Rotary on Stamps dates back to 1955

By Jerry Gerald FitzSimmons, Secretary/Treasurer of the Rotary on Stamps Fellowship

Attracted by a new stamp issued in 1955 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Rotary International, the American Topical Association formed a study unit to gather Rotarians who shared an interest in stamps. This partnership allowed Rotarians to connect with one another and exchange ideas, which led to the first publication of Rotary International on Stamps Handbook in 1957 filled with various stamps created by the group. In 1971, the group was officially recognized as a Rotary Fellowship expanding their reach to an international level.

Since 2001, our fellowship has featured a booth at every RI Convention with a stamp picking table, cachets for each convention and issued personalized stamps.  The 2005 Convention in Chicago celebrated both the 100th Anniversary of Rotary International and also the 50th Anniversary of the Rotary on Stamps Fellowship.

Our group also promotes how clubs and districts around the world are using stamps to highlight and celebrate their achievements. Below are some recent examples:

  • In Togo, a combination sheet of four stamps and a souvenir sheet were issued to pay tribute to the work of local Rotary clubs, specifically recognizing a new school in Yara Kabyl.
  • In India, a special envelope cachet and cancel were issued by District 3000 to commemorate the Rotary Foundation Centennial.  The envelope displays photographs of Paul P. Harris and Arch C. Klumph.
  • In the Netherlands, two new stamps were issued, one for the RI Convention, and one for the Rotary Foundation Centennial.
  • In France, the Rotary Club of Beziers Sud issued a stamp as part of their fundraising efforts for retinal and medical research.

The Rotary on Stamps Fellowship is dedicated to promoting the hobby of topical philately as it pertains to Rotary International and provides an opportunity for fellowship and service. We continue to produce six full color bulletins each year and our album, catalog, and encyclopedia are updated annually and produced in full color. Learn more about us on our website and join us in our stamp collecting and sharing adventures.

Throughout the month of June, we’ll be celebrating Rotary Fellowships Month by sharing inspirational services stories from various Rotary Fellowships. We hope these stories inspire you to join or start a Rotary Fellowship.

Combining passion, friendship and service through Rotary Fellowships

By Zuhal Sharp, Rotary Service and Engagement staff

Rotary Fellowships began informally in 1928 when Rotarians with a shared interest in the language Esperanto joined together. In 1947, a group of Rotarian boating enthusiasts began flying the Rotary flag from their crafts, calling themselves the International Yachting Fellowship of Rotarians; this fellowship now boasts the longest continuous existence.

The scope of Rotary Fellowships has greatly changed over the years, but today their purpose is still to unite Rotary members, their family members, program participants, and alumni in friendship and provide venues for enjoying their favorite recreational or professional activities. In 2015-16, 68 fellowships reported a combined membership of 50,703 people in more than 180 countries worldwide. The average size for a Fellowship is 746 members. Rotary Fellowships cover interests from tennis to wine, marathon running to cooking, scuba diving to recreational vehicles, jazz to computers, and more.

Fellowships provide opportunities to give back to the Rotary Foundation 

In 2016-17, the family of Rotary has been celebrating the Rotary Foundation Centennial by performing 100 acts of good throughout the year. In the last 100 years, Rotary members have supported thousands of projects to provide clean water, fight disease, promote peace, provide basic education, and grow local economies through the Foundation. Rotary Fellowships not only gather around shared interests, but take on service initiatives to contribute to the foundation. Here are just a few ways Rotary Fellowships are giving back in their own acts of good:

  • The Rotarian Fellowship of Quilters and Fiber Artists members donated a variety of handmade items at their booth in the House of Friendship during RI Convention in Korea raising over $9000 USD for PolioPlus.
  • Rotarians’ Wine Appreciation Fellowship members contributed to a district grant to provide an electric forklift for a local food bank allowing them to increase their production and food distribution.
  • Fellowship Cycling to Serve organizes annual World Championships, where members raise money for local youth organization and PolioPlus. The fellowship also annually participates in a four-day cycling event raising money for local school organizations.
  • Chapters of the International Fellowship of Motorcycling Rotarians organize major rides within their region and raise funds for local causes. For example, the Australia Chapter donated proceeds from their annual ride to the Royal Flying Doctor Service, an aeromedical and health organization. The group has also been contributing to the Rotary Foundation by awarding Paul Harris Fellows.

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June is Rotary Fellowships Month! We’ll be celebrating by sharing inspirational services stories from various Rotary Fellowships. We hope these stories inspire you to join or start a Rotary Fellowship. View a complete list of all fellowships to find what interests you!