In 1966, the Rotary Club of West Raleigh sought to determine the feasibility of starting a Rotary Club in North Raleigh so Alex Wilson and several others started unofficial meetings and gatherings of civic-minded fellows. Ultimately, during a 7:00 a.m. board meeting at the Ranch House on May 29th, 1967, “Charter Night” for the Rotary Club of North Raleigh was set. By October 2nd, 1967, President Lyman Kiser would receive our Charter from Rotary International. The journey of the Rotary Club of North Raleigh would begin. There is almost a half a century of discovery, collection, organization and presentation of past events for our Club.
There were 36 charter members that first year. Today, there is 1 active Charter Member in our club: Frank Bouknight. During our first year, annual dues were $35 per quarter. We had an annual operating budget of $378.78 and the average club attendance was around 38 members. We have come a long way since that first year. Today our dues collections are approaching one million dollars since the clubs existence and our average attendance is just shy of 50. Approximately one third of dues collections have gone to support over 100 charitable and civic projects.
Since receiving our charter, we have sponsored and helped start 2 other clubs in the area. In 1978 we sponsored the Crabtree Rotary Club and in 1983 we sponsored the Capital City Rotary Club. Both are still active clubs today.
The club meetings during our infant years were held at the North Hills Steak House. In fact, our club has met at several locations. In true Rotarian fashion, our group has met at the North Hill Steak House, Howard Johnson’s at Crabtree, the Flying Cloud Restaurant and the Holiday Inn. None of which are still in existence. Today our club meets at the Sertoma Arts Center on Millbrook Road in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Howard Johnson’s Motel and Restaurant in North Raleigh circa 1960.
Throughout the years our club has received a number of awards, honors and recognition. We received our first “Best Club” award in 1977 under President Aaron Register. We followed that up by winning the “Best Club” award again for the next 3 years in a row and again in 1984. To win the “Best Club” award in District 7710 you must compete in 14 different categories.
1980 Best ClubJune 30, 1980 8:36 am
1978 Best ClubJune 30, 1978 8:34 am
1977 Best ClubJune 30, 1977 8:31 am
As Rotarians, “service above self” is the key statement defining the philosophy and purpose of our association. Rotary is a service organization composed of businessmen and women who have a broad range of interests.
On April 21st, 1970, the Rotary Club of North Raleigh formed its own tax free foundation to distribute funds from our dues to worthy charitable causes. At that time there were only a few foundations like this in the U.S. We relied on one of our members, Dick Liebert, and Raleigh Tax Attorney, Nat Townsend, to form the foundation.
In 1995 an endowment fund was established for our club in the name of Roy Palmer. The purpose of this endowment was to help fund projects typically funded through a portion of Rotary dues. Ninety percent of the income generated each year from the invested principal goes towards funding ongoing projects.
Rotary was initially an all male organization. It was not until 1986 that women became eligible to be members of Rotary. From 1967 to 2007, a 40 year span, all of the presidents of the Rotary Club of North Raleigh were male. But things changed in Rotary year 2007-2008. That was the year that Joan (JJ) Jolliff served as our first female president.
Our club continues to grow and evolve over time. We have emerged over the past decade as one of the most internationally active clubs in our district. Fundraising and membership growth are still major objectives. We will continue to be active in the local community, nationally and worldwide and continue to exist for decades to come!