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A History of the Rotary Club of Hyannis

Rotary was founded on the basis of exchanging information with people in diversified careers, fellowship, and community service, and encouraged friendship and mutual assistance. On February 23, 1905, Paul Harris, a Chicago lawyer, formed the first club with three other businessmen: Silvester Schiele, a coal merchant; Gustavus Loehr, a mining engineer; and Hiram Shorey, a merchant tailor.

Paul Harris named the new club "Rotary" because members met in rotation at their various places of business. Club membership grew rapidly, and grew from informal get-togethers to weekly lunch and dinner meetings. Soon Paul became convinced that the Rotary club could be developed into an important service movement and strove to extend Rotary to other cities. In 1907, the first Rotary community project was undertaken - the establishment of public comfort stations in Chicago's City Hall. From those humble beginnings, Rotary has now grown to be the number one service organization in the entire world, with more than 1.2 million members representing over 32,000 clubs in 162 countries.

As part of the growing and progressive national and worldwide development of Rotary Clubs, the Rotary Club of Hyannis was formed in the fall of 1925. Hyannis historians among us will recognize that the list of Charter Members as of December of 1925 reads like a "who's who" of the times, with names like Hinckley, Chase, Eldredge, Nickerson and Tobey among them.

The Hyannis Club was organized on October 1, 1925 with 23 members, and was officially admitted to membership in Rotary International on October 26, 1925. Hyannis Rotarians today continue to adhere to the principles of Community Service, Vocational Service, International Service and Club Service, as defined by Rotary International. The Hyannis club has a particularly long and impressive history of activism within the local community. There are 110 active members of the Rotary Club of Hyannis.

Funds for charitable donations are raised through a variety of special projects and events. Community participation in our fundraising efforts is our only means of raising money and goods to support worthwhile community efforts. Some projects over the years have been strictly money-raising events, such as our Home and Garden Show and Media Auction. In the past 15 years, we have raised well over $1 million dollars.

To give you an idea of the organizations and causes that we support, some recent recipients of the Rotary Club of Hyannis donations have been: Barnstable High School, Cape Cod Media Center, Cape & Islands Boy Scouts, Cape Cod Literacy Council, Cape Cod YMCA, Cape Cod Council of Churches, Hyannis Main Street Waterfront District, Gift of Life Program, Dream Day of Cape Cod, Hospice, Hyannis Athletic Association, Hyannis East & West Elementary Schools, Independence House, CHAMP House, Hyannis Public Library, MSPCC, NAACP, Cape Cod Times Needy Fund, Girl Scouts, Polio Plus, Olympics of the Mind, Camp Lyndon, Cape Cod Hospital, Housing Assistance Corp., Salvation Army, Barnstable Senior Citizens, United Way, American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, and many, many more. We will also give out more than $20,000 per year in scholarships to local students in 2006.

The Rotary Club of Hyannis would like to especially thank the wonderful and giving community of Cape Cod for their support of various Rotary Club fundraising events throughout the years. Our mission is to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards, and help build goodwill and peace throughout the world and we could not do it without our local support.