The Rotary Club of Birmingham volunteers at a food bank.

The Rotary Club of Birmingham volunteers at a food bank.

Photo provided by The Rotary Club of Birmingham

Rotary Club of Birmingham celebrates 100 years

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published April 16, 2024


BIRMINGHAM — For the last 100 years, the Rotary Club of Birmingham has been making an impact on communities local and international.

It all began in Chicago in 1905. Rotary International now boasts over 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs internationally. Members include volunteers who work to make an impact in communities across the world under the motto “Service Above Self.”

The Rotary Club of Birmingham was chartered in 1924 and has since dedicated efforts to protecting peace, fighting disease, supporting education and more. The club currently consists of approximately 45 active participants.

“We are the largest and most active Rotary Club in all of Oakland County,” club President Bryan Frank said.

Over the last 100 years of the club, they have completed over 100 service projects. The Rotary Club of Birmingham’s all-time giving to Rotary International is $499,348. This includes $165,000 to the annual fund and $189,000 to its polio eradication campaign.


International projects
Rotary International has made the eradication of polio throughout the world a priority. They began their efforts in 1979, when they provided vaccinations for 6 million children in the Philippines. There are now only a few counties where polio is prevalent.

Rotary Club of Birmingham Public Relations Chair John Westerheide said the Birmingham club has focused on providing clean water to people in the world who don’t have access to it. In the past, they have worked in conjunction with Rotary International, building wells in the Philippines and Guatemala.


Local projects
“As a Birmingham Rotary Club, we focus on local projects and we do service projects that provide good in our area,” Westerheide said.

Recent local efforts include providing therapy dogs in Birmingham Public Schools, a literacy program for elementary school children in Pontiac and feeding the homeless at HOPE Shelters. They also provided HOPE Shelters with a grant to fix problems with their plumbing and update their kitchen facility so that they can better serve their constituents.

Locally, the club has received positive feedback on their service projects. For example, Frank said, he has a daughter who attends a Birmingham middle school that received a therapy dog and has been able to see the impact of these therapy dogs in the schools.

The Rotary Club of Birmingham received a statement from BPS Superintendent Embekka Roberson regarding the therapy dog project.

“On behalf of Birmingham Public Schools, I extend our deepest gratitude to the Birmingham Rotary Club as they celebrate a century of impactful service,” the statement reads. “Your visionary support and generous funding have been the driving force behind the success of our therapy dog program. This initiative has not only enriched the educational experience but has also offered invaluable emotional support to countless students. As we mark this milestone together, we celebrate the enduring legacy of compassion and community that the Birmingham Rotary Club has bestowed upon our schools. Here’s to a century of making a positive difference in the lives of our students, and to many more years of shared success and collaboration.”


Social events
In addition to impactful service projects, the Birmingham Rotary Club regularly holds fun social activities. For example, they have monthly “Third Thursday” happy hours at bar and restaurant locations in Birmingham. They also go to sporting events as a group. Most recently, they attended a Red Wings game. Annually, the Birmingham Rotary Club holds a golf outing.

At the end of each fiscal year, June 30, they have a party to celebrate a year’s worth of community and international impact.


Anniversary celebration
To celebrate their centennial, the Birmingham Rotary Club is hosting an event at 6 p.m. May 9. One hundred years of the club’s impact will be celebrated at the Kingsley Inn, 39475 Woodward Ave. in Bloomfield Hills.

In addition to a lively night of food and dancing, there will be a silent auction and a 50/50 drawing.

They have identified three beneficiaries of the fundraising efforts of this event. The first one is an international clean water project for Guatemala, and the other two are local projects: construction of a disc golf course for the Boy Scouts and a future park project in Birmingham that will benefit children. The city of Birmingham is looking at constructing an all-access, universal playground.

Tickets cost $125 and include a three-course meal, one drink, dancing and live music by Collision Six. There is also an option to purchase a table for eight guests for $900.

Find information on sponsorships and ticket purchases on the event page at