By Kristin Boza
Did you know that the founder of the iconic Rotary organization lived right here in Beverly/Morgan Park? Paul Harris founded the organization in 1905, and held early meetings at the home at 10856 S. Longwood Dr. where he and his wife Jean lived from 1912 until Paul Harris died in 1947.
The Paul and Jean Harris Home is now owned by the Paul and Jean Harris Home Foundation, and the Rotary Club of Beverly Morgan Park Mount Greenwood (BMPMG) currently utilizes the space for their monthly meetings. Rotary as an organization consists of three parts: the clubs, Rotary International, and The Rotary Foundation. All three work to enact lasting change in global communities.
Paul Harris was a Chicago attorney and started Rotary as a way for professionals from diverse backgrounds to exchange ideas and create friendships. Over time, this mission extended to include acts of service.
A mere 16 years after its founding, Rotary had clubs on six continents. Today, Rotary members span the globe and work to improve seven core issues: promoting peace; fighting disease; providing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene; saving mothers and children; supporting education; growing local economies; and protecting the environment. Rotarians follow two official mottoes: Service Above Self and One Profits Most Who Serves Best.
Jean Marie Quigley is the interim President of Rotary BMPMG. The group initially formed in early 2020, but, like all organizations, faced issues during the pandemic. Quigley said the group is excited to meet in person again and regain its momentum to serve our local communities.
“During the pandemic, we supported neighborhood efforts to collect food and needed items for local food pantries,” Quigley said. “Now, we are excited to meet in person and choose projects that are meaningful to our members and the community.”
Rotary has no religious affiliation, making it a service-oriented group geared to all who wish to participate. The local Rotary chapter is proud to have such important roots here.
“We volunteer at the local level and our members collectively choose our own projects to work on,” Quigley said. Right now, members are exploring ways to help senior citizens in the community to find the essential services and programs available to them. In the past, they explored a pollinator program to promote native planting in the neighborhood.
“The group is looking at ways to figure out how to make it easier for people to get the information they need to care for the seniors in their life,” Quigley said. “At our last meeting, we welcomed a speaker from Pathlights for Seniors to learn more about it.”
Anyone is welcome to attend a Rotary Club meeting. The next meeting is Mon., Oct. 10, 6:30 p.m., at the Paul and Jean Harris House, 10856 S. Longwood Dr. For more information, email RotaryBMPMG@gmail.com.