Club Information

Rotary Club of Champaign, IL

Champaign Rotary
We meet Mondays at 12:00 PM
The Round Barn Conference Center
1900 Round Barn Road
Champaign, IL  61821
United States
District Site

Welcome from President Connie Walsh



Home Page Stories

Feeding Our Kids provides nourishing food to food insecure school children in Champaign County on weekends and school holidays throughout the school year. Their goals are to spread community awareness of hunger and to assist every Champaign County school in need. They partner with the Eastern Illinois Foodbank to alleviate hunger in the community.

Ralph Zuke is the President of the Rotary Club of Fairview Heights, IL USA. He plans to ride a rickshaw from Fairview Heights to Toronto, Canada where the Rotary International Convention is being held. Ralph is doing this ride to raise awareness and money for Polio Plus, a cause Rotary has championed since 1988. He plans to leave on June 1 and arrive at Simcoe Park in Toronto at 3:00 pm on June 23 where Rotary President Ian Riseley will personally welcome him to the Convention. Ralph will stay overnight in Champaign on June 5. (Please let President Connie know if you are willing to host him!)

Area Rotary clubs will host a dinner for Ralph and take special collections for Ralph’s Ride. Champaign Rotary will take a special collection for Ralph’s Ride at our meeting on June 4. Please make checks payable to The Rotary Foundation and put Ralph’s Ride Polio Plus in the memo line. We especially encourage members who have not made a donation to The Rotary Foundation this year to give a donation on June 4.

Pictured are Ralph Zuke and Rotary International President Ian Riseley.

Here is Ralph’s reason for riding:

So I am often asked," Why Rotary?" The short answer is, Rotary allows me the opportunity to do things I never dreamed I could do. The Rotary symbol is a cogged wheel. I view every member in Rotary as a cog in that wheel (about 1.2 million). When I first joined Rotary I learned that I, as one person, could move that wheel forward. My first month as a Rotarian I was bike riding down the Oregon coast and ended up in the beautiful town of Florence. While there, I met a Rotarian named George Lewis (The Waterman). George asked me if my home club was doing any international grants. I was so new to Rotary I had no idea what our club was doing. When I got home I learned that not only was our club not involved in an international grant, they had never done one before. In my first year as a Rotarian, I wrote, raised money, and completed our club’s first clean water grant and about 800 people from the highlands of Guatemala had clean safe drinking water! In the next couple of years, I went on to do two more water projects, one in Libya and one in India. It's an amazing feeling to know that me, one person in the Midwest, could positively affect so many people I most likely never meet half a world away! An almost impossible task for an individual to do without the framework Rotary provides. As I've become a more seasoned member of Rotary I have discovered that not only can I move the Rotary wheel forward, the wheel moves me forward, as well. I truly think I am a better person now than I was nine years ago. The Four-Way Test is not just something I say, it's something I strive for everyday and many of the Rotarians in my club, district and beyond have become a second family to me.

It is with this in mind that I look so forward to completing the Ralph's Rickshaw Ride for Polio from Fairview Heights, IL USA to the Rotary International Convention in Toronto. This ride will last twenty-two days with the goal to raise $22,000 USD. Each day is in honor of one of the preventable cases of polio in 2017. Many people have commented about how long and hard this will be and the hours and miles of training I'm having to put in, but to be honest, this has the potential to be one of the most fun and gratifying things I've ever done. Every person who will sit in the chair will know that Rotary (with its many partnerships) is on the verge of doing something that many in the beginning thought was undoable – to eradicate Polio! We are sooooo close! I invite you to be a part of something that is truly monumental.

 Rotary District 6490 Assembly


The Rotary District 6490 Assembly is training for all officer and club leaders for the 2018-19 year. It will be held at The Forum at Carle, 611 W. Park St, Urbana, IL on Saturday, May 19th beginning with registration and coffee at 8:30a.m. The event will conclude by 2:00p.m.

