In an attempt to better cater to the causes of the moment and attract new members, Rotary International has launched new cause-based clubs, including a “protect the environment club” coming to the Los Angeles area in January.

Caused-based clubs are a very new concept for the non-profit organization and quite different from the traditional rotary club, but organizers hope they will help the world of community service become more accessible to all people by meeting the needs of a new demographic.

“Rotary is discovering that the traditional club model, which is where Rotary Clubs are within a community, is sometimes very restrictive because of people’s work schedules and finances,” said Kathleen Terry, new club development co-chair. “So by starting these cause-based clubs, it allows people to join a club that only meets two times a month and many times the other rotary clubs meet four times a month. And also, it can be in the evening, which is conducive for scheduling and lastly, have the cost base level be less expensive than the traditional Rotary Club typically would be.”

Rotary International is an international service organization whose purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian service and to advance goodwill and peace around the world. Membership in Rotary clubs are by invitation only and after paying dues members will partake in meals, speaker events, fundraisers and service projects. The Rotary Club of Santa Monica is one of the largest and most active Rotary Clubs in the Los Angeles area and includes over 120 business and professional leaders.

The idea of cause-based clubs was thought up by the District Governor Guity Javid, and it is being brought into fruition by New Club Development Chair Makiko Nakasone, Mentoring Team Leader Marsha Hunt and Terry.

To join the new cause-based rotary clubs members can expect to pay $170 to $200 due to the members meeting online as opposed to paying for lunch, hotel costs and meeting room rentals. However, cause-based members can schedule in-person events as well.

Caused-based clubs also do not require members to live in the community where the club is located in either. The virtual based “protect the environment club” is looking for at least 20 new members to get the club underway, but they will not be pulling current rotarians from different clubs.

The non-profit organization wants to find new rotarians and also realizes people are connected to their current clubs. New cause-based clubs will need to vote on their President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer and identify who is going to be on their board. Club members will also need to decide on bylaws, determine its programs, speakers and projects.

Currently, Rotary International has seven areas of focus: promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, maternal care for women and children, supporting education, growing local economies and now, the environment, which was added last year.

Although the cause-based club model differs from traditional rotary clubs, its morals and values stay the same.

“It’s called The Four Way test,” Hunt said. “Is it the truth? Is it fair to all concerned? Will it build goodwill and better friendships? Is it beneficial to all concerned?”

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