Bainbridge Rotary Club has been actively engaged in community and local service projects for over 60 years.
Our Key Achievements
Bainbridge Rotary was an early participant in fighting polio, sponsoring immunization clinics for local school children in the 1950s. More recently, our members have contributed significantly to Rotary International’s effort to end polio worldwide.
Bainbridge Public Library
The Bainbridge Public Library has been built and expanded entirely by donations, without any tax dollars. Rotary was the largest single contributor to construction (in 1960), to furnishing the new building (1961), to an expansion that doubled the library’s size in the 1970s, and to doubling the size again in the 1990s. Rotarians have also been active in the library’s board and fund-raising committees, and providing in-kind contributions toward the construction projects.
On March 1st, 2013, hundreds of Rotarians and Bainbridge Island community members joined to celebrate the culmination of a two-year intensive project. A public eyesore at the corner of Winslow Way and State Highway 305 has been reborn as a warm and welcoming gateway to our island.
Community Sports Support
One of the club’s first big projects, in 1951-1954, was to operate a former Navy recreation center as a community bowling alley (It was closed when a privately-run bowling alley opened, since the club didn’t want to compete with local business!). Using funds from the bowling alley, the club purchased land for a ballfield (now known as Rotary Field), which was turned over to the local park district when it was established in 1965.
In addition to Rotary Field, Rotary has contributed to construction and improvements to the two community swimming pools, which are both named for past Rotary presidents. Recent contributions have included funds for a skate park and children’s playground (Kids Up).
The club worked with the state to build a boat launch ramp at Fort Ward State Park in the 1970s, and a playground at Fay Bainbridge State Park in the 1980s.
The club has awarded scholarships to local students since the 1950s. In recent years, in keeping with Rotary’s “Service Above Self” motto, we have used the selection process to recognize local students who have performed outstanding community service. We now provide more than $25,000 in scholarships each year. In 2013, the Club created a new category for scholarships and began awarding scholarships for students interested in pursuing Vocational careers.
In 2015 grants totaling $123,245 were awarded by Rotary to qualified non-profit community organizations. Any qualified nonprofit organization, who serves the Bainbridge Island community, is eligible to apply for a community grant from the Rotary Club of Bainbridge Island.
Foreign Exchange Program
The club sponsors the foreign exchange program at Bainbridge High School, with both inbound and outbound students every year since the 1960s.
Rotary helped build an office and storage facility for Helpline House, our local human-services umbrella organization. Rotary also worked with the city government to build the Bainbridge Commons, a building which provides space for the senior center, a large meeting room, and local health district offices.
In the last five years, we have substantially increased our involvement in international projects. Several club members have traveled to Uganda, spearheading the development of water, literacy, and health projects there. The club has also been involved in projects in Mexico, Argentina, and Central America and has just created a Nepal Committee
Another priority in recent years has been helping hands projects within the community. Recent efforts have included park maintenance, children’s traffic safety (during downtown trick-or-treating and Pumpkin Walk), cemetery restoration, and sidewalk improvements at the Bainbridge Island Special Needs Foundation.