Most of the Wilmington Rotary Club's work is done by committees. Some of these help keep the club itself operating, while others are focused on the community and more broadly afield. Important project committees include Grants, International Projects, Williston Middle School Legacy Project, Literacy, and Fundraising. What follows are summaries of what each committee does.
NOTE: Committee chairs are invited to supply updated descriptions as their committees' roles may evolve.
These committees are primarily focused on the club's internal workings.
Attendance | Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) | Fifth Wednesday Socials | Golf Fore Fun | Handbook | Health & Happiness | History | Holiday Program | Invocation | Membership Background | Membership Classification | Membership Engagement | Membership Recruitment | Nominating | Programs | Public Relations | Raffle | Rotary 101 | Sergeant at Arms | Sunshine | Technology | Veterans' Day
These committees carry out our projects, both in our own community and worldwide, although some also perform functions for the club's own members.
Boys & Girls Home | Coins for Alzheimer's Research Trust (CART) | Community Service | Fundraising | Grants | Interact & Rotaract | International Projects | Literacy | Public Relations | Rookie Teachers of the Year | Rotary Foundation | Rotary Wheel Garden | Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) | Salvation Army Bell Ringers | Williston Legacy Project
Our club expects members to participate in its activities, whether attending regular meetings or working in committees or on club projects. Committee meetings and projects, as well as visits to other Rotary Clubs, are counted as "make-ups." Those, along with regular meetings, help members meet our standard for participation. This committee keeps track of members' attendance and issues make-up credit for other Rotary involvement.
Boys & Girls Home
Our club, along with other Rotary Clubs in North Carolina, is a long-time supporter of the N.C. Boys & Girls Home at Lake Waccamaw. This committee helps supply physical needs at the home's Rotary Cottage, and sponsors outings for the cottage's residents.
This committee regularly encourages members to make weekly cash donations to the CART fund for Alzheimer's disease research. CART stands for Coins for Alzheimer's Research Trust, but we not only welcome but encourage donations of folding money, both cash and checks. Blue CART buckets are placed on lunch tables at every weekly meeting. The CART Committee also conducts other fund-raising projects to help combat the fastest growing, most expensive terminal disease in America.
Rotary District Grants require that any projects funded include hands-on participation by Rotarians. This committee's purpose is to coordinate with the recipients of grants, both from our club's foundation and from District 7730, and and organize workdays to support the recipients' cause.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee began in 2013 as the Four-Way Test Committee, formed to address how well the club’s policies and procedures live up to the Four-Way Test. Rotary International, which represents a wide range of cultures and experiences, has increasingly urged clubs to educate our members about DEI issues and to take meaningful and measurable actions. The Rotary International Board adopted a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statement in 2019; the next year, it formed a DEI Task Force to develop a comprehensive worldwide action plan. Then in 2021, Rotary International adopted an expanded DEI Statement. This club’s DEI Committee is following that task force’s lead, as well as developing and supporting local activities to enhance our impact in the community. This committee, diverse in age, race, and abilities, has lively discussions; its members support each other in our personal growth. Members are expected to participate in hands-on DEI projects centered on Rotary’s seven areas of focus. At present, the committee is learning more about how early interventions in child health and welfare can help counter adverse environments.
Fifth Wednesday Socials
This committee organizes a social for all area Rotary Clubs on the fifth Wednesday of each month that has one. These are afternoon gatherings at commercial venues, where members are responsible for buying their own beverages but the hosts often supply snacks. The committee needs members to help choose locations, increase attendance and suggest interesting activities or programs during these events.
Once a year the club conducts a fundraising campaign to raise the money necessary to support all of the next year's service projects. These events typically take place in the spring, before the beginning of the Rotary fiscal year in July. This committee needs volunteers to help with marketing, sales, technical support, and project planning and management. Everyone in the club should participate, at least as a sponsor or by buying tickets to our annual fund-raising event. Net proceeds, after expenses, go to our club's tax-exempt non-profit, the RCDW Foundation, which means a portion of sponsorships and ticket sales may be tax-deductible. For more details about the current fund-raiser, see the Leaders for Service website.