Presidents-Elect, bring your whole leadership team with you for this information packed day. You won’t want to miss it! There will be breakout sessions for like positions and featured speakers for everyone. Lunch will be served.

Registration is now open at Go to the Calendar and scroll down to District Assembly on May 19. You may view the Agenda there also. The cost is $10 per person payable at check-in at the event.

For those clubs that want to be involved in Global Grants, you must have someone attend the session on certification. Please contact President Connie Walsh for additional information. 

Rotary Challenge 
Rotary Challenge is an outstanding financial program under the mentoring of two professors in Finance at the University of Illinois involving the local high schools and supported by Champaign Rotary Club.  It is a simulation that provides each student with a $1,000,000 portfolio and an on-line brokerage account from which the student buys and sells equities.
Many thanks to Heartland Bank & Trust for supplying the generous monetary gift for the winners!

Rotary Challenge Video Essay Contest

In support of the 2018 Money Smart WeekTM Illinois - taking place April 21 to April 28, 2018 - the Department of Finance at the University of Illinois, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, presents the tenth Annual Video Essay Contest.

High School students are encouraged to produce and submit a Video Essay on the topic of Financial Literacy. This year, the video essay had to address borrowing or lending money .

Students are encouraged to research the topic and to create a video essay that teachers, parents, and other students can use to learn about the topic at hand. The Video Essay can be a dramatization, animation, coordinated stills - whatever the students need to communicate their ideas and lessons about financial literacy.


Many thanks to Heartland Bank & Trust for supplying the generous monetary gift for the winners!
Rotary Challenge is an outstanding financial program under the mentoring of two professors in Finance at the University of Illinois involving the local high schools and supported by Champaign Rotary Club.  It is a simulation that provides each student with a $1,000,000 portfolio and an on-line brokerage account from which the student buys and sells equities.

The Champaign County Humane Society was established as a branch of the Illinois Humane Society in 1889 and chartered as the Champaign County Humane Society in 1903. In 1951, a group of local citizens gathered together to establish the first animal shelter near Bondville, Illinois, and in June of 1988 the shelter moved to the current location in Urbana. The organization’s purpose is to prevent cruelty to animals, to promote animal welfare, to educate the public about the humane care and treatment of animals, to increase public awareness of the companion animal overpopulation issue and to provide solutions, and to provide high quality shelter, medical, and adoption services for animals when necessary.

April 14 was a busy day for Champaign Rotarians and Centennial Interactors. Many performed service around the community in honor of the late Centennial Interactor Austin Cloyd, including a group that cleared brush at Merci's Refuge.

Others participated in a second consecutive Saturday of tree planting. This effort included over 90 trees to start a new native oak and hickory arboretum at the corner of Windsor and Race in Urbana. Rotarians and University of Illinois students performed the planting.

Thank you to all who participated, and especially to Janet Ellis-Nelson who coordinated Austin's Day volunteers and Bill Malone who did the same for the tree planting! More photos from Merci's Refuge and the tree planting are posted on the Facebook page.

Volunteers Needed for Rotary Tree Planting Event

Our Club is providing over 150 small trees to be planted at two different sites.
Saturday, April 7
Site One is at: Edna Edwards Burnett Land and Water Reserve near Villa Grove
This is for the Grand Prairie Friends  Conservation Group headed by Sarah Livesay, wife of our own Jeff Livesay.  We will be planting about 60-70 small trees at this beautiful site beginning at 10 AM.  We will need the most volunteers for this site.
Revised Date: Saturday, April 14
Site Two is at:  The New Native Oak-Hickory Arboretum on the SW corner of Race and Windsor in Urbana directly West of Clark Lindsey.  We will be planting about 90-100 small trees there with the help of many U of I students.  This site will start at 9 AM
Sign up sheets will be at the Meeting on Monday or email Bill Malone at


Father’s Day, June 17, 2018 is the date set for the 15th Rotary Day at the Ball Park. The Chicago Cubs will play the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium in St. Louis with a 1:10 pm game time. $20.00 from each ticket sold will be returned to Rotary District 6490 clubs for literacy efforts. Tickets are $65 for box seats and $45 for terrace seats. Non-Rotarians are welcome, so please feel free to invite friends! Email Janet Ellis-Nelson at for a ticket order form.


