Service Above Self
The Rotary Club of San Francisco provides hands-on service to local communities and across the globe. We are proud of our Club's long record of service: In the past five years alone, our Club has donated over $800,000 and countless volunteer hours to service projects.
Because we cannot meet every need, we regularly review our service projects to be sure they address current needs and interests, to introduce new projects recommended by our members, to react to unexpected needs, and to sunset projects that are no longer of value.
Volunteer service opportunities are available to our members in all of these projects. Contact a board member or committee chair for more information.
Club Signature Project
Emergency Services Day: Honoring local first responders for heroic acts. Every year, we recognize first responders from the San Francisco Fire Department, the San Francisco Police Department, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department, and the local US Coast Guard at a special luncheon. First responders recognized for their selfless acts receive a night on the town and other gifts.
Health and Wellbeing
We assemble hundreds of shiny new bicycles at our annual Bike Build and give them to third and fourth graders from local elementary schools along with helmets, locks, and safety instruction from the San Francisco Police Department.
We collaborate with other organizations to make life better for many different kinds of San Franciscans:
  • Catholic Charities of San Francisco: We work with St. Joseph’s Family Center in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood to help families overcome the chronic problems that cause homelessness and aid re-entry into self-sufficiency. Catholic Charities of San Francisco is a corporate member of the Rotary Club of San Francisco.
  • Aquarium of the Bay: We help teach 3D printing to students from Title 1 schools who have visual impairments. Students create small scale models of animals with braille signage, which are offered to Aquarium guests from the blind and visually-impaired community. Aquarium of the Bay is a corporate member of the Rotary Club of San Francisco
  • Homeless Prenatal Program: We stuff diaper bags with items that all new mothers need, and provide them as gifts at baby showers for homeless expectant mothers as they graduate from HPP’s prenatal and parenting classes.
  • The Arc San Francisco: We prepare and serve a festive Thanksgiving luncheon to the participants (adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities) and staff of The Arc.
  • San Francisco-Marin Food Bank: We package food so it can be distributed to a variety of populations in and around San Francisco.
  • Smuin Center for Dance: We underwrite dance classes for elementary and middle school students in the Potrero Hill community. These classes increase self-confidence, build collaborative and individual learning skills, and improve the health of participants.
  • Family House: We provide dinners to families whose children are being treated at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital as part of Family House’s effort to provide physical comfort and emotional support to these families, free from financial concerns.
We participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s with several other local Rotary Clubs.
We have been committed to the eradication of Polio ever since Rotary International launched Polio Plus in 1985, when there were 1,000 new cases of polio every day. There were only 30 cases of wild polio in the world in 2022.
We support local operations of Alliance for Smiles and participate in their international surgical missions where they provide free surgeries to children with cleft lip and cleft palate. Alliance for Smiles is a corporate member of the Rotary Club of San Francisco.
We collaborate with the First Five Rotary Clubs in the world to provide education, screening, and treatment to women in the city of Santa Cruz, Bolivia, who are at risk of cervical cancer or who have early cervical cancer. The First Five Rotary Clubs are Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland, Seattle, and Los Angeles.
We partner with the Rotary Club of San Francisco Castro and the Rotary Club of Phnom Penh to train Cambodian nurses, doctors, and physical therapist to manage dysphagia (swallowing impairment) for adult patients with neurological disorders including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, ALS, and dementia.
We support Building Education in their mission to rebuild schools in Nepal that were damaged in recent earthquakes.
Investing in Our Youth
We sponsor Interact service clubs at Lowell and George Washington High Schools in San Francisco in partnership with the Rotary Club of San Francisco Chinatown. We sponsor Rotaract service clubs at the University of San Francisco and, in partnership with the Rotary Club of San Francisco West, at San Francisco State University. Rotary Club members provide guidance and mentorship to Interact and Rotaract leadership.
We are the lead sponsors of Rotary Youth Leadership Academy (RYLA), a youth leadership camp experience for rising sophomores, juniors and seniors in San Francisco, San Mateo, and Marin counties. RYLA does not require any leadership experience and – thanks to the generosity of Rotarians – is free for all students. About 150 students attend the five-day camp held in July near Santa Cruz. 40 Rotarians and friends volunteer as RYLA team facilitators and staff administrators, with help from 20 RYLA student alumni. Many campers share that RYLA is transformative, empowering, fun, and one of the best experiences of their lives.
We work with Mission High School’s Fire & EMS Pathway program that provides hands-on training to juniors and seniors who want to learn the skills needed to be a firefighter/EMT. This program builds a larger, more diverse, and well-prepared applicant pool for positions in the San Francisco Fire Department while bolstering the self-confidence and sense of community of the students who participate.
We provide scholarships to graduating seniors in Interact and Rotaract Clubs, and to RYLA alumni to support their college education.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
As one of the first Rotary Clubs in the world to include DEI on its board, we work to ensure that good practice in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging is woven into the fabric of everything we do.
We encourage members to share their family traditions, celebrations, and rituals at luncheon meetings and at social events. We have celebrated Chinese New Year, Diwali, and Passover together. We have heard about growing up in Japan, migrating from India, being part of a family that has been in the US since the 17th Century, and more.
We sponsor a DEI Film Festival, which features movies and videos that reflect the wealth of diversity in the world. Recent films include Amistad and Loving.
Professional Development and Business Networking
We work with the staff and participants (adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities) of The Arc San Francisco to provide entrepreneurial training for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to help them realize their dreams.
Our Rotary Means Business program provides business networking opportunities for our members and their friends.
We provide leadership training to our members and to members of local Interact and Rotaract clubs.
Protecting the Environment
We created Rotary Meadow in 2003 as a centerpiece for the forest in the Mount Sutro Open Space. We work regularly with Sutro Stewards to maintain the forest with activities including weeding, removing invasive species, planting new natives, and maintaining trails.
Our Club was a founding member of the Rotary Climate Action Team (RCAT), which addresses the climate crisis. Now comprised of hundreds of Rotary Clubs around the world, RCAT fosters Action Teams, educates Rotarians about the climate crisis, shares projects and contacts in the Rotary world, and links to multiple resources across Rotary and with Rotary partners.
Economic Development
We partner with the Rotary Club of Ankara-Bahcelievler to revitalize the local dairy industry through cheese production This project is rebuilding the local dairy industry in Kahramanmaras, which was substantially impacted by the recent major earthquake in Turkey.
Building Peace
Working with a number of Rotary Clubs around the world, we support the work of Jerusalem Peacebuilders, which brings together Jewish and Arab teachers and students in Israel to address the inequalities and communal traumas of these different populations.