Golf Fore Fun
Our annual golf outing gives both accomplished players and hopeless duffers a chance to socialize in the great outdoors. Usually scheduled in the spring, Golf Fore Fun is a captain's choice event, open to any Rotarian and to guests. It is an alternative to the regular Tuesday lunch meeting.
Serves as the liaison between District 7730's annual matching grant program and local agencies that offer support to our community. Each year our district makes funds available as a one-to-one match with our club's investment on individual projects. Each year, the Grants Committee solicits applications, due in June. The committee recommends projects to the club's Board of Directors, which passes its recommendations to the district. District grants are approved in September. We help applicants tailor their projects to fit Rotary's Seven Areas of Focus, and to meet requirements for sustainability and active participation by Rotarians. Finally, the committee follows up with each grantee to make sure programs are started as promised, include Rotarians, and are completed by March of the following year.
Rotary’s Seven 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
For details about submitting an application for club or district grants, see our grant request guidelines.
This committee compiles biographical information about all members and uses it to produce a printed club directory in handbook format. This book gives our members important information about one another, including contact details, committee assignments and birthdays. The committee gathers and updates information, including photos of all members, and supplies it to our printer for publication. Working on the handbook is an excellent way to get to know all our members.
Health & Happiness
Members of this committee address the club as a regular feature of our weekly meetings. About every eight weeks, each member of the committee will have about four minutes to recognize club members' birthdays, the anniversaries of members' joining the club, and mention of any health issues among Rotarians or their families. The week's speaker then shares a positive thought or saying that they feel will be beneficial to all concerned. Health & Happiness material should not be controversial or political.
This committee saves, compiles and archives documents related to the club's activities. Members coordinate with the Special Collections Library at UNC-Wilmington's Randall Library, which houses the Herman Blizzard Archive of this club's history. It carries the name of the late club president and district governor who collected documents, photos and memorabilia from the club's early years. The librarians digitize our documents to make them available online. Members of this committee should be familiar with club documents such as our Constitution and bylaws. To browse the Herman Blizzard Rotary Archives, go to UNCW Digital Collections.
For guidance on using the archive, go to finding aid. Please note that contents listed in the finding aid reference hard copy material available in person at Randall Library. It is not available digitally.
The club's last meeting every December, before taking a two-week break for the Christmas and New Year's holidays, is a family holiday party. Members are encouraged to invite spouses, children and grandchildren to attend. This committee plans and coordinates the program, which includes musical entertainment, a visit from Santa Claus, and sometimes special fund-raising events for specific club projects. Chief qualifications for this committee are an interest in party planning and good organizational skills.
Interact & Rotaract
Rotary has two youth organizations; Interact clubs are primarily for high school students; Rotaract clubs are for college students and other young adults. This committee fosters and maintains active participation in Interact Clubs at area high schools and with UNC-Wilmington's Rotaract Club. Our focus is to seek high school and college faculty members as sponsors in their respective schools. One method for gaining sponsorships is recruiting more faculty to become Rotarians. Another method for forming Interact clubs is to engage the interest of students returning from their RYLA experience. Keeping a Rotaract charter at UNCW is an ongoing challenge, but including Rotaract members in club and district activities helps to maintain the club's presence on campus.
This committee plans and coordinates our club's outreach around the globe by selecting and carrying out projects. Historically, we have taken the lead on projects to install water-supply systems in villages in Honduras, schools and orphanages in India, and villages in Guyana. These and more recent international projects have been collaborations among Rotary Clubs in Wilmington and elsewhere in the U.S., local Rotary clubs overseas, and other local players including charitable organizations and community residents. Funding from our own club's foundation is typically combined with grants from other clubs, matched with Rotary District Grants and, sometimes, with large Rotary Global Grants. Those grant funds come from The Rotary Foundation. Current and recent international projects have included:
- Public health initiatives and library improvements in Moldova, a project led by Wilmington East Rotary Club.
