Wheelchair Project

The Rotary Club of Fresno has been involved for several years in the distribution in third world countries of wheelchairs assisting those in need. The Wheelchair Committee of the Rotary Club of Fresno thanks the efforts and generosity of its members, Rotary District 5230, Rotary International, and the Wheelchair Foundation for their support and participation in this project.

Since 2003, 2,940 wheelchairs have been delivered by our members to Burundi, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe. In 2011 we will deliver a further 100 wheelchairs to Swaziland and 280 wheelchairs to South Africa.

Recognition is provided for each $150 or more contributed in the form of a beautiful gold embossed Presentation Folder containing the photo of a wheelchair recipient with their name, age, country and a certificate thanking the donor. These folders make excellent holiday, birthday, anniversary, graduation or commemorative gifts. Folders can be inscribed to the donor, or an acknowledgement, of the donation in honor of, memory of, or in the name of a special person in your life. As a gift to each of our speakers, a wheelchair is donated in their name and they are presented with a picture of the recipient.

In February 2007 a group of eight Fresno Rotarians and others spent between one and three weeks in Kigali, Rwanda and the surrounding countryside to deliver wheelchairs. This delivery was a joint effort of the Rotary Club of Kigali and the Rotary Club of Fresno. During this visit we also reviewed our very successful solar and integrated cooking programs and presented to the Women’s Club’s of Rwanda 40 sewing machines to use in the making of hay baskets (thermos) for those programs.

The wheelchairs that are distributed are obtained through the Wheelchair Foundation and are all newly manufactured by several factories in Asia. They are specifically designed for use in developing countries on unimproved or non-existent roads.

Project Nino

Project Nino (Spanish for child) started in 1985 out of the desire to provide medical help to the children who had been affected by the Mexico earthquake of 1985. The project now serves children who otherwise would have very limited access to medical care. It also has had an impact on the everyday lives of the people we serve. The highlight of the project is the clinic itself. It takes place in Santiago de Tautla, a small village forty-five miles north of Mexico City. Santiago de Tautla is a very poor village where many of the homes do not have lights, running water or other modern conveniences. Each year in August, a group of physicians, dentists, optometrists, nurses, and psychologists from Fresno turn the village elementary school into a clinic. Our Mexican Rotary partner in Project Nino is the Rotary Club of Tlalnepantla, Mexico.

Once the free clinic opens in the village school, several thousand children are seen over the next five days. For most of the children, the clinic is their only medical care and some families walk for days to get to the village. Medical problems are treated or referred for care. Dental restorations or extractions are performed and dental hygiene lectures are given to try to prevent future problems. Eye examinations are performed and eyeglasses provided to those in need. Public health lectures are provided to help the people understand better what they can do to prevent illness. Psychologists have been a recent addition. They help parents deal with the behavior problems of their children. A pharmacy stocked by most donated medicines is able to provide the medicines needed to treat most common ailments. For those conditions we cannot treat, we arrange referrals to local hospitals, the National Institute of Pediatrics, or the Shriner’s Hospital in Mexico City. With the help of our Mexican Rotarians, arrangements are made to see the children get the specialized care they need. The clinic itself is furnished with donated equipment, which is shipped from Fresno. The villagers prepare the school. The school now has electricity, working toilets, landscaping, and fresh paint and it has recently formed a PTA.

Another portion of the project is a series of seminars conducted at Mexico City hospitals. One series is for doctors. Another is for nurses. Using simultaneous translation, topics previously selected by the Mexican health care professionals are presented by doctors and nurses from the Central California area. These post graduate seminars are consistently over registered. The seminars for the doctors and nurses are so popular that each year larger quarters are needed. The most notable achievement of 2001 was our expansion of the nursing course. The Rotary Clubs in Mexico rented a large conference room so we could accommodate 220 nurses. There is very little post-graduate training for nurses, so our participants come from all over Mexico.