Interact’s 11th Austin’s Day will be held on Saturday, April 14 from 9:00 am (check in) to 3:30 pm. Interact holds this annual day of community service in memory of Austin Cloyd, who was a member of Centennial Interact Club and passionate about serving others. Austin was killed in the Virginia Tech. shootings. If you would like to volunteer, go to, and click on Individual Registration or Group Registration on the top bar. Perhaps your family or work team would like to volunteer together. The following non-profit organizations have requested assistance: Humane Society, Salvation Army, CU@Home, Crisis Nursery, Courage Connection, Salt & Light, Centennial High School, Orphan’s Treasure Box, and Merci’s Refuge. Volunteer shifts are 9:30-11:30 am, 11:30 am-1:30 pm, and 1:30-3:30 pm. There are several opportunities for both indoor and outdoor work. If you would like to volunteer for a specific charity, complete the registration process, then email Janet Ellis-Nelson at
Beginning January 8, Champaign Rotary meetings will be located at Round Barn Banquet Center located at 1900 Round Barn Road in Champaign.  The Hawthorne will undergo an extensive renovation that will include their banquet facilities.  The charge will be $10 at the door regardless of whether you are eating or not. 

Honored to Help with Relief Effort in Florida

I made a call to the Placida Rotary Club in Florida where I attend make-up meetings when I’m in Florida to determine the damage from Hurricane Maria. They told me our area was spared, but in Le High and Estero the devastation was horrible. They connected me with the Next Level Church in Ft. Myers, which was acting as a liaison station, dispatching volunteers to areas where help was needed. I told them I was willing to come down on behalf of my Rotary Club in Champaign, Illinois with my van loaded with anything they needed. They requested that I bring tarps or heavy plastic and some mini generators to power air compressors in the field. I put the word out that Monday at our club, and many Rotarians gave me money to get started. I also had several Rotarians come to my home with tarps and an 8500w generator. The response was overwhelming as my vehicle was loaded from end to end! I had to stop people from giving because I could not fit more in my van. My journey to Florida took 22 1/2 hours, due to the remaining waters from Hurricane Maria and families making their way back into Florida. When I finally arrived, I was overwhelmed with 3,000 volunteers that had already assembled from Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, churches, schools, and governments from afar to help those in need. The Next Level Church was prepared and organized in dispatching groups to needed areas. I was connected to a minister from Le High Acres, who was an experienced roofer and served as our foreman. Two Rotarians from Ft. Myers and two college students joined our team. With the supplies from Champaign Rotary and others in our Champaign area, we used tarps to cover twelve houses in four days. It was hot, and it was painful, but we gave and kept giving until we were finished. I was blessed to be hugged by many people, with tears in their eyes, who lost so much. I thank God for allowing me to be there to help! This “priceless” reward is imbedded in my heart and can never be taken away.

More photos are on the Champaign Rotary Facebook page.

To celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Champaign Rotary Club, the Club is establishing The Arthur Skelton Jr. Fund. This Fund is created to honor one of our long time members, "Mr. Rotary" Art Skelton.

Art served as Club Secretary, President and District Governor. He was the bedrock upon which today's club was built. He served as an unofficial advisor to countless presidents. He was an outstanding Rotarian and served as an excellent example of what a Rotarian should be. He worked unceasingly for Rotary and the many outstanding project that Rotary International and Champaign Rotary supports.

You can become charter Arthur Skelton Fellow by contributing $1,000 to the Arthur Skelton Fund. This contribution can be made in increments or a single $1,000 gift. Members will be recognized at the anniversary celebration, awarded the Arthur Skelton Fellow pin and certificate. Checks should be payable to "WGRC, Inc." and given to Joan Dixon or Tom Costello.