- A major Global Grant project to combat malaria, build latrines and dig wells in Sierra Leone, led by our club but with participation by other clubs.
- Investment in Kiva.org, a "micro-lending" agency that provides small loans to business people and farmers in developing countries. When these loans, used to buy such assets as livestock, sewing machines, or retail inventory, are repaid, the funds roll over for use in new lending.
- Repairs to the water supply system at a children's home in Georgetown, Guyana, a project led by the Rotary Club of Chestnut Hill, PA.
- Aid to orphanages and hands-on participation in dental clinics in Ukraine, in partnership with the North Raleigh Rotary Club and Ukrainian Rotarians.
- Financial support for Salud Hondu, which provides health services to rural communities in Honduras, a project begun by a former member of this club now retired and living in Honduras.
The club has a long-standing tradition of opening each meeting with a non-sectarian invocation. Members of this committee alternate performing this duty. While some members of this committee are clergy, most are lay people. Each member is normally assigned to deliver an invocation each week for a full month before that duty rotates to other members.
This committee carries out much of our club's work toward one of Rotary's areas of focus: basic education and literacy. We support six New Hanover County elementary schools that have high proportions of low-income students, many of them immigrants or refugees for whom English is a second language.
- College Park
- International School at Gregory
- Mary C. Williams
- Rachel Freeman School of Engineering
- Sunset Park
Every year, we divide $5,000 among these schools to buy books. In normal times, committee volunteers also tutor children at these schools in reading and math, though that work has been suspended during the covid pandemic. A new project is to install a Little Free Library at each school. These are weatherproof boxes, mounted on a pole, that hold donated books. Anyone can take out or deposit books. Those we supply will hold books suitable for elementary-school students. In the 2020-21 Rotary year, the committee obtained a Rotary District Grant that paid for training for educators and volunteers about how to talk to people who are learning English.
This committee reviews and acts upon membership applications, formally known as Proposals. Any current club member may propose a new member. The committee determines if the Proposal form has been completely and accurately filled out. That form comes with a checklist to help the sponsoring member acquaint the candidate with the club’s expectations of its members. We are specifically looking to see if the candidate has shown evidence of previous community service and is likely to become an active, contributing, “Service Above Self” member of the club. Before voting to approve a candidate for membership, committee members may ask the sponsor for additional information. The result of our vote is sent to the club secretary, who arranges for the induction of new members.
This committee determines which business or vocation classification each member fits into. This is a remnant of Rotary's original structure, in which members in a wide variety of professions held "rotating" meetings at each other's place of business. Now that Rotary no longer places any limits on how many members a club can have in any classification, this is mostly useful information for members. We can refer to our colleagues' classifications, found in the club handbook, when considering doing business with one another.
This committee's purpose is to fully engage new members as soon as they join the club in hopes of retaining their membership. We believe the best way to accomplish this is to get them oriented to the club and involved in its activities. The committee appoints a mentor to help each new member integrate into the club during the first year. We will carry out various other activities to inform new members and make them feel welcomed and valued. When any member leaves the club, we will
conduct exit interviews to learn what they liked about the club and they think we need to improve. Finally, we are giving renewed priority to three-minute new-member talks during club meetings, by which new members will introduce themselves to the club.
This committee helps identify candidates for membership and guides applicants through the process. It makes information about the club, including a brochure and other literature, available to prospective Rotarians, and processes the proposals by which current members sponsor new ones. Applications are then passed to the Membership Background and Membership Classification committees for review. Prospective members are invited to attend at least three club meetings, usually as their sponsor's guest, before being proposed for membership. Once a proposal has been submitted, all members of the club are given an opportunity to comment or raise an objection before the club's Board of Directors acts to accept or reject a proposal. In virtually every case, this is a formality. New members are inducted at a brief public ceremony at which their sponsors introduce them.