For those that would like specific numbers, during the 2001 trip we served nearly 5,000 children. We dispensed 2,500 prescriptions and over 1000 pair of glasses. We provided seminars for 150 doctors and seminars for over 200 nurses. Our team consisted of 24 health care professionals and an additional 20 auxiliary staff. The long term benefits are incalculable. The general health of the families and children within a 200 mile radius of the village is remarkably improved. The “Gueros” (blond hair doctors) as all the health care professionals are known in the village, are an example of Rotary in Action.


“This project is really good. The way they treat us, all the support you bring us, and the help with medicines and wheelchairs. For all of this, we are really grateful and specially for the effort of coming all the way here to give us your support. Thank you so much for receiving us”.
– Fortunata A. H


“This is my first time in this project and the doctors are really nice and the treat us really well. I’m glad we came”.
– Minerva Tepox Marcial


“I would like to recognize this laudable work you offer us as well as thanking you infinitely for helping us accept and value our kid’s problem and precious life. Thank you for your support and for helping us discover this little treasure in my family”.
– David Maguria


“It’s a great satisfaction to see people that are not from our country worrying so much about our children and their health. God Bless you forever, you are the most wonderful people that I have know”.
– Violet Lujan Ortie


“I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for bringing us your support and compassion for giving the kids such good care, just like you do with my little brothers who needs a lot from you. God Bless you”.
-Marina Migueles Olguin


“I want to thank all of you for your attention and compassion and gentleness. Keep doing what you do because it’s such honorable work”.
– Beatriz Cruz Volp


“I give thanks to God for sharing with us such special angels like you. I’ve been coming for two years now with my kid that needs a special medicine which has helped him a lot. Thank you God Bless you”.
-Valerio Tovar


“My experience here has been really beautiful because you treat us so nicely and help us a lot. You give us faith and hope and make us believe that we can get through anything. Thank you”.
– Luis Angel Almareu



Fresno Rotary and the Fresno Rotary Foundation awards grants to Educational and nonprofit charitable organizations in the greater Fresno Community for projects that positively impact the community. Grant requests must be for a specific project that can be accomplished in a timely manner or for capital equipment.

Fresno Rotary and the Fresno Rotary Foundation DOES NOT grant:

  • Individuals;
  • Tax supported governmental agencies (e.g., fire, police), but will consider special projects for public and private schools;
  • Organizations or projects outside the greater Fresno area;
  • Administration or On-going operating expenses (such as training, debt reduction, computer software, and office equipment that does not impact the general public)
  • Political projects or those that are primarily related to a political cause;
  • Religious organizations for religious purposes;
  • Sabbatical leaves or scholarly research;
  • Travel, tours and trips;
  • Endowments and memorials; or
  • Fundraising events, such as sponsorships and incentives

Grant Application Form Applications must include: A brief description of the program and its rationale; A statement of the program’s goals and objectives; A brief description of the population to be served; A statement on how you plan to sustain the project/program; A preliminary budget and quotes; and, A description of the evaluation activities and desired outcomes.

All applications should demonstrate that the organization has the ability to efficiently and effectively use the funds and/or matching funds for the greater community impact and that the staff and/or volunteers have the capacity to achieve proposed outcomes including partnering organizations and collaborative efforts. Grant requests must be for a specific project that can be accomplished in a timely manner. Quotes and documentation to support a grant as well as a copy of (or at least pages one and two) the most recent IRS Form 990 must be included with the application. Additionally, Requests must meet one or more of the following grant criteria:

  1. Make a significant impact on youth, the disadvantaged, or those elements of our community not adequately serviced by other avenues of support;
  2. Are for new tangible projects as opposed to well-funded or well-established projects;
  3. Are for projects in the greater Fresno area, or that primarily benefit the residents of Fresno;
  4. Are under the direction of a local organization or local affiliate;
  5. Are for capital equipment
  6. Provide proven sustainable benefits – that is, provide benefits to the community that continue long after the grant has been disbursed.

Fresno Rotary requires appropriate recognition of its grants and the use of the Fresno Rotary Signature or the Fresno Rotary Foundation Signature displayed in an appropriate way as well as included in media releases, press conferences, and other items of print.

