The History of Our Club

The Wilmington East Rotary Club was granted a charter by Rotary International as the East Wilmington Rotary Club on April 8, 1963. This charter was the culmination of months of hard work to form a second Rotary Club in Wilmington. The first organizational meeting was held on March 11, 1963. The Club officially changed its name on May 4, 1976 to the Wilmington East Rotary Club.  A special ceremony was held to present the charter on April 21, 1963.  The event was highlighted by having Past President of Rotary International, A. Z. Baker present the charter to Club President, Claude O’Shields. Rotary District Governor Weston C. Reed was also in attendance.

Some early events the Club was responsible for included bringing Paul Harvey, nationally syndicated radio host, to Wilmington for an address in 1965 and sponsoring a Rotary Interact Club in Athens Greece. In 1985, the Club took a leading role in forming a third Rotary Club in Wilmington. That Club was chartered on May 28, 1986 as the Wilmington Cape Fear Rotary Club.


During the fall of 1987, the Club sponsored a fourth Rotary Club in Wilmington. The Wilmington West Rotary Club received its charter on June 15, 1988. It was that year that the Club won both the District Governor’s and Rotary Presidents Awards for Outstanding Achievement.


In 1993, the Club began a scholarship at the Cape Fear Community College (CFCC) in memory of former member William A. Clark. Since then, two additional scholarships have been established in the names of former members at CFCC and one scholarship has been established at UNCW.  In addition, in 2000, the Club established a fund at the Cape Fear Community Foundation with funds realized from the sale of a donated, Rotarian-owned building.  In 2010, this fund was transferred to the North Carolina Community Foundation and is now referred to as the Wilmington East Rotary Endowment Fund.  Proceeds from the scholarship funds and the Club Endowment has allowed the Wilmington East Rotary to direct several thousand dollars per year to students and worthy non-profits in the Wilmington area and internationally.


The Club continues to be active in the “four Avenues of Rotary Service” expressed as Club Service, Vocational Service, Community Service and International Service.  That Service is manifested through a number of fundraising and service initiatives, to include but not limited to, Market St clean-up in support of the North Carolina Department of Transportation, our various college scholarship programs and  annual dictionary distribution to local third graders, the Salvation Army’s Christmas kettle fundraising efforts and financial support of clean water initiatives  in India. All of the above, and more, to include support of the Rotary Foundation and its many programs including Polio Plus, are supported by our various fundraisers  e.g. art auctions, golf tournaments etc.


The Wilmington East Rotary celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2013.

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