Member Handbook

La Grande Rotary Club

Member Handbook

Updated December 2016

A service organization of business and professional leaders worldwide who conduct humanitarian projects, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and work toward world understanding and peace.

Table of Contents

             Welcome, New Rotarian!            5

             A History of the La Grande Rotary Club            6

            Rotary Standards and Beliefs            7

            Rotary International Structure            10

            La Grande Rotary Structure            12

            Special La Grande Rotary Programs            14

             Expectations of La Grande Rotarians            15 

            Sponsoring New Members            17

            Online Resources            18

 Welcome, New Rotarian!

            Congratulations!  You have been selected to join about 50 members of the La Grande Rotary Club, which has provided international and community service since 1926.  We are part of a global network of 1.2 million members in 34,000+ clubs around the world, each of whom subscribes to the Rotary motto, Service Above Self.

Rotary is an organization of business and professional men and women worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.  As a new member, you will have the opportunity to mingle with a host of La Grande area men and women, learn about their work and their families, and together, provide service to enhance our community.  Your privileges as a Rotarian include:

  • Fellowship with people of like ideals.
  • Meaningful service to your community and your vocation.
  • Unique opportunities to promote international friendship.
  • Broad acquaintance with leaders of other businesses and professions.
  • Participating in stimulating programs at weekly meetings.
  • A subscription to the month magazine The Rotarian.
  • Proposing new members of your club.
  • Developing leadership skills while serving on committees.
  • Meeting other Rotarians when making up attendance at other Rotary clubs.
  • Participating in our District Conferences and International Conventions.
  • Participating in our District Training Assemblies.

Join us each Tuesday 12 – 1 p.m. for lunch in the Northeast Oregon Public Transit Building, 2204 E Penn Ave in La Grande (behind the Social Security Office on Cove Ave).  We enjoy fine programs and fellowship, and plan and report on a myriad of service projects.  This handbook is designed to answer your questions about Rotary.  Your sponsor and mentor will help you understand practices and procedures, help get you involved, and will assist you in advancing from the “red badge” to the “blue badge,” a symbol of full membership.  We look forward to your participation and growing commitment to Rotary and its ideals.

A sincere and a hearty welcome! 

 A History of the La Grande Rotary Club

Written by the late George Fleshman, Historian and Member

Rotary was founded in Chicago on February 23, 1905, by Paul Harris, a young attorney who gathered together a group of men, each in a different profession, for the purpose of promoting professional fellowship and organizing service projects to enhance their communities.  The club met in rotation at the various places of business, which prompted them to adopt the name “Rotary.”  To assure that the club included a cross-section of the business and professional community, only one representative was initially admitted, thus the beginning of the membership by classification.  In 1910, a similar club was formed in Canada, and the service movement became “international” with Paul Harris as its first international president.

Clubs are organized and become chartered when sponsored by another nearby club.  The Downtown Portland Rotary Club was formed in 1910 and soon sponsored other clubs across Oregon.  The Pendleton Rotary Club was sponsored and formed in 1920, and six years later sponsored the La Grande Rotary Club, which received its charter on March 8, 1926.  The La Grande Club then sponsored the Baker City Rotary Club in 1956, the Wallowa County Rotary Club in 1978, and the La Grande Sunrise Rotary Club in 1989.

Floyd McKennon was the first president of La Grande Rotary, followed by J.T. Longfellow, followed by George Birnie, followed by Dr. Ray Murphy, who was the last charter member at the time of his death in 1975.  The first meeting place for the club was a restaurant at a small golf course near the Grande Ronde River.  For many years, the small ballroom of the Sacajawea Hotel on Adams Avenue and Fir Street served as the meeting place.  Other La Grande restaurants have hosted Rotary, most recently the La Grande Elks Club and the Presbyterian Friendship Center.

Initially, Rotary was strictly for men.  After a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 1988, women were welcomed into clubs.  In La Grande, Julie Fitzgerald-Bodfish became the first woman member; Barbara Hicks has the distinction of being elected the first woman president for La Grande Rotary, for the 1998-1999 year.

