nation, and the world, making them better citizens.
- Cultural Diversity. Rotary Clubs are open to members of all ethnic, religious, and political groups. They practice and promote tolerance, and Rotarians find instant acceptance and friendship wherever they go.
- Ethical Environment. Promoting high ethical standards has been a hallmark of Rotary from its earliest days. The Rotary 4-Way-Test is four simple questions that encourage truth, fairness, goodwill, and benefit.
- World Understanding. Rotarians gain understanding of humanitarian issues, and have a significant impact through international service projects and exchange programs.
- Entertainment. Rotary events provide diversion from personal and business routines, including fellowship, information, education, and service opportunities.
Rotary Serves – The World and the Community
The Rotary International Foundation (RIF) is the structure through which Rotarians worldwide support humanitarian and educational services. Virtually all Tuscaloosa Rotarians contribute, mostly through quarterly, semi-annual, or annual amounts added to club dues. The contributions accumulate for Paul Harris Fellow (PHF) and multiple-PHF recognition. What does the RIF do? Many things, but the top three are
- International Scholarships – more than any other non-governmental entity;
- Group Study Exchange – hundreds of teams each year in a month-long visit to another society; and
- PolioPlus – Rotaryʼs bold determination to rid the world of the crippling disease.
Tuscaloosa Rotary Memorial Foundation (TRMF)
TRMF was created by the Rotary Club of Tuscaloosa in 1971, as a separate legal entity to provide for tax-deductible contributions for local service. From its first project in 1972-73 to the present, Rotary has raised and contributed more than $750,000. In one way or another, virtually every citizen of Tuscaloosa county has been touched by the service projects of Rotary. Examples of Rotary Community Service are visible in club support of Boy-and-Girl Scouts, the DCH Open-Heart Surgery Suite, FOCUS on Senior Citizens, the Tuscaloosa County Library, Strings in Schools, the Childrenʼs Hands-on Museum, Bama Theatre, Salvation Army, and other social service projects.