Fresno Rotary and the Fresno Rotary Foundation requires grant recipients provide a written Grant Final Report Form and appropriate supporting documentation (receipts, invoices, etc.) detailing the use and results of the grant. This report is required before subsequent grant requests will be considered.

Allow up to 90 days for a response. Grants that are recommended for funding by the Community Projects committee are submitted to the Fresno Rotary Board of Directors for final approval. Certain applications may be reviewed by The Rotary Club of Fresno Foundation and could take longer for a response. Grant applications are accepted on an ongoing basis beginning July 1 and are subject to fiscal availability of funds. Applications submitted with supporting documentation will be reviewed. If there are questions, the committee members will contact you directly. Please no phone calls or emails.

Grant Applications and supporting documentation, as well as Grant Final Reports are to be submitting to: Fresno Rotary / Fresno Rotary Foundation, 2307 N. Fine Avenue, Fresno, CA 93727, Email: office@fresnorotary.org



How do I join Fresno Rotary?
A prospective member must be a leader in good standing in the community, be able to manage your own time, and be sponsored by a Rotarian. Complete the application and return it to the Rotary Office with the application fee. The membership committee will review it before the monthly Board meeting and if no objections are received within a seven days then you become a member. New members join the “COGS” committee for a chance to meet other new members for a chance to learn about Fresno Rotary. You and your sponsor will then contact the office to arrange a date to be introduced to the members.

Membership Application

“Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves.”

—Paul P. Harris

Our 1.2 million-member organization started with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.

Our ongoing commitment

Rotarians have not only been present for major events in history—we’ve been a part of them. From the beginning, three key traits have remained strong throughout Rotary:

We’re truly international. Only 16 years after being founded, Rotary had clubs on six continents. Today we’re working together from around the globe both digitally and in-person to solve some of our world’s most challenging problems.

We persevere in tough times. During WWII, Rotary clubs in Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Japan were forced to disband. Despite the risks, many continued to meet informally and following the war’s end, Rotary members joined together to rebuild their clubs and their countries.

Our commitment to service is ongoing. We began our fight against polio in 1979 with a project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines. By 2012, only three countries remain polio-endemic—down from 125 in 1988.

Notable Rotarians

Rotarians are your neighbors, your community leaders and some of the world’s greatest history-makers:

  • Warren G. Harding, U.S. president
  • Jean Sibelius, Finnish composer
  • Dr. Charles H. Mayo, co-founder of Mayo Clinic
  • Guglielmo Marconi, Italian inventor of the wireless radio and Nobel laureate
  • Thomas Mann, German novelist and Nobel laureate
  • Friedrich Bergius, German chemist and Nobel laureate
  • Admiral Richard E. Byrd, American explorer
  • Jan Masaryk, foreign minister of Czechoslovakia
  • H.E. Soleiman Frangieh, president of Lebanon
  • Dianne Feinstein, U.S. senator
  • Manny Pacquaio, Filipino world-champion boxer and congressman
  • Richard Lugar, U.S. senator
  • Frank Borman, American astronaut
  • Edgar A. Guest, American poet and journalist
  • Sir Harry Lauder, Scottish entertainer
  • Franz Lehar, Austrian composer
  • Lennart Nilsson, Swedish photographer
  • James Cash Penney, founder of JC Penney Co.
  • Carlos Romulo, UN General Assembly president
  • Sigmund Sternberg, English businessman and philanthropist

Ready to make history with us? Get involved.


Speaker Information

Speaker Information

Fresno Rotary brings together its membership of over 300 members of the Fresno and San Joaquin area’s leading business, professional, and community leaders each Monday for lunch, to listen and learn about key issues affecting our community. Our speakers address the most current and important issues and its impact on the local, statewide, national and global level, that engage motivate, inspire, and interest our members. Great speakers should fulfill our members yet leave our members with more questions and wanting more.

Fresno Rotary meets Mondays at noon at the Cornerstone Banquet and Conference Center located at 1525 Fulton Street in downtown Fresno, CA 93721. Free Parking is available behind the Conference Center. Fresno Rotary is open to Rotarians, their guests, and members of the media.