The La Grande Rotary Club has generously contributed funds and member service to organize projects that promote and enhance our community.  Lasting projects include a cabin and a bridge at the Boy Scout Camp at Wallowa Lake in the 1960s.  Recent projects include the sale of products from Ecuador to fund village businesses; university and high school choir trip funding; drug and alcohol use prevention and education; and a new pavilion at Pioneer Park, which was completed in 2005 for the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Rotary.

A few fundraisers of the past include breakfasts for fall hunters, suit sales, a County Fair food booth, long-stem rose sales, sausage feeds, the Holiday Home Tour, the Ultimate Garage Sale, and an Enchilada Dinner. The current and only fundraiser for the club is the Daddy Daughter Dance. Fund raised are used primarily to support our Rotary Dictionary Project for Union County third graders, the Drug-Free Youth (D-FY) program at the La Grande Middle School, our Rotary Youth Exchange program, and annual scholarships for Eastern Oregon University students and scholar-athletes from La Grande High School, and educational support of ten young women in El Salvador.

Members contribute significant service by providing leadership, raising funds, and working together on many projects.  In addition to Rotary, members serve on various community service, church and youth organization boards, modeling the Rotary motto, Service Above Self.

 Rotary Standards and Beliefs

            The Rotary Wheel Emblem.  The wheel – long a symbol of Rotary – is said to illustrate “civilization and movement.”  The first design was a simple wagon wheel with a few lines to show dust and motion.  In 1922, it was decided all clubs would have the same design and by 1923 a geared wheel with 24 cogs and six spokes around a center “keyway” (to attach to a power shaft) was adopted as the international emblem.  This gear wheel identifies Rotarians worldwide and signifies the Rotarian as a worker serving others.

            The Object of Rotary.  The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise, and in particular, to encourage and foster:

1.   The development of acquaintance as the opportunity for service.

2.   High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society.

3.   The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life.

4.  The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

            The Rotary Four-Way Test.  The Four-Way Test was adopted by Rotary in 1943.  It was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 when he was asked to direct the Chicago-based Club Aluminum Company, which was facing bankruptcy and mired in depression-era financial difficulties.  He developed a 24-word code of ethics for all employees to follow in their business and professional lives.  The Four-Way Test became the guide for sales, production, advertising, and all relations with dealers and customers.  The survival of the company was credited to this simple philosophy.  The test, now translated into more than 100 languages, has become a standard for professional ethics, and is often recited in Rotary club meetings.

Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the Truth?
  2. Is it Fair to all concerned?
  3. Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?
  4. Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?

             The Rotary Motto, Service Above Self.  The first motto of Rotary International approved in 1911 in Portland, Oregon, was He Profits Most Who Serves Best.  The Rotary Club in Minneapolis had adopted the principle Service, Not Self.  In 1950 the two slogans were modified and the official mottoes of Rotary became He Profits Most Who Serves Best and Service Above Self.  In 1989 the singular Service Above Self was adopted to best reflect the mission of Rotary.

The Rotary Code of Conduct.  As a Rotarian, I will:

1.      Exemplify the core value of integrity in all behaviors and activities.

2.      Use my vocational experience and talents to serve in Rotary.

3.      Conduct all of my personal, business, and professional affairs ethically, encouraging and fostering high ethical standards as an example to others.

4.      Be fair in all dealings with others and treat them with the respect due to them as fellow human beings.

5.      Promote recognition and respect for all occupations that are useful to society.

6.      Offer my vocational talents to provide opportunities for young people, to work for the relief of special needs of others, and to improve the quality of life in my community.

7.      Honor the trust that Rotary and fellow Rotarians provide, and not do anything that will bring disfavor or reflect adversely on Rotary or fellow Rotarians.

8.      Not seek from a fellow Rotarian a privilege or advantage not normally accorded others in a business or professional relationship.