Each year, the club's president-elect chairs this committee and appoints its other members. Their job is to nominate five new members to the club's Board of Directors. Each member serves a three-year term. The club's presidents are chosen from the Board members, in a secret-ballot vote of the entire board.
This committee solicits and selects speakers for our weekly meetings. Selection is based first on our Four-Way Test. Prospective speakers and programs are then evaluated for general interest and entertainment and/or educational value. Added weight is given to speakers who have a relationship to Rotary, such as via sponsorship or historic ties. Members of this committee are tasked with researching, recommending and scheduling guest speakers. They should also be prepared to supply the club with meaningful information about future speakers' intended topics.
The committee's primary mission is to share our story with the community. It is actively engaged in communicating both internally, with our members, and with the public through press releases and other public messages. Typical external communications concern the induction of new members, the club's activities, and events involving our Rotary district. Recent publicity efforts have been related to the club's grants, DEI initiatives, a Rotary booth at a local business exposition, and a planned visit to our region by Rotary International's president. This is a good committee for members who want to learn more about all that we do; and those who have good organizational skills, understand how to write news releases, and/or understand social media. An important task is promoting our causes, activities and fund-raisers on the club's Facebook page.
Also under this committee's umbrella are the club's internal communications, including the bi-monthly newsletter, and such functions as photography that contribute to our various communication channels.
We hold a raffle at our weekly meetings; tickets are sold for $1 each or ten for $5. Four tickets are drawn; winners get $5 cash. The fourth ticket entitles the holder to draw from a deck of playing cards. (Those who buy ten tickets can draw two cards.) Drawing either the king of clubs or queen of clubs (get it?) earns the winner one-third of the accumulated pot. The rest goes into our CART fund. If we don't have a winner, the pot rolls over to the next week. The deck also rolls over, but as cards are drawn it gets smaller and the odds of winning get better. The raffle committee assigns members to sell tickets, draw tickets, and distribute prizes. Each member will handle the raffle about every six weeks.
Rookie Teachers of the Year
This small committee coordinates our annual awards program for beginning educators. In keeping with Rotary's Basic Education area of focus, this is aimed at combatting a tendency for teachers to leave the profession after just a few years. Two Rotarians sit on a New Hanover County Schools committee that nominates five teachers, in their second year on the job, and selects one overall winner. The committee conducts a program, typically in January or February, at which the five teachers are honored. Each teacher gets opportunity to speak to the club, and receives gifts that include a cash award.
As its name implies, Rotary 101 is a series of informal classes to teach Rotarians the basics of Rotary, including the history of Rotary International and of our club. Sessions take place before our regular lunch meetings on the second Tuesday of each month. Committee members conduct these sessions, using a variety of written materials.
This committee promotes the benefits of members' support for Rotary’s charity, The Rotary Foundation, in funding both local and global projects. This funding takes the form of grants, selected by our Grants Committee or International Projects Committee and approved by the club’s Board of Directors. Promotional efforts include educating club members about The Rotary Foundation, increasing Annual Fund and PolioPlus Fund giving to meet the club's goals, and recognizing individuals who make substantial contributions as Paul Harris Fellows, multiple Paul Harris Fellows, Paul Harris Society members, and Major Donors. This committee also maintains a liaison with the board of the club's local charitable arm, the Rotary Club of Downtown Wilmington Foundation (RCDWF).
Rotary Wheel Garden
The Rotary Wheel Garden in Greenfield Park was this club's gift to the City of Wilmington on our 50th anniversary in 1965. In the shape of a huge gear wheel, visible from the air, it is the world's largest Rotary emblem. In the years afterward, in collaboration with other Rotary Clubs, most of them founded after the garden was built, we have invested money and labor on improvements and maintenance. This committee's purpose is to collaborate with those other Rotary Clubs as well as the city's Parks and Recreation department to maintain the garden and nearby park area.
