The Venice/Nokomis Rotary Club was born just after World War II to help bridge a gap between a military and civilian community. Venice, conceived in 1927 as a model city in the Florida boom, became a ghost town during the Depression. In 1943 an Army Air Base was built with a military population of 10,000. This bolstered the economy until the Army vacated in 1947, leaving a voting population of 142.
Something was needed to replace this void and help adjust its citizens to civilian life again. At this point the Sarasota Rotary Club stepped in to organize the Venice club. The club was chartered by Rotary International on December 26, 1947, as club number 4347 in the growing worldwide organization. Today there are approximately 32,462 clubs worldwide. Venice/Nokomis Rotarians quickly became a vital force for community improvement. Rotarians organized Boy Scout and
Cub Scout troops, a Little League, a drive to build a welfare home for the aged, and helped build a teenage canteen, among many other contributions to the community.
Since the Rotary has continued its leadership efforts in the community. The club played a key role in raising money for the Venice Community Center, and for the Venice High School Stadium. In 1976 the club sponsored the South Venice Rotary Club (Now Venice Sunrise Club), and for many years has sponsored a very active Interact Club at Venice High School.
In 1991 the first women were inducted into Venice/Nokomis Rotary. Today women constitute over twenty percent of the membership and are a vital component in the continuing success of the club.
Internationally, our club has been active in sending and hosting study groups to and from foreign countries such as Russia, England, France, Australia and Switzerland. In recent years our club has sponsored two Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars for post-graduate study in Italy and Greece and Mexico.
Today, our Rotary Club concentrates its efforts in helping the youth of our community. Each year, through our fund-raising efforts, we provide grants to a number of local charities. In 2001, the Board of Directors voted to support a new counseling program to be housed at Venice High School. Our club accepted the challenge to be the lead continuous sponsor of the Rotary Futures Program. This program is intended for use by all members of our community interested in continuing their education. Our Annual Duck Pluck Fund Raiser supports the Rotary Futures Program. Our own Foundation, which gives college scholarships to deserving students, joined our club in supporting the Futures program during its formative years.
With a rich history of community involvement, the Venice/Nokomis Rotary Club continues on the move with more members and more projects to provide an even higher level of service to our neighbors in this area. Through the humanitarian projects of Rotary International, we are proud to play a part in the Rotary goal of peace and friendship throughout the world.
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