Rotary’s Areas of Focus.  For more than a 100 years, Rotarians have joined together from all continents, cultures and industries to take action in our communities and around the world.  While Rotarians may serve in countless ways, Rotary has focused its efforts in six areas that reflect some of the most critical and widespread humanitarian needs:

1.            Peace and conflict prevention/resolution.

2.             Disease prevention and treatment.

3.            Water and sanitation.

4.            Maternal and child health.

5.            Basic education and literacy.

6.            Economic and community development. 

Special Rotary Observances

  • January:  Rotary Awareness Month to expand knowledge and awareness of Rotary.
  • February:  World Understanding Month to promote goodwill and international understanding.
  • March:  Literacy Month to highlight successful literacy projects and increase awareness of our community’s literacy needs.
  • April:  Rotary Magazine Month to promote the Rotarian Magazine.
  • May:   District 5100 Conference to celebrate the current Rotary year.
  • June:  International Conference and Rotary Fellowship Month to encourage Rotary Fellowships to conduct local and international service projects in conjunction with shared interests or professions.
  • July:  Beginning of the New Rotary Year.
  • August:  Membership and Extension Month to focus on the importance of exciting and effective service projects to attract and engage members.
  • September:  New Generations Month to emphasize programs that serve children and youth.
  • October:  Vocational Service Month to promote vocational service activities, and highlight the importance of business and professional lives of Rotarians.
  • November:  Rotary Foundation Month to promote giving to
    The Rotary Foundation through “Every Rotarian, Every Year,” “Sustaining Members,” and “Paul Harris Fellows.”

 Rotary International Structure

Rotary International and Rotary Districts

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders who dedicate their time and talents to tackle the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. Rotary connects 1.2 million members from 34,000+ clubs from more than 200 countries and geographical areas.  Their work impacts lives at both the local and international levels from helping families in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world.

Rotary International (RI) is headquartered in Chicago.  Rotary International leadership includes a president, a 19-member board of directors, and various committees.  The International President is elected annually and develops a theme and emphasis for the year.

Clubs are organized into 530 districts worldwide.  Districts are organized into 34 zones worldwide, each with about the same number of Rotarians.  Each Rotary District is led by a district governor who is an officer of RI.  The district governor, assistant governor, and district committees guide and support local clubs.  The La Grande Rotary Club is in Zone 25 and District 5100, which has 76 clubs and about 3,800 members in northern Oregon and southwest Washington.

Rotary also includes Interact clubs for ages 12-18, Rotaract clubs for ages 18-30, and Rotary Community Corps for non-Rotarians who share similar community goals.

The Rotary Foundation 

The Rotary Foundation is what powers Rotary, both locally and internationally. Every Rotarian is encouraged to donate $100 each year to The Rotary Foundation to enable Rotary to do its good works around the world.  Once a Rotarian has personally donated $1,000, he or she has earned the prestigious title of Paul Harris Fellow.  To learn more about Rotary, its structure, The Rotary Foundation and how to give, please visit

Global and District grants from The Rotary Foundation are available to clubs to help finance local, national and international service projects.  Beginning with the 2015-16 Rotary year, District grants will match our funds (up to $2,000) 1:1 only if our club’s giving to the Rotary Foundation Annual Fund averaged $100 per member over the previous two years combined (2013-14 and 2014-15).  If our club does not meet that goal now or in the future, the District match drops to 50%.

To learn more about grants and how to access them, please attend one of several Grant Management Seminars that are offered each spring by District 5100.

District and Club Database on District Website

The District 5100 website ( contains the “District and Club Database” or DaCdb (referred to as DAK-dee-bee).  DaCdb is the master database for all district information, and can be accessed and updated by individual members, District Chairs, Club Officers and District Administrators.  Once you log into the website and click on the “My Club” tab at the top, you will find a complete membership roster of the La Grande Rotary Club.  We encourage you to update your personal profile and contact information, including uploading a photo of yourself.  You may do so by clicking the “My Data” tab at the top of the page.

DaCdb offers several different reports such as our membership roster, attendance records, name badges, and Rotary Foundation giving reports.  Some reports are accessible only to certain club officers.  The database is tied to RI’s database, which automatically updates when we make changes to DaCdb.  When you log into the District website, instructions for DaCdb appear on the home screen. 

