Mar 302021

Meet John, a 44-years-old environmental scientist. His passion is cleaning up rivers, a love born of almost a decade as a whitewater raft guide. 

Meet Candace, a 37-year-old high school teacher who donates time to a watershed group, helping to monitor pollutants in local streams. 

John and Candace aren’t Rotarians, but they’re already living our Service Above Self motto.

Now say hello to Laura, a 56-year-old Rotarian who has a passion for kayaking and the clean streams and rivers that make it enjoyable.

So, what if Laura approaches John and Candace and says something like, “Did you know you can now start a Rotary Club focused exclusively on the health of our streams and rivers?” 

She could tell them, “Our Rotary District has over 2,000 well-placed members that you can network and collaborate with on these issues.”

Laura could point out, “Rotary clubs are good at organizing and fundraising plus, we have grants that environmental causes would qualify for.”

Do you see the huge difference from how we typically approach people?

Laura isn’t asking John and Candace to join her Rotary club and add more work and obligations to their already busy schedules. She’s telling them that a cause-based Rotary club can help them do the work they’re already doing.

In other words, Rotary can bring benefits to the table that can help them organize and accomplish their goals more productively.

Laura could also tell them about the leadership training they’ll get, about how they can educate youth through Interact and other programs. She might tell them about other Rotary environmental projects and the possibility of international service.

This is the magic of a Cause-based Rotary Club.

Cause-based clubs are one of several models being promoted by the Innovative Clubs Advocates (ICA) committees in each of the seventeen Districts in Zone 33. But any Rotarian in any club can be the “spark” that gets a Cause-based club started. 

Simply put, Cause-based clubs are about harnessing the passions people already have and showing them the benefits of establishing a Rotary Club specifically around that cause. 

While the concept is still new, there’s exciting progress. Zone 33 already has social justice clubs, peace clubs, veteran’s clubs, global clubs and more. 

A Cause-based club can charter on its own with a minimum of twenty members, or it can start as a Satellite club under an existing club with just eight members. 

For more information on Cause-based Rotary Clubs, contact Rebecca Hunn at or PDG Jimmie Williamson at

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