Rotary Club of Portland: Service Above Self

Rotary Club of Portland Centennial Celebration

2010 marked our 100-year anniversary as a Club, and we celebrated a 'Century of Service' in a big way -- with special events, a new marketing campaign, and a major community service project with Portland-based nonprofit New Avenues for Youth.


The Rotary movement began in 1905 when four businessmen formed the very first Rotary Club in Chicago, so named because they met in rotation at their various places of business. The purpose of their meetings was grounded in fellowship and friendship and as a way to connect with each other in the community.

Over the next few years, the idea of Rotary was gaining ground. In 1910, members of the Seattle Club came down to meet with a handful of Portland businessmen and offered to sponsor their club. On May 25, 1910, the Portland Rotary Club was born, and became the 15th Rotary Club with 20 charter members.

One hundred years later, Rotary is an international movement, with over one million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide. The Rotary Club of Portland has a rich history of 'Service Above Self,' with community programs benefitting children, domestic violence survivors, those affected by polio, and people with disabilities -- as well as funding major projects like the construction of the Rose Garden Children's Park, the Portland Children's Museum, Rotary Village at Camp Collins, and the Rotary Center for Career Training at New Avenues for Youth.

Centennial Project

Rotary Club of Portland Awards New Avenues for Youth $500,000

On October 8, 2009, Rotary Club of Portland presented New Avenues for Youth with a check for half a million dollars. New Avenues for Youth was selected out of 80 non-profits as the Rotary Club of Portland’s Centennial Project. These funds were used to complete the Rotary Center for Career Training, which opened May 12, 2010 in honor of Rotary Club of Portland’s Centennial Year.


The Rotary Center for Career Training will provide job training and career development support to homeless and at-risk youth in this community. Currently, New Avenues for Youth serves 400 homeless and at-risk youth per year in their job-training program.

“The Rotary Center for Career Training will provide the support necessary to meet the growing needs of homeless and at-risk youth in this community,” said Former Executive Director Ken Cowdery. “With the support of Rotary Club of Portland, we will be able to serve and assist more youth in exiting street life.”

“We believe the Rotary Center for Career Training will be a powerful tool in making real change in the lives of Portland’s homeless and at risk youth populations,” said Former Executive Director of Rotary Club of Portland Debra Dunn. “This project is truly worthy of the Rotary Club of Portland’s centennial.” To learn more about New Avenues For Youth, visit


A special Centennial marketing campaign for Rotary Club of Portland was created by MBT Marketing Communications to mark the 100-year milestone in 2010. The campaign's theme, "Thank you, Rotary," focused attention on the many people whose lives have improved as a result of local Rotary-sponsored programs over the past century.

The campaign featured TV, radio, video, bus board, and billboard promotions, as well as our new website redesign.

Watch our 30-second TV spot!

Visit MBT's website to view more samples of the campaign materials!