This committee identifies high school juniors from public and private schools in New Hanover County as participants in Wilmington's Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA) conference in December, and from them chooses participants for our Rotary District's RYLA Conference. That three-day retreat takes place each January at the Trinity Center in Pine Knoll Shores in Carteret County. Members of Wilmington's six Rotary Clubs select those top students during the half-day local RYLA session. It takes place at UNC-Wilmington. Students are nominated by their school guidance counselors. Participating clubs cover cost, including transportation, for the district event.
Salvation Army Bell Ringers
Every December, our club volunteers to help the local Salvation Army chapter raise money for its holiday programs, which help families and others in need. This committee schedules members of our club, in pairs, for two-hour shifts ringing bells at a Salvation Army collection kettle outside the Sam's Club store on South College Road one day a week during the Christmas holiday season. All Rotarians -- not just committee members -- are encouraged to volunteer for this duty. (In many years, our club wins an unofficial competition among the civic organizations that also help the Salvation Army: which club's kettles raise the most money.)
Sergeant at Arms
This committee with the quaint, old-fashioned name staffs the check-in table at our weekly meetings, ensures that members check into our database so they get credit for attendance, and keeps track of visiting Rotarians and other visitors who come to meetings as members' guests. As a regular part of each meeting, a member of this committee will introduce the guests and other visitors. This committee is also responsible for setting up our meeting space each week.
Aimed at morale among Rotarians, members, this committee sends birthday greetings to the club's members, as well as staying in touch with those who may have health problems or other personal challenges.
New in 2021, this committee manages the online components of our "hybrid" meetings, which many members attend virtually through the internet and video software. They manage equipment, including a large new flat-screen monitor and two donated laptops. Members ensure that video links, slide shows and other functions are working correctly, and monitor the chat windows so virtual participants can ask questions and otherwise participate. They also record the session for those who can’t attend, and send out secure links to those recordings.
Every November, the club recognizes the service of the armed forces veterans among our members. Starting in 2019, the club has sponsored a float in Wilmington's Veterans' Day parade. The committee arranges for a guest speaker the week of Veterans' Day who can speak on a topic relevant to veterans' issues. Also, the club produces a printed and digital "Tribute to Veterans" publication, with photos and brief descriptions of veterans' military service.
Williston Legacy Project
The Williston Legacy Committee was established in 2011 with the goal of supporting the students and staff of an inner-city middle school. The idea was to undertake a project that would continue year after year, different from most of the club's grant-supported projects. It was inspired by one of Rotary International's areas of focus, on basic education and literacy. This is one of the club's largest committees, and handles one of the largest budgets. At Williston Middle School, we have provided financial and volunteer help for programs including:
- Tutoring in math and reading
- Gift baskets with school supplies and a gift card for teachers at the start of each school year
- Running Club
- School store, a new initiative to help students learn such skills as bookkeeping, inventory control and sales.
- Snacks for teachers and staff delivered every Tuesday
- Battle of the Books, helping to buy new library books and support an annual reading contest
- Science Olympiad, helping to buy equipment needed for students to compete in county and state level competitions
- STEM, helping to support the school's effort to establish a science, technology, engineering and math curriculum
- Student of the Month awards
In our Student of the Month program, we ask teachers to nominate students they believe live their lives by the Rotary Four-Way Test. Each month Rotarians join in a school award ceremony to celebrate these students, usually around 15 each time.
Members of the students' families are invited to attend. Honored students receive a framed certificate, a copy of the teachers' nominating statement, a gift card, a
Williston Student of the Month yard sign, a Rotary coin engraved with the Four-Way Test, a book bag from the New Hanover County Friends of the library, a T-shirt, and a snack cake. At the end of each school year, our committee takes all the students honored on a field trip. Destinations have included the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher and the UNC-Wilmington campus.