Great speakers inform, educate, and entertain. Fresno Rotary has hosted a diverse and distinctive array of landmark speakers including California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Oklahoma Senator Rick Brinkley, California State Controller John Chiang, Congressmen: Devin Nunes, Jim Costa, and George Radanovich, Fresno Mayors: Alan Autry and Ashley Swearingen, and many others.

We suggest that you understand the Fresno Rotary audience and review the information below before submitting your proposal.

Who is the Fresno Rotary audience?

Fresno Rotarians Join Leaders
Fresno Rotary offers the chance to network and make lasting friendships with some of Fresno business, professional and community leaders. In addition, there is 1,222,000 Rotarians in the world that are welcome at any of the 34,500 clubs around the world to enjoy the camaraderie of an international organization. Fresno Rotary is one of the 50th largest clubs in the world that formed in 1916.

Fresno Rotarians Exchange Ideas

Fresno Rotarians gathers each week to hear from top business, civic and political leaders, sports and entertainment figures and scientists on timely topics. Rotarians learn about international affairs, current events, public policy and have the chance to witness live debates.

Fresno Rotarians Take Action

Fresno Rotary are committed to improving our community and our world. Rotarians work together to find solutions for local and international issues of poverty, illiteracy, clean water, environmental improvement, hunger, disease and many more.

Fresno Rotary is a professional business service culture based on cultivating relationships and not looking for business. This means that Rotarians are not at a meeting to be “pitched” or sold to. Solicitation for donations and votes by our speakers is prohibited. Please do not urge Rotarians to contact their legislators regarding your issue. The purpose of the presentation is to provide information so that each Rotarian can be better informed or can make a personal decision about the causes or candidates he or she wishes to support.

Fresno Rotary allows speakers to distribute materials on the tables at a meeting or function provided it is pertinent to his/her subject. Speakers are not allowed to distribute materials on the luncheon tables at any of its meetings or functions offering services or goods for sale, or allow any political or religious handouts. A speaker is discouraged from promoting their goods or services during their presentation. If requested in advance, a table in the lobby is available for these purposes. The speaker may point this out during their presentation. The remaining items should be retrieved by the speaker immediately after the meeting.

Fresno Rotary encourages speakers to have a press conference and submit media releases. Visit Fresno Rotary’s website banner to join our social media links and share your upcoming presentation. The media, specifically the Fresno Bee, is informed of upcoming speakers as well as local network television affiliates. Members and guests are expected to follow the Rotary’s Four Way Test and Object of Rotary (www.rotary.org). The Fresno Rotary is a nonprofit organization and does not monetarily support speakers.

What should I expect at a Rotary Meeting?

Rotarians arrive by noon on Mondays for lunch. We would appreciate you arriving before that time for lunch as our guest. If you wish to bring a guest, we would be pleased to host an additional person for lunch as well.

Immediately following lunch, Club business is conducted at or before 12:30 p.m. followed the introduction of the speaker. Speakers are allotted 25 minutes. We recommend that you plan to speak for no more than 20 minutes, leaving five minutes for questions and answers, if you choose to do so. You may offer to stay after the meeting ends to continue answering questions. Our members place great value on the Q & A –and you will find that it is a great way to connect you and your message to the audience. We have made a commitment to our members to end each Rotary promptly and the president will then close the meeting.

How to Make Your Rotary Presentation a Hit (or how to make the most of your 25 minutes)

PowerPoint? Video? PowerPoints are best if kept to less than 20 slides and all type visible from the back of the meeting room. The Cornerstone Conference Center supplies an audio & video assistant to assist you with your program needs. The conference room has two large projectors, two large screens and a computer system for media presentations. Cornerstone Conference Center does not have live internet feed available. Please have your presentation in a DVD-R or PowerPoint format on a USB. Short DVDs PowerPoints, video or any other audio visual format should be emailed to the Rotary Office (office@ fresnorotary.org) at least three days in advance so it may be tested by the audio visual staff and have it ready when you arrive. It is advisable to arrive early to check out the equipment. If you have a PowerPoint of your proposal or a DVD of a previous speaking engagement for the committee to review, please email it to office@fresnorotary.org along with your proposal.