FOR anybody who is a member of Rotary Club, a major national and international service club, with international world headquarters in Evanston, Illinois, USA, the pinnacle is becoming a member of the Arch C Klumph Society.
It is a high-status society named after the founder of Rotary International, Arch Klumph, and is exclusively for Rotarians and friends of Rotary whose cumulative contributions towards the uplifting of mankind total or exceed US$250,000 (N37 million).
In 1917, Arch C. Klumph, Rotary's sixth president, proposed to the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, the creation of an "endowment fund for Rotary ... for doing good in the world in charitable, educational, and other avenues of community service." A few months later, the endowment received its first contribution of $26.50 from the Rotary Club of Kansas City, Missouri, USA.
Two years later, the Foundation made its first grant of US$500 to the International Society for Crippled Children. The ISCC -- created by Rotarian Edgar F. "Daddy" Allen -- later grew into the Easter Seals organization. From a humble beginning, it has metamorphosed to a first-rate society today.
Members who are top pacesetters of the organization are inducted into the society and have their photographs and statement of support for the Rotary Foundation recorded on a touch screen kiosk that are exhibited in the Arch Klumph gallery in Evanston and at major Rotary events.
The members are also invited to special events at annual Rotary International Convention and International Assembly.
Since its inception, no man or woman of African descent has joined the celebrated club with about 200 members. However, former Minister of State for Education, entrepreneur and criminologist, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi, recently broke the jinx by becoming the first African to reach the pinnacle.
Rotary International President, Sakuji Tanaka, was in Nigeria to celebrate with Gbagi before the formal induction in America, later in the year, where a certificate will be presented to him. Arch Klumph members are people who believe in the work of The Rotary Foundation and have made supporting peace, education, and humanitarian assistance part of their personal mission. They are key supporters of the Foundation, and their involvement is vital to the work of the organization.
Arch C. Klumph Society members support The Rotary Foundation for a variety of reasons. With their help, the Foundation is fulfilling Rotary's promise of creating a polio-free world. Children and families are living healthier lives through the Foundation's Humanitarian Grants Program.
Educational and cultural exchange programs are helping young people build lasting friendships and mutual understanding with their peers around the world. Member support enables tomorrow is leaders to live and study together as Rotary World Peace Fellows and provides them the opportunity to begin building a more peaceful world.
Gbagi's journey to Rotary's Arch Klump Society started, this year, when the district governor of Rotary International, District 9140, Yinka Babalola, and others, drew his attention to the fact that there was no African in the society. The former chair of the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria took it as a challenge.
His acceptance of the challenge is coming with good tidings for the people of Delta State, the political constituency of the former governorship aspirant and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chieftain.
The lucky beneficiaries are youths of the state, numbering about 100,000, who he has lined up a stirring educational programme for with his membership fees.
He stated in a letter to the district governor in April, "In the light of the above, therefore, I have decided to use this medium to reach out to teeming millions of Delta children that are in dire need of educational assistance by accepting the Arch. Klumph Society membership. It will be appreciated if the payment of my membership fees will support the training of Deltans as stated below".
Gbagi's plan is that 50,000 youths from his senatorial district, Delta Central, will benefit from the programme, while 25,000 youths will be selected from each of the other two senatorial districts: Delta North and Delta South. His preferred gender ratio is male to female, 60:40.
Sunday Vanguard learnt that the Rotary Foundation would come up with a program to actualize the training in line with the aim of the donor.
Gbagi stated in April that he would make the payment to Rotary Foundation in three installments of N17million, N10million and N10million respectively.
Having fulfilled his obligation, the Oginibo - born Rotarian is looking forward for his formal induction as an Arch Klumph Society member of Rotary International, scheduled to hold in Chicago, United States of America, later in the year.