Service above self. For Spokane Rotary Club 21 members, it isn't just a phrase. It's the unifying ideal behind all that they do — and they do a lot.
The club's history is inextricably tied to Spokane's, and its momentum moving forward means it will likely continue to be a powerhouse of service in our community and beyond.
Bailee Neyland, an energetic young professional, says a passion for service is part of the reason Club 21 is so impactful.
"Everyone has bought in, knowing we can make a difference with our time, treasure and talent," says Neyland, Hoopfest's marketing director. "That's huge."
The club champions health, education and peace through fellowship and service, using its resources to make the community and world a better place, according to its mission statement.
"It's putting power in the hands of the individual to do good," says Steven Schneider, a Spokane-based attorney, who authored Through the Eyes of Rotary, a look at 100 years of Rotary history.
Started in 1911, Club 21 — the 21st Rotary founded and one of the largest — provides $100,000 to $200,000 to the local community each year, Schneider says. The Rotary Fountain in Riverfront Park? That was them. Youth Symphony concerts at the Bing? That's them, too.
They've funded instruments for the Pilgrim Slavic Baptist Church youth orchestra program, new equipment for local nonprofits, improvements to Second Harvest Food Bank and motorized wheelchairs and cochlear implants for individuals in need.
Internationally, Rotary has provided clean water wells in Kenya; midwife training in Bangladesh to improve infant and maternal health; cataract surgery in Ethiopia; cleft lip surgery in the Philippines; and more.
"We have a very powerful group," Neyland says.
Club 21 shows no sign of slowing down.
"We're always looking to the next thing," Neyland says. "How do we expand our reach? How do we increase membership? How do we broaden our demographic?"
The first club launched in Chicago in 1905 to kindle fellowship among members of the business community, and though Rotary's aim has grown to encompass service, the relationships Rotarians build foster dedication to the club — and its mission.
"The service piece is what draws people in, but it's the camaraderie and friendships that keep us coming back," Neyland says.
2nd PLACE: Kiwanis, Spokane Valley; 3rd PLACE: Post Falls Lions Club