Business Partner Spotlight:  The Mill Valley Rotary Club

The Tam High Foundation is pleased to announce that the Mill Valley Rotary Club has become a Business Partner.

The Rotary Club is the oldest volunteer service organization in the world. Founded in 1905, it has 1.2 million members and more than 34,000 clubs around the globe. Its members are business professionals who want to engage with their community through volunteerism and service. Its areas of focus include promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water and sanitation, protecting women and children, growing local economies, and supporting education.

In Mill Valley, the Rotary Club is a vibrant organization with over 60 members who represent a cross-section of almost every occupation in Mill Valley. As past president Susan Royce describes them, they are “compassionate, caring individuals who unite for the common good and believe in making our world a better place to live.”

The ways they do that are many. Gardening at Terwilliger Marsh. Giving a dictionary to every third grader in the Mill Valley School District. Volunteering at the Fall Arts Festival. Packing food at the Marin Food Bank. Repairing Mill Valley’s Steps, Lanes, and Paths. Sponsoring Senior Night at the Redwoods. Organizing blood drives. And supporting local nonprofits like the Foundation, Kiddo!, Semper Fi, and Scout Hall.

At Tam, the Rotary Club also sponsors the Interact Club, a service organization for teens. It funds an exchange program that sends a Tam student abroad, sends three Tam students annually to Rotary’s national youth leadership development program (RYLA), and donates generously to the 10,000 Degree scholarship program, which helps Tam students from low-income households attend college.

Internationally, the Mill Valley Rotary Club combines its efforts with Rotary Clubs from around the world to fund a micro-credit program in South America, the Alliance for Smiles, AIDS prevention efforts in Africa and more. As local attorney Greg Dyer says, “The power of a million service-minded business and professional women and men from all over the world working together to help others is awesome.”

Though they joined Rotary to give back to their community, its members have found that they, too, have been enriched by their involvement. Bob Canepa of Mill Valley Market says the satisfaction that comes from helping others is both gratifying and humbling: “I like to think that I am a better person having witnessed and been a part of Rotary’s good work around the globe.” Other members cite the friendships they’ve made – “the members of my Club feel like extended family,” Royce explains.

Perhaps Doug Scherf sums it up best: “Joining Mill Valley Rotary was one of the best decisions I ever made. I have had the opportunity to work with and enjoy 60 of the finest people in the community. Our service projects help less fortunate people both locally and throughout the world. It is personally enriching to be part of an international organization dedicated to peace, goodwill and the welfare of others.”

Rotary members meet once a week for lunch and to hear guest speakers on a wide range of topics.   Though Rotary is “far more than just a lunch club,” Royce says, “the lunches are the glue that holds Rotary together.” They are also the point of entry for prospective new members: anyone interested in joining Rotary is welcome to attend a lunch, meet its members, and learn about the organization. Information about membership and upcoming events is available on the Club’s website, www.millvalleyrotary.org.