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Service Above Self since 1915

Southeastern North Carolina's oldest, largest and finest       civic organization

What's new

Leaders in Service awards, our annual fundraiserTickets on sale for 2024-25 awards

The club invites the public to attend the May 1 Leaders in Service Awards banquet and meet the three honorees, plus the recipient of a new Legacy Award. By attending, you will help support our many projects both in Wilmington and around the world. Through sponsorships and banquet tickets, this event is the club's chief fund-raiser. The 2023 awards program netted more than $70,000 for our club's projects and grants. Our 2024 goal is $100,000. The $150 banquet ticket price is partially tax-deductible; most goes to our club's foundation. Click to order tickets online.

Bertha Todd named as Rotary's first Legacy Award recipient

Bertha Boykin Todd, recipient of Rotary's first Legacy AwareBertha Boykin Todd, a retired educator who has devoted her life to bridging racial divisions in Wilmington, will receive the club's first-ever Legacy Award at the May 1 Leaders in Service banquet. In the years immediately after school desegregation, she helped high school students navigate the turmoil and violence that followed. She advised mayors, superintendents, and governors and co-chaired the 1898 Centennial Foundation. That remembered the white-supremacist insurrection that overturned Wilmington's bi-racial city government. She also was a major force behind the 1898 memorial on North Third Street.

Law officers, others, honored with 'Service Above Self' award

Police officers, a crime-lab specialist, a judge, and an alert restaurant employee were presented with the Rotary Club's 2024 "Service Above Self" awards on March 5. This annual program recognizes first responders and people in the justice system for actions beyond the call of duty. District Attorney Ben David, a Rotarian, presented the awards. For details, please see our News page.

Rotarians host Boys & Girls Home residents at UNCW game

Six boys from the Rotary Cottage at the Boys & Girls Home of North Carolina enjoyed a UNC-Wilmington basketball game on March 2. The guests, along with three Rotarians, watched the Seahawks defeat the Towson Tigers, 75-64. Each of the boys was treated to food and drink, as well as a Seahawks T-shirt and souvenir cup. David Grandey, Matt Hilliard and Allan Lusk represented the club. Rotarians' next opportunity to support the Boys & Girls Home will be the Rotary Day open house on the Lake Waccamaw campus, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 23.

Rotary sponsors free dental-screening clinic for children

Rotarian and dentist Dr. Gabe Rich examines a patient at free dental clinicTwenty-five low-income children got dental screenings and cleanings at the first of four planned free clinics sponsored by the club. This took place on Feb. 17 at the St. Mary Health Center, housed in the Tileston Building, below St. Mary School. The Rotary club supplied money for supplies, as well as seven volunteers, including dentists Dr. Gabe Rich and Dr. Coleman Burgess. All the patients received exams, cleanings, fluoride treatments, and X-rays and dental sealants as needed. Any dental disease, such as cavities, was documented and the children’s families given referrals for follow-up treatment. All were also given a take-home dental care kit. Additional clinics were scheduled for Feb. 24, March 9, and March 16.

Beginning teachers honored with cash awards

Five second-year teachers in New Hanover County Schools were honored as the 2024 "Rookie Teachers of the Year" on Feb. 13. These Rotary Club awards, issued annually since 2017, are meant to encourage beginning educators to continue in their profession. The top winner received $1,000; the other four got $500 each.

2024 Rookie Teachers of the Year honored by Rotary 

Rookie Teachers of the Year for 2024 are Maggie Sellers, Devin Pierce (top winner), Breylin Young, Sarah Wood, and Melissa Lawrence. Each got cash awards.

2024 Leaders in Service honorees named

Dr. Charles Hardy, founder of UNCW's College of Health & Human Services, honored in the government category Joanne Parker of Wilmington Health Access for Teens, honored in the non-profit category.Brian McMerty, founder of Men on a Mission at St. James Episcopal Church, honored in the private-sector category

From left: honorees Dr. Charles Hardy, Connie Parker, and Brian McMerty

The club's third annual Leaders in Service Awards honorees have been announced. The three will be recognized at a banquet on May 1. They are Dr. Charles Hardy, founding dean of UNCW's College of Health & Human Services, in the government category; Connie Parker of Wilmington Health Access for Teens, in the non-profit category; and Brian McMerty, who led the consolidation of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern North Carolina. Leaders in Service recognizes executives and other leaders who have made outstanding contributions to their community. Through sponsorships and ticket sales, it is the Wilmington Rotary Club's chief fund-raiser.

The latest club newsletter

Keep up with what our big, busy club does with our bi-monthly "Club News." It contains updates on club meetings, members, and our wide range of service projects. The print edition is distributed at club meetings; the digital edition is available here. See the lower left corner of this page for links to recent back issues. For the latest, go to current edition
For more updates, go to news page.

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For Rotarians

Through April 24, 2024: Individual tickets to the May 1 Leaders in Service awards banquet are on sale for $150 each. All proceeds beyond the cost of the dinner will go to the club's charitable foundation, which finances the club's projects and grants. To buy tickets online, or to become a sponsor for this event (sponsorships come with multiple tickets) go to leadersinservice.org.

March 23, 2024: Rotarians from around the state are invited to the Rotary Day open house at the Boys & Girls Home of North Carolina. Visitors will have lunch, learn about the institution's services and needs, and visit the Rotary Cottage. Hours are 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lake Waccamaw campus.

March 21, 2024: The club's new Environmental Committee has arranged a field trip for students at Williston Middle School to explore Burnt Mill Creek with the Cape Fear River Watch volunteer staff.  We need six Rotarians to chaperone the trip, beginning at 10 a.m. To participate, contact Vince Howe, the committee co-chair.

March 21, 2024: The club's annual "Golf Fore Fun" outing will be part of the Paws Ability Golf Tournament at Brick Landing Country Club, Ocean Isle Beach. Rotarians and/or spouses can participate, either by forming four-player teams or individually; individual participants will be assigned to a foursome. Cost is $45 per player and includes lunch. Anyone who wants to play should contact Steve Yates.

Ongoing: Anyone participating in a service project is urged to get photographs of Rotarians at work for use in both public outreach and internal communication. Email  high-resolution photos to the club's PR Committee. (Contact info is in the club handbook.) Also helpful: Please follow, like, and share the club's social-media pages and posts. See links above.

Our club's background

The club was founded in 1915. For details, go to Club History page.

Our members and sponsors support both the Rotary movement's international financial arm and our own charitable foundation. Rotarians contribute to the global Rotary Foundation; they also give and solicit deductible contributions to our tax-exempt Section 501 (c)(3) foundation, The Rotary Club of Downtown Wilmington Foundation. This local foundation pays for our service projects, both locally and internationally, with some projects also aided by grants from The Rotary Foundation. To learn more about our fundraising, go to our club's local RCDW Foundation page and to Leaders in Service.


For details on how we spend our money and volunteer hours, go to Our Projects page.

What we believe

Our club has endorsed Rotary International's diversity, equity and inclusion statements. For details, go to our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion page and to Rotary International's DEI page.

Membership: a choice for fellowship and service

The Wilmington Rotary Club is looking for accomplished business and professional people, of all ages and backgrounds, to become part of our community of service.

For details about how to become a member, go to the Membership page.

Rotary's seven areas of focus

The club's service priorities are based on part on Rotary International's seven areas of focus. (The seventh, the environment, is new in 2021.) The areas of focus are:

  • Peace and conflict prevention/resolution.

  • Disease prevention and treatment.

  • Water and sanitation.

  • Maternal and child health.

  • Basic education and literacy.

  • Economic and community development.

  • The environment.

Rotary's Seven Areas of Focus

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