About Our Club

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In 1970 a group of professional men and business leaders living in University Place, chartered the Tacoma Narrows Rotary Club. Mel Monsen was the club's first president. Its first board of directors and some of its early members included Kelley Arnold, Gordon Hill, Vince Demerest, Chet Engle, Art Forbes, Mitch Washburn, Dick Wells, Terry Reim, Mert Crawford, Don Jutilla, and Charlie Curran.

Ruthann Reim, the first woman in the club and the club's first female president, joined Tacoma Narrows Rotary in 1988. Beginning with some 20 members, the club peaked at 80 members in the late 1970s. Membership has fluctuated between 40 and 45 since 1998. 

To support its charitable giving, most of it in University Place and Fircrest, Tacoma Narrows Rotary has undertaken a number of fundraising projects, from one of the earliest auctions among Pierce County clubs, to rose sales, Christmas wreath sales, and raffles. The auction was abandoned for 15 years and then resurrected when other fund-raising efforts paled in comparison.

Since 1995 the club has devoted most of its giving to supporting children and education. Tacoma Narrows Rotary has provided scholarships for high school seniors and second-year community college students, recognized local junior high students selected by their teachers as Students of the Month, and tutored junior high students in reading.

The club has generously supported the Courage Classic bicycle ride each year and has participated in Paint Tacoma Beautiful every year since 1987. Proceeds from our annual "Fund A Need"  have funded a shelter for women and children fleeing from abusive relationships, an agency serving developmentally and physically delayed children, an organization providing clothes and supplies for school children from poverty-stricken families, providing equipment and supplies for an elementary school in rural Costa Rica, funding a water well project in a village in Niger, and supporting the capital needs of the only UP/Fircrest area food bank.

Besides the Costa Rica, and Niger projects the club has supported numerous other international projects, often teaming with other Rotary clubs to contribute to efforts well beyond the capacity of one club.

The club has also been active in Rotary's student exchange. It has sponsored college students to become Ambassadorial Scholars. Led by four dedicated members--Art Froney, Ross Norberg, Johan Oye and Ken Baker--Tacoma Narrows Rotary has sponsored an out-bound high school exchange student and/or hosted an in-bound exchange student in nearly every one of the thirty-four years of its existence.

Ninety-five percent of the membership are Paul Harris Fellows or are sustaining members, and in the last few years more members are choosing to become Benefactors of the Rotary Foundation.

University Place is currently experiencing significant growth, a trend expected to continue for some time. Tacoma Narrows Rotary looks forward to being a part of that growth, both in increased membership and in the additional benefits it will bring to its community.