“Rotary Club Central” on RI Website

Each spring our club President Elect is required by District 5100 to input various goals for the upcoming Rotary year on “Rotary Club Central” at the Rotary International website. Goals range from member recruitment and retention to Rotary Foundation Annual Fund contributions.  Any member of the club may view these goals.  To access Club Central, visit  Log in using your username and password (normally your email address and Rotary membership number).  Scroll down and click on “Rotary Club Central,” then click on “View Goals.”  You are also encouraged to update your Rotary profile and upload a photo of yourself by clicking on “My Profile.”  If you have already updated your profile and included a photo on DaCdb, it will automatically update here.

 La Grande Rotary Structure

Board of Directors

Each year the membership elects the Board of Directors, which is the governing body of the La Grande Rotary Club and includes the following officers:

President                                    Treasurer

President Elect                        Past President

Vice President                        6 Directors


The board currently meets the first Monday of each month at 5:15 PM. at the La Grande Senior Center and all Rotary members are welcome to attend.  Detailed duties and responsibilities of officers are included in the La Grande Rotary Club Bylaws.  Specific board responsibilities include:

  • Developing and administering an annual budget.
  • Approving new members.
  • Planning fundraising projects.
  • Approving service projects and other Rotary events.
  • Overseeing of all committees.

Club Mission and Goals

In May 2013, the La Grande Rotary Club participated in a long-range planning exercise with representatives from District 5100 to develop priorities for the subsequent five years.  Listed below are the five priorities, and areas of growth and development for the future.  Based on these priorities, the club articulated its mission.  Please visit the club’s website for details,

1.            Youth Service and DFY subcommittee

2.              Service Projects

3.            International Projects

4.            Membership

5.            The Rotary Foundation

Our mission: La Grande Rotarians believe in their community and are committed to the youth of Union County and beyond through effective projects that provide opportunity, education and service.

Club Committees

In an effort to focus our attention and energy, the board condensed a long list of committees in 2013 to five key committees, with the intention that every club member participate in one committee.  The list of committees is as follows.

1.            Youth Service Committee, which focuses on the Drug-Free Youth program at the La Grande Middle School, our Rotary Youth Exchange program, our Dictionary Project for all third-graders in Union County, our scholarships to Eastern Oregon University students and La Grande High School scholar-athletes, and the Rotary Youth Leadership Award (RYLA).


2.            Service Projects Committee, which focuses on our annual Thanksgiving Breakfast for seniors and veterans in Union County, our Summer Picnic for Special Olympians and families, our Christmas Choral Luncheon with other service clubs in our area, Community Clean-up Days, our local building projects, and our international projects.


3.            Membership Committee, which focuses on recruiting and mentoring new members, retaining current members, scheduling greeters at lunch meetings and other events, hosting Fireside gatherings, educating members and others about Rotary, and organizing our annual Rotary Banquet.


4.            The Rotary Foundation Committee, which promotes the various forms of giving to the Annual Fund and PolioPlus Fund, tracks contributions and progress toward Paul Harris Fellows, coordinates district and global grants, and acts as the liaison with our local 501(c)3 La Grande Rotary Foundation.


5.            Communications Committee, which produces our weekly bulletin and schedules our lunch programs, maintains our club website and Facebook pages, writes news releases, emails reminders to members, maintains our club calendar, and coordinates club brochures, fliers, and advertising.


 Special La Grande Rotary Programs

             Youth Exchange Program.  La Grande Rotary Club has been active in the International Youth Exchange Program since 1971.  For each “outbound” student sponsored from the community, an “inbound” student is hosted within the community.  The La Grande Rotary Club has an excellent reputation for quality hosting and support of international students.  Host families have long reported quality experiences and cultural benefits.

Local students who apply to live for the year in another country are carefully screened by a local Rotary team.  Upon selection, students receive orientation and are supported in part by the local club.  Three host families are arranged for each inbound student.   Families are interviewed and carefully selected to provide an appropriate and safe environment for inbound students for the school year.

