100 years of
The Rotary Club of St. Augustine

Imagine the Spring of 1920…The Twenties roared in with the founding of the Rotary Club of St. Augustine on April 10, 1920.

Prosperity, jazz music and the foxtrot  took center stage.  With Prohibition in effect  Rotary party goers had to sneak their whisky into festivities.  Rotarians flocked to Casino Night at one of St. Augustine's several casinos, including the Zorayda Club speakeasy.

Weekly meetings were held at the Ponce de Leon Hotel when it was open in the winter season and at several other hotels around St. Augustine during the off-season. The community had just recovered from the effects of WWI followed by the Spanish Flu Pandemic.

Fast Forward to Spring 2020

The streets are empty and residents are encouraged to “social distance and wear a mask”.  COVID 19 has declared war on all humanity, Worship Services are all online as are ALL CLUB MEETINGS.  Many club members have never used ZOOM, a digital meeting platform, and now find themselves signing in for meetings and family gatherings.  The club has pivoted from celebrating with a GALA to raising funds for a community at large. Area hourly workers need help and the club is raising money to issue gift cards to Publix to those who find themselves suddenly unemployed.

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Covid pic

While this isn’t what was planned, this club is no stranger to service.

The newest initiative is to make a positive difference in the lives of  service personnel and hourly workers of St. Johns County. We all know the needs are great, so the Rotary Club of St. Augustine has purchased gift cards from Publix for individuals and families who have gone from financially independent to despair.  In fact, this is something new for many today. The seed money for the program comes from the club’s rainy day fund and the sponsors of St. Augustine Independent Restaurant Association (SAIRA), Raintree Restaurant, Peggy Gachet, Broker Associate with Watson Realty Corp, Christine Matthaei, Realtor with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, The Bailey Group, Nissan of St. Augustine, W.W. Gay Mechanical Contractor, Inc., Matanzas Law and St. Johns Law Group along with GALA tickets sales to individuals who waived their refund in support of the new initiative. Applications are already being submitted by Rotarians themselves and colleagues in the same industry who has been required to virtually close if not close entirely.   The needs are massive!

That’s where you can help.  If you’d like to make a donation where 100 percent of the proceeds go directly to the program implemented to help those St. Johns County residents, you may do so here. All donations are 100 percent tax-deductible as the Rotary Club of St. Augustine Foundation will receive the donations and purchase the gift cards while the Rotary Club of St. Augustine will process the applications.  Please click here to contribute.

The club and people they serve appreciate your support.

Questions may be directed to, [email protected].