A look at “Why Rotary Has Lasted” from 100 years ago

“Why Rotary Has Lasted”

An exact reprint as it appeared in the December 1918 issue of The Rotarian magazine.

“Some years ago I had the pleasure of a long talk with our International Secretary, Chesley Perry. In the course of our conversation we discust
whether Rotary might not flourish for a few years and then die out, either from lack of interest, or because it would be merged into some other
movement. Perry was optimistic, ‘Rotary is not going to die out in your lifetime or mine,’ he said. ‘It is going to be a living and permanent force in
the progress of the world.’ That was more than five years ago, and the truth of Perry’s prediction is becoming more apparent every day. At that
time there were less than a hundred clubs in International Rotary, while today there are more than four hundred. So far as I have been informed, no
club organized under proper auspices has ever gone out of existence. Such permanency of interest has never been maintained in any other business
organization. We have seen all sorts of clubs start, flourish a little while and then die from lack of attendance, leaving only some unpaid bills as
souvenirs of their existence. Now why has Rotary persevered where other organizations have failed? There is no normal man who does not enjoy a
growth toward some kind of an idealism. Nowhere, I believe is this more strikingly exemplified than in Rotary. I dare say there is no member of this
club, who has been in Rotary any considerable time, who cannot look back and see that he is a little better man on account of his membership. He
always wanted to do the right thing and be a useful member of society, but Rotary has taught him how to do better. Right there, I believe, is the
heart of Rotary and the reason that it has lasted. Men like to be better, and Rotary teaches them how.”
~Jack Sprague, 2018-19 President Rotary Club of San Antonio, TX