Who We Are
|The Club meets weekly on Wednesdays at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club 6:00 – 7:45 PM. If you have any questions, please contact AJ Thielen at: (949) 293-8345. Mailing Address: Rotary Club, P.O. Box 1944 Newport Beach CA 92659 United States.||Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club
1601 Bayside Drive
Corona del Mar, CA 92625
Welcome to the Rotary Club of Newport-Balboa, serving the communities of Newport Beach and Costa Mesa – in addition touching lives around the world through Rotary International – since 1939.
The Rotary Club of Newport-Balboa is the oldest club in the region, and has a grand tradition of service, fellowship, and commitment to creating a better world for our children.
The old stereotypes of service club membership have fallen away over the past decade. Our club has members in their 20s, and over 80. While Rotary was originally founded as a businessman’s networking and service group, women have been the fastest growing segment of the Rotary population for over 20 years.
Our Thursday evening meetings (cocktails at 5:45, dinner at 6:15) offer a great opportunity to get together with others who share a commitment to Rotary’s tradition of Service Above Self. Where else can a young up-and-coming professional share dinner with a successful retired CEO as equals who are dedicated to shared service?
If you are looking for a diverse group of people from all walks of life who are dedicated to doing something to create a positive change in the world (and not just talking about it), you may want to join us.
Are you looking to make a difference? Rotarians working together led the fight to eradicate polio from the face of the Earth. In the coming years, Rotary International will lead the way in clean water initiatives to fight infant mortality around the world.
Rotarians are business leaders, professionals, managers, retirees, young entrepreneurs and more. They come from every political and racial background. In Rotary’s second century, there is no “typical” Rotarian. The modern Rotarian is simply committed to working with others to make a difference, and to subscribe to Rotary’s Four Way Test as a way of leading an ethical life, and leading an ethical business.
The Rotary Club of Newport-Balboa (RCNB) was founded in 1939. In those days, there were 200,000 Rotary members worldwide and less than 5,000 clubs in Rotary International. Today there are over 1.2 million members and over 31,000 clubs. Orange County’s polulation in 1939 was only about 150,000. Today we live in a thriving community of over three million.
In 1930, the population of Newport Beach, Corona del Mar and Irvine was about 7,000. Costa Mesa was bean fields and Irvine was cow pasture. Balboa Island was 75% vacant lots, Corona del Mar was 80% vacant lots, but the Balboa Peninsula was built up due to the Red Cars coming in with the Los Angeles and Pasadena families to their second (beach) homes. Balboa’s role as the center of Newport Beach life at that time is why our club is called Newport-Balboa, rather than simply Newport Beach.
In those days, the Rotary Club of Newport-Balboa territory was basically a resort atmosphere and most of the families who had homes here earned their living elsewhere. In the winter, the streets were put to bed by 9:00 PM, but from Easter vacation to the end of September the area was alive with a population increase of 300%. In our district, our early custom and culture was shaped by individual business ownership and closeness of friendships with one another.
This knowledge of the era sets the scene for the beginning of the Newport-Balboa Rotary Club. There was a Lions Club and an Exchange Club in the area. Bob Allen was a city councilman in 1939 and he knew everyone in the area, plus his father was a Rotarian in Pittsburgh, PA and he had visited his father’s Rotary club many times. Bob knew there was an interest in the community for another type of service club. Bob (the first President of RCNB) and Marion Dodd (the first Secretary) visited 23 local businessmen in a three-week period to set up the requirement of charter membership (no one they approached turned them down). All of the original charter members had small businesses, such as shops and stores.
In 1939 the Rotary District for this area was number 108, which consisted of four counties: Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino and part of San Diego. Earl Stanley, a charter member of the Club and a real estate broker, knew Mac Robbins of the Santa Ana Rotary Club (the first service club in Orange County, chartered in 1920) and Mac knew Karl Glasbreuner (Orange Rotary Club, chartered in 1921), both of whom held the classification of Insurance. Mac Robbins was certainly the right person to know and ask to help form the RCNB; he was a Past President of the Rotary Club of Chicago (the first Rotary Club, founded in 1905) and the first President of the Rotary Club of Santa Ana. The Santa Ana club granted the territory and the Orange club sponsored the Rotary Club of Newport-Balboa.
The first meeting was held in May of 1939 at Park Café on Balboa Island on a Tuesday night (it was later changed to Wednesday night). The café was known in those days as the White Café. Meetings were held there from 1939 to 1946. The meetings were held at night because members could not get away from their closely held family stores and shops during the day and the during the heavy summer vacation business cycle.
It is understood that the members enjoyed getting to the White Café for the 4:30 to 6:30 “early meeting” at the bar. Art White (charter member) owned the bar and café. It was the only eating place on the Island and the members were able to discuss business and other problems at this early social and fellowship hour. This weekly event also made for a great make-up for other Rotary Clubs.
In those early days, nothing was planned for the meetings other than the speaker. The club was known as a “good-time” club (drinks were 35 cents and dinner was $1.50).
The Charter Night was held on September 19, 1939 at the Newport Harbor Yacht Club. Over 300 attended the function from all over District 108. The toastmaster was Karl Glasbreuner from the sponsoring club of Orange, and the speaker was Mac Robbins from the Santa Ana club.
The Rotary Club of Newport-Balboa has spawned five other Rotary clubs, with three of them still active today: Newport-Irvine (1967), Newport Beach and Sunrise (1981).
Until 1989 the Constitution and By-laws of Rotary International stated that Rotary club membership was for males only. Women were invited to join Rotary that year. No surprise, there were some members of RCNB who were enthusiastic and others who were not. In any event, the Club elected its first female president, Nan Raney of Balboa Island, less than 10 years later for Rotary year 1997-98.
Membership hit a high of over 120 in the 1980s time period (before some of the daytime clubs were spun off). Today there are nearly 60 men and women members in the Club, with an average increase lately of about 10 percent per year. The club members gather weekly Wednesday evenings at the Bahia Corinthia Yacht Club in Corona del Mar.
Interested in membership?
The Rotary Club of Newport-Balboa meets weekly on Thursday evenings.
Membership is by invitation, and a vocational classification system is used so that no one profession is over-represented in individual Rotary clubs. Since the primary goal of Rotary is service to the community and to the world, having a wide diversity of professionals as club members facilitates our ability to accomplish projects.
If you are interested in being part of Rotary International by joining our Club, we would be happy to talk to you. Contact us at email@example.com and one of the club’s directors will contact you.
Our weekly meetings bring together a wide variety of professionals, businesspeople, and community leaders for regular fellowship and interaction. We also participate in a wide variety of community service projects, with a particular focus on youth and education. As part of Rotary International, we also raise money to help those in need around the world. Rotary has led the way in the eradication of Polio, and is now taking an active role in clean water projects and other initiatives around the world.
As a Rotarian, you will become part of the 1.2 Million people around the world who have committed to the idea that by working together we can make the world a far better place. And wherever you travel around the globe, local Rotarians will greet you with open arms.