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Chiang Mai International Rotary Club (CMIRC) – A Continuing Story of Evolution

“Organizations are very similar to living entities that respond, react and evolve in relation to the external and internal environment that surrounds them. The survival and growth are entirely dependent upon the continuous exchange of the external and internal environment that keeps happening all the time." - Source:

Evolution: a process of gradual, peaceful, progressive change or development, as in social or economic structure or institutions. (

CMIRC's existence can be traced back to a question in 2013: “Is there sufficient interest to justify forming an English language Rotary club in Chiang Mai?" The process of answering that question began in earnest in July 2013 resulting in the club receiving a charter from Rotary International on 21st February 2014. Of the twenty charter members there remains today: Joe Evans, Colin Jarvis, Nancy Lindley, Roger Lindley and John Schorr.

In the beginning of the club, decisions had to be made about how the club’s general administration would be handled. Under the leadership of Jerry Nelson, the choice was made for using the Clubrunner software solution. Later, recognizing the need for an improved public image for the club, Rotarian Viki Thomason evaluated website packages for communications. The Wix package is what the general public sees highlighting our clubs’ activities and ClubRunner is connected in the background for club operations. Viki also expanded out public image via YouTube, Instagram, Line, Facebook and TikTok.

For meetings, we have seen the evolution from meeting weekly on Thursday evenings to meeting bi-monthly on Tuesday evenings. We have moved meeting locations from The River Market Restaurant to Hong Kong Luck Restaurant near the central police station to Hong Kong Lucky Restaurant at Top North Hotel (one meeting) to our present meeting location at The Royal Peninsula Hotel.

Due to the inability to meet in person due to Covid-19, we evolved to having only ZOOM online meetings with a movement to hybrid (online and in-person) meetings with the challenge of quality of the meeting for remote participants. Rotarian Gary took this on as a personal initiative to improve remote participant engagement quality. A comprehensive solution using Logitech technology and equipment is being implemented

Our service projects have also evolved. Early, under the leadership of Jerry Nelson, the Mae Tao Clinic was the first project of the club. The Child Water Safety & Drowning Prevention Project arose from an observation of a former member about the high rate of child drowning in Thailand. Rotarian John Schorr took this on to develop as a club project which now sees hundreds of fourth graders in public schools receiving fifteen hours of water safety instruction each year. Also, John revived our School Vision Screening Project by finding a Thai optician to conduct evaluations, working with the same public schools as the water safety project with a vision screening project for all 3rd and 5th graders in the eleven public schools. The vision project has improved in quality by adding a licensed Thai ophthalmologist to the project as a consultant.

Our project at BEAM Education Foundation evolved under the leadership of Rotarian Nick Dale and the changing environment of Covid-19. The same evolution occurred with the Burma Children Medical Fund B.K Kee Patient House under the leadership of Rotarian Bill Pierce. Both of these projects will continue to see continuing improvement and evolution under the leadership of Rotarian Gary.

Our Annual Winter Clothing Appeal which was initiated by Rotarian Joe Evans has evolved under the leadership of Rotarian Dylan Thomason into an extremely high-profile project within our community and raised club visibility via collection points at local Makro stores, Rimping stores and international schools.

Over the years there have been a number of discussions within the club about club participation in a Rotary Foundation Global Grant. Due to the visibility of our projects and club activities on our evolved social media presence, our club was identified as a desirable host club for the Water and Sanitation in Thailand Global Grant proposal with the international partner club of Rotary Club of Fig Garden, District 5230 California USA. Under the strong leadership of Rotarian John Schorr, this approximately 320,000 USD three-year project is approaching reality.

To offer the opportunity of financial support of our mission by other residents in Thailand or those with strong connections to Thailand we formed the Chiang Mai International Rotary Club Foundation. The mission of this foundation is to improve child safety, health and education in Northern Thailand. All of us, recognizing the challenges faced by children here in Northern Thailand, have the opportunity to make in-person donations or to make in-memoriam-donations for these children knowing the funds will be wisely invested in their future.


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