            Drug-Free Youth (D-FY) Program.  The Drug-Free Youth Program is a voluntary prevention and intervention peer-support program for La Grande Middle School youth who have made a decision to abstain from drugs and alcohol.  Working with school counselors, police, the Grande Ronde Hospital and social workers, youth who choose to participate are recognized and positive behavior reinforced when they demonstrate a commitment to a more positive lifestyle.  Rotary volunteers work as needed with students.  Written parental or guardian consent is required and students must submit to urine testing and counseling.

Dictionary Project.  Since 2006, our club has provided Webster paperback dictionaries to every third-grader in Union County.  Rotarians volunteer to visit each third-grade classroom to present the dictionaries and help teach the students how to use the books.  We have distributed more than 3,000 dictionaries since 2006.

            Student Scholarships.  Each year the club provides two $1,000 scholarships to an outstanding male and female scholar-athlete at the La Grande High School.  Since 2010, we have also donated $1,000 to the Eastern Oregon University Foundation scholarship program to assist exemplary students with their education.

            Rotary Youth Leadership Award Program.  Young people ages 19 through 29 apply for participation in RYLA, a leadership development program that includes an intensive week-long training in the Portland area with other young people.  Students may be nominated by their school or employer.  The club provides financial support for registration and living costs.

            For more information about our club projects and achievements over the past decade, please see the flier “La Grande Rotary, Our Last Decade of Service.”

 Expectations of La Grande Rotarians

            Red Badge and Blue Badge.  To enable the identification and support of new members by the La Grande Rotary Club membership, a “red badge” is issued as part of the initial induction.  The sponsor of the new member will assist in helping the new member understand the organization, standards, and expectations of Rotary.  They will also help the new member meet the requirements for full membership and award the standard “blue badge.”  To earn a blue badge, a new member must:

  1. Attend a La Grande Board of Directors meeting.
  2. Attend a meeting of another Rotary Club.
  3. Serve as a Greeter at two lunch meetings.
  4. Attend a scheduled Rotary Fireside.
  5. Become active on a committee.

            Initiation Fee and Dues.  Rotarians pay a one-time initiation fee of $50 in addition to monthly dues of $60, payable at the beginning of each month.  The club Treasurer will provide an invoice.  The monthly $60 fee covers the cost of all lunches and dues.  This includes annual Rotary International dues of $73.28 and annual District 5100 dues of $40.50 per member, as well as a subscription to the monthly magazine The Rotarian.  Also included are the Rotary Banquet dinner for two, the Summer Picnic for Special Olympians and families (including your own!), and one Christmas Luncheon meal.  When a member sponsors a new member, $50 is credited to the sponsoring member’s account.

Meals and Make-Up Meetings.  Weekly guest lunches are available for $7.  Members may pay our Treasurer that day or ask to have the lunch charged to your La Grande Rotary account.  Meals for our guest speakers are paid by the club.  When members attend other Rotary clubs, they are to pick up a meeting “make-up card” from that club.  Upon submitting a make-up card to our Treasurer or Secretary, a member will be credited $7 for lunch.  Please note that $7 for lunch will not be credited for online make-up meetings.

            Attendance Requirement.  At meetings, members are expected to wear their Rotary pin and their identification badge (red or blue), which can be found at the Secretary’s table as you enter the meeting room.  To maintain good standing, members are required to attend 50% of the meetings with their home club or as a guest at another club.  When visiting another club, members should ask for a “make-up card” to submit to our club Secretary or Treasurer for attendance credit.  Members may also make up missed lunch meetings by attending committee meetings, board meetings, or an online Rotary Club meeting.

Members not meeting the 50% attendance requirement for two consecutive calendar quarters (six months) will be jeopardizing their membership status and may be considered by the board to have resigned.  If a Rotarian experiences extenuating circumstances, such as medical issues, that will temporarily prevent them from meeting the 50% attendance requirement, he or she is asked to inform the club President, Secretary or Treasurer.

