Chestnut Hill Rotary celebrates 25 years of ‘Service above Self’

Posted 7/8/21

Twenty-five years ago several Chestnut Hill residents met to talk about the idea of starting a Rotary Club in Chestnut Hill.

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Chestnut Hill Rotary celebrates 25 years of ‘Service above Self’


Twenty-five years ago several Chestnut Hill residents met to talk about the idea of starting a Rotary Club in Chestnut Hill. Some were members of the Rotary Club of Philadelphia, but since it was in Center City they thought a local club would be a great way to expand membership. They drew the 25 members needed to form a charter from resident business members who were interested in becoming more involved with the community and who would subscribe to the Rotary’s motto ”‘Service Above Self.” Thus the Rotary Club of Chestnut Hill was born.

The Rotary Club of Chestnut Hill is one of 35,000 clubs that form Rotary International (2.1 million members). It is here that neighbors, friends, and problem solvers join together to share ideas supporting local, national, and global humanitarian causes, taking action to create lasting change.

Locally, Chestnut Hill Rotary focuses on education by creating academic initiatives and building ongoing relationships with Jenks Academy of Arts & Science, and enhancing science and math programs at Eleanor C. Emlen Elementary School. At Parkway Northwest High School they support ArtWell, providing educational art-based programs for youth facing discrimination, poverty, violence, and everyday challenges of growing up. The students creatively delve into something important and unique to themselves, and express it through poetry, writing, music, dance, and visual arts, which are performed for their parents and the rest of the school at the end of the school year. PathWays PA is another important organization the Rotary supports which stops the cycle of poverty for the 50 fortunate women and families who participate. Their lives are stabilized through safe housing and education. They are taught parenting and life skills, which foster well-being and self-esteem for all, leading to self-sufficiency. They must work hard to attain their GED’s, while their children learn in the local school system. Other community projects include the Chestnut Hill Peace Park and ongoing maintenance of the Pergola, the beautiful stone entry to Chestnut Hill at Cresheim Valley Drive and Germantown Avenue.

The fight to eradicate polio remains the hallmark international endeavor for Rotary, in addition to many other projects around the world. ShelterBox USA delivers emergency shelter and tools to families displaced by natural disasters throughout the world. Hope Children's Home in Guyana, South America, offers loving care, shelter, food and clothing to orphaned and needy children so they could grow up in a safe, clean environment. Solar initiatives have been installed at Hope, and at several hospitals in The Gambia in West Africa which gives them 24/7 power, improving the quality of everyone's lives. Communities are taught to install and maintain all parts of the solar energy.

The Rotary Club of Chestnut Hill invites community members to free weekly meetings, Wednesday mornings from 8am-9am.

Last week they held a terrific, inspiring meeting with Eugene Richardson, one of the original Tuskegee Airmen, featured in the film ‘Red Tails’. These brave African-American pilots and airmen formed the 332nd Expeditionary Operations Group and the 447th Bombardment Group of the US Army Air Force in WWII, flying heavy bomber escort missions which helped lead to the end of the war. We have an exciting roster of speakers—check Currently they’re meeting via zoom-- please contact for more information. When all is safe, The Rotary will meet Wednesdays from 8am-9am at the Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill (8800 Germantown Avenue) for our weekly breakfast meeting and speaker series. All are welcome. It’s a great way to start a Wednesday morning.


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