During the Pandemic our Rotary world was filled with uncertainty.  Clubs weren't meeting in person, some shifted to online formats, some stopped meeting all together.  "Out of the Ashes" our Zone leadership realized doing nothing was unacceptable. The membership trend before the pandemic was decreasing in size and number of clubs.  We realized during the pandemic that Rotary clubs needed to rise up.  People felt helpless and many in our communities wanted to step up and serve but they didn't know how or where.  We knew!  We were already serving globally when the world was filled with uncertainty.  This was not the time to do nothing.  It was the time to GROW ROTARY!


The Meaning of Phoenix 223:

A phoenix is a mythological bird that cyclically regenerates.  A phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor. Our recent cycle has been one of losing members and clubs. We will all work together to see the rebirth of club and membership growth. That’s what we aim to do, along with all of you! 
So what is the number 223?  It’s the birthdate of the founding of Rotary International.  Paul Harris formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on February 23rd (2/23) 1905. Only 16 years after being founded, Rotary had clubs on six continents!  We want to regenerate the spirit that made that happen and we know you are the people who can get it done!


A phoenix obtains new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor


There are District Governors, leaders, club members, and even non-Rotarians who may be interested in starting a new club - and we want to help you with tools to go from a good idea to actually implementing it locally.

We have a number of zone leaders who will provide support - but Project Phoenix is not about what is done at the regional level, but what happens locally.  We will all work together to see the rebirth of club and membership growth.  What will rise up in your community?


Who are the Phoenix 223 participants?

District New Club Development Chairs – minimum of one in each of the 23 Districts
  • Innovative, energized, and inspired Rotarians who actively promote new club models in their communities
Team Phoenix - Bruce Baumberger, Vivi Bennett, Lloyd Campbell (founding Team Lead), Tom Gump (Team Lead 2022-2023), Dian Edwards, Debbie High, Zain Kalson, Linda Marrin (Team Lead 2021-2022), Mark Shockey, Linda Yates
  • Provide workshops to grow Rotary
  • Utilize automated support to provide what you need when you need it
  • Document and record new club development activities in central information repository
Rotary Coordinators – Debbie High and Dian Edwards 2019-2022; Tom Gump 2022-2025
Assistant Rotary Coordinators – Faron Barr, Jenna Buscemi, Jim Coloff, Tom Gump, Andy Hagan, Monique Hodges, McKenzie MacFarland, Jeff Reed
  • These Rotarians have been appointed to sustain member engagement and retention in clubs by providing necessary resources and training to strengthen and support club membership
Innovative Club Advocates - Tom Gump, Andy Eads, Kathy Hubbard, Dean Dickinson. Beginning 2022: Kay Biga, Stacy Brevard, Julie Clark, Conner Gee, Tom Gump, Alex Johnson.
  • Independently appointed experts available to provide expertise, encouragement, and advice to districts and clubs based on their history of successful new club development.
  • A New Club Development Summit was held at Rotary Headquarters in Evanston, Illinois in 2020. Designated representatives from the ten North American Zones were appointed by their Director based on their past successes in initiating new club models. This group agreed to refer to their role as “Innovative Club Advocates” (ICAs) and to return to their respective zones as change agents to encourage districts to start new clubs. They were asked to initiate contact with districts and identify individuals in each district to serve as a new club ambassador.  In the midst of a pandemic they saw a Phoenix rising!

Above all, we need you!

The great thing is that there are some excellent tools on this site page to help you Grow Rotary.  We produced many online workshops with information about a variety of approaches to starting new clubs.  Those are posted in video format.  Watch, be inspired, find new ideas, and reach out to us on your journey toward starting new clubs in your District.