A Brief History of Rotary e-Clubs
The concept of Rotary e-Clubs was developed by members of the Rotary Club of Boulder Colorado and a design committee from D5450, commencing work in March 2001.
The Board of Rotary International approved the world's first provisional Rotary e-Club (Rotary eClub One) in 2001 with John Minter, a resident of Oregon USA and a former member of the Rotary Club of Boulder, as its Charter President.
In 2003 Charter President John Minter, President-elect Chris Joscelyne, and President-nominee Gerry Roberts, undertook a major review of the Rotary e-Club concept. Significant changes were made, monitored closely by RI. The model that was adopted became the operational benchmark that we all know today.
In June 2004 the RI Council on Legislation approved the resolution: "To allow attendance credit for a 30-minute interactive club Web site activity." This opened the way for the Cyber Rotary Clubs Pilot Project with 14 e-Clubs participating in the proof-of-concept evaluation trial.
Rotarians Joscelyne and Minter, with support from D5450, submitted a proposal to the Board of RI that Rotary should follow the Internet naming protocol of the UN and governments (e-health, e-commerce, e-trade, e-banking etc.) and adopt the descriptor "Rotary e-Club". This recommendation was adopted by the RI Board who ordered that the descriptor "Rotary cyber-club" be no longer used. The Pilot Project was renamed Rotary e-Clubs Pilot Project, and clubs were directed to remove references to "cyber-club" from their websites.
The Rotary e-Clubs Pilot Project concluded on 30 June 2010 following the COL at which Rotary e-Clubs were approved permanently, with a limit of two per Rotary District. Of the 14 e-Clubs in the pilot, 12 had met the performance requirements prescribed by RI, and 2 had failed. The 2 that failed had their charters cancelled and they were shut down on June 30, 2010.
At the 2013 COL, voting delegates removed the limit of two Rotary e-Clubs per District. Earlier concerns that there may have been a "gold rush" effect, with an overwhelming number of e-Clubs being chartered, proved to be unfounded, with less than 100 Rotary e-Clubs being chartered in the three years following the 2010 COL.