Temporary Leave of Absence and Resignation.   A member planning an absence of 60 days or more may retain active membership by submitting a request in writing to the Board of Directors for approval and by paying $30 per month in club dues while absent.  If a member is not on a temporary leave of absence and misses a lunch meeting, he or she will not be refunded for the missed meal.

If a Rotarian wishes to resign from the La Grande Rotary Club, he or she may do so by submitting a letter of resignation to the Board of Directors.  Upon receipt, the Secretary will discontinue financial requirements.

            Possibilities in the Eastern Oregon Region for make-up meetings:

Baker City                                    Mondays, noon            Sunridge Inn One Sunridge Lane

Hermiston                                    Thursdays, noon            Trinity Lutheran Church  485 West Locust

La Grande Sunrise                        Tuesdays, 7am            Dusty Spur Cafe 1502 “S” Avenue

Milton-Freewater                        Tuesdays, 11:45am            Community Building   109 NE 5th Street

Pendleton                                    Mondays, noon            Pendleton Elks Lodge  14 SE 3rd Street

Wallowa County                        Wednesdays, noon            St. Katherine’s Parish Hall   301 NE Garfield St, Enterprise

            Luncheon Programs.  Weekly luncheon programs are hosted by each member of the club.  The Communications Committee is responsible for coordinating with club members to be sure programs are scheduled.  Speakers present topics of local interest including professional subjects and duties, musical performances, current events, local and controversial issues, and travel reports.  Members may present the program, themselves, or invite outside speakers.  Members are expected to show courtesy to all guests and are invited to participate with questions and positive contributions.  Political campaigning and fundraising is prohibited.

 Sponsoring New Members

Sponsoring new members is vital to the La Grande Rotary Club and expected of all members.  The more members we have, the more good works we can do for our community and the world.  Other than proposing a person for membership, sponsoring a new member requires support throughout the first year of membership to assure understanding of Rotary expectations, financial and time commitments, participation in activities, and regular attendance.  A sponsor is requested to invite a prospective member to attend two or more meetings prior to submitting a nomination form.

A “Membership Nomination Form” is available from the club Secretary.  Please complete the form and return it to the Secretary, who will pass it on to the Membership Committee.  Once approved by the Membership Committee, the nomination goes to the Board of Directors for final approval.  Upon approval, the sponsor notifies the candidate, who then completes a “Membership Application” and returns it along with the $50 initiation fee.

Upon submission of the Membership Application and the $50 initiation fee, the candidate will be inducted under the direction of the President and sponsor at a regularly scheduled lunch meeting.  A red badge is issued, which identifies the new member.  The new member’s application and membership approval is reported to Rotary International by our Secretary.  Once the new member has completed the five requirements of a new member, he or she will be awarded a blue badge.

Steps to Sponsoring a New Member:

1.            Identify someone you think would make a good Rotarian.  Perhaps someone has approached you who is interested in joining Rotary.  He or she may be the owner of a business, a manager, an educator, a professional, a retiree, or a homemaker who wants to make a difference in our community.

2.            Invite your friend to “have lunch with you” at two or three Rotary meetings.

3.   If you and your friend believe Rotary is a good fit, complete a “Membership Nomination Form” (available from the club Secretary) and return it to the Secretary.  Remember, membership is not guaranteed at this point.

4.            The Secretary will pass the form to the Membership Committee, who will review the nomination and vote whether to recommend the person for membership to the Board of Directors.

5.            If the Board approves the new member, you are now free to contact your friend to offer membership in the La Grande Rotary Club.

6.            The new “member-to-be” then completes a “Membership Application,” and submits it to the club Secretary along with his or her $50 initiation fee.

7.            At the next lunch meeting, the club President will introduce you as the sponsor of a new member.  You will present the new member with his or her new red badge, Rotary pin, and New Member Packet.  The new Rotarian will have 3 minutes to share about his or her family and occupation.

 Online Resources

The Rotary International website offers a wealth of information for members new and old.  Please visit the various websites listed below.

Rotary International                          

District 5100                                      

The Rotarian Magazine                          

La Grande Rotary Club                          

La Grande Rotary Facebook page  


(or simply go to Facebook and search for  La Grande Rotary)