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Service Above Self
We are neighbors, community leaders, and global citizens uniting for the common good. With you, we can accomplish even more.
Founded in 1915, the Rotary Club of Knoxville is the community's oldest service organization and with 214 members is one of the largest Rotary Clubs in the world. Half of East Tennessee's Rotary clubs can trace their lineage back to RCK.
The club's earliest members included several of the visionaries responsible for the concept of our nation's most visited national park. In 1923, RCK member Willis Davis and his wife returned from visiting national parks in the Western U.S. asking "why not have a park in our mountains?"
This idea inspired Col. David C. Chapman, the club's first president, and several other Knoxville Rotarians to create the Great Smoky Mountains Conservation Association, which had a significant influence in the establishment of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
But the Park has not been the only beneficiary of the enthusiasm and generosity of RCK's members...
Community Service: in the early years, the club helped to organize a band at Old Knoxville High, sponsored playgrounds, boys camps and even encouraged pork production during WW I through the "Pig and Corn Club."
Higher Education: The Rotary Foundation of Knoxville, begun in 1923, helped over 600 local students to achieve their educational goals with low-interest loans. Since 1996, the club's Foundation has awarded a $16,000 4-year college scholarship to a deserving Knox County high school senior each year.
Other club programs include support for: Junior Achievement, 4-H Clubs, East Tennessee Children's Hospital, the Boys and Girls Club of Knoxville, Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, YMCA Day Care Scholarships, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards and annual Knox County Teacher Recognition Awards.