THE STRATFORD ROTARY CLUB
The Stratford Rotary Club came into being on May 17, l958, at a gala event which had the distinction of being Rotary’s first international Charter Night. More than 700 Rotarians, of whom approximately 70 were from other countries, were in attendance at the Shakespeare Theatre for the chartering ceremonies. Since it was chartered hundreds of business owners, corporate leaders, professionals, educators, public servants, civic leaders, clergy and persons from a variety of other disciplines in the working community have come together as members of the Club to contribute their time and talents for the betterment of humankind and, in the process, have been enriched by the experience.
Over the years the Club has undertaken several service projects which have benefited the Stratford community. Some of those projects include college scholarships to an outstanding graduate from each of the Town’s two high schools (over $80,000 awarded as we entered the new millennium); establishing “Tiny Tot” playgrounds at four locations in Town; sponsoring cultural events at the Shakespeare Theatre for a number of years; undertaking an initiative to establish emergency medical response services for the Town; establishing the Stratford Community Fund, a non-profit endowment dedicated to improving the quality of life for peoples in the community; programs to benefit special education students, physically handicapped and disadvantaged individuals; participating in the initiative and providing funding for the establishment of an after school child care program for the Town’s students in public grade schools; establishment of the Club’s own endowment – to provide an ongoing source of funds for our community and international service projects; collaboration with and financial support to worthwhile programs sponsored by other community organizations such as Sterling House, the YMCA, Shakespeare Theatre, the Stratford Library, the public education system, AmeriCares, Square One Theatre and a host of other civic groups; and a variety of other undertakings to address the many needs of our community. As is the case with all Rotary Clubs, our membership is comprised of men and woman who have been successful in their chosen fields, who have subscribed to honorable and ethical standards in their personal and vocational conduct, and who have a desire to do good things for other people.
The Club has also participated in numerous activities associated with the international aspects of Rotary, including the Holiday Youth Exchange Program, the Foreign Student Exchange Program, business exchange groups, support of projects to provide assistance to underdeveloped countries, and participation in a variety of other programs and appeals initiated by Rotary International and by our Rotary District.
Finally, the Club provides each of its members the opportunity to become acquainted with bright, accomplished and good people, some of whom are more than likely to become life-long friends. Beside the weekly luncheon meetings, the Club has over the years had numerous social gatherings for Rotarians and their families and guests, such as theater dinner parties, day trips, dinner dances, picnics, visits to other countries, golf and tennis outings, clam bakes, new member receptions, Christmas parties, and other similar affairs.
Over the years the Stratford Rotary Club has acquired a rich history and a proud legacy of service. As our efforts to help others continue, we seek to honor the efforts of all Stratford Rotarians who preceded us by enlarging upon the rich legacy we inherited.