HISTORY OF THE FORMATION OF THE ROTARY CLUB OF SILICON VALLEY RAINBOW
Provided by the Rotary Club of Silicon Valley Rainbow
In August, 2018, Charlie Wasser saw the need for a Rotary Club in San Jose that would have a club culture revolving around the LGBTQ community. The immediate goal was to work with gay youth and gay seniors. These are 2 groups that seem to be ignored by the mainstream Bay Area.
Having been in Rotary for 14 years, Charlie saw attitudes evolve in Rotary. Where Rotary had the reputation for being a conservative group for “old, rich, white people,” Rotary was finally willing to totally embrace the concept of inclusivity. That being the case, it was time to start developing clubs that would serve the LGBTQ community. There was another Rotary club with the same philosophy that started in the Castro District of San Francisco a year earlier. Charlie saw the strong support the Castro club received from Rotary leadership and realized the potential for a club in San Jose.
Things were a bit slow going recruiting potential members until January, 2019. At that point people started to step up and join the club. The club needed at least 20 members for Rotary to charter it as a club. During the time frame before chartering, the club was getting known around the community and city of San Jose. The club had a booth at the San Jose Earthquakes soccer team’s Pride Celebration in June 2019 to recruit and publicize the club’s existence. At the same time, the club was organizing and then ran a donation drive in support of the LGBTQ Youth Space in downtown San Jose. There were the beginnings of bringing meals to New Haven, the LGBTQ shelter for homeless members of the community. This has become a monthly project where members now drop off the food so as to limit physical contact. Other projects outside the LGBTQ community have also been done making the club a strong advocate in Silicon Valley for those in need.
Charlie arranged for the club to have a major part in planning the Santa Clara County Fair for the 2020 Fair. There would have been gay entertainers and a venue to highlight gay businesses. Unfortunately, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Fair was cancelled except for some online events showcasing livestock from South Santa Clara County. Of course, that meant there would not be a gay presence in 2020.
The club was chartered by Rotary International on October 23, 2019.