Rotaract Club of Birmingham

On August 6, 2003, Birmingham, Alabama natives John Peinhardt and Mike Mahon attended a Rotary Club of Birmingham meeting as a guest of John’s father, Brent Peinhardt. The Rotary Club’s guest speaker was the recently elected Alabama State Governor Bob Riley who was seeking support for his new tax plan. On that day, Rotary’s large meeting hall was filled to capacity and the crowd listened intently to their guest speaker. Following the Governor’s remarks, the floor was open for questions and for several minutes Birmingham Rotarians were able to question their Governor’s policies, voice opinions and concerns, and most importantly, receive instant feedback. John and Mike were inspired by what they witnessed and were also impressed by the large number of young people attending as guests. Having recently graduated college, they believed there should be an organization in Birmingham founded on the same principles as Rotary but tailored to the needs and interests of young professionals.

Immediately John and Mike began pursuing the opportunity to partner with Birmingham Rotary to establish Alabama’s first community based Rotaract Club. In October, they presented the concept to the Rotary Club of Birmingham’s Board of Directors. The Board, led by President Charles Collat, pledged its full support and agreed to sponsor the new club.

After the Rotary Board meeting, John and Mike spoke to several local Rotary clubs and asked Rotarians to submit names of quality young professionals who would be good candidates for Rotaract. By November, a Board of Directors was formed when John and Mike were joined by Matt Menendez, Brian Boehm, Kelly O’Donnell, Leslie Wood, Allen Jones, and Rachel Thompson. The inaugural Board members devoted substantial time and energy to promoting the club and developing its mission and operations. Their devotion paid off and by February 2004, Rotaract had received numerous applications for membership, ultimately yielding 51 charter members.

The club’s inaugural meeting was held in downtown Birmingham in the Harbert Center’s Bruno Hall on March 2, 2004. The first guest speaker, Hatton Smith, Rotarian and President of Birmingham-based Royal Cup Coffee, opened his presentation by exclaiming, “I wish I was a member of this club!” Following this meeting, Rotary International officially chartered the Rotaract Club of Birmingham on March 9, 2004 as Club Number 62902.

As a result of the generous and invaluable support of Rotary President Charles Collat, Rotarian Advisor Colin Luke, Rotary Club Executive Director Susan Jackson, members of the Rotary Club of Birmingham and the inaugural members of the Rotaract Club of Birmingham, the Rotaract Club of Birmingham has flourished in Birmingham by providing an unparalleled combination of high quality programming, service and fellowship opportunities for the area’s young professionals. With its consistent annual growth and ever increasing accomplishments, the Rotaract Club of Birmingham is among the largest, strongest and most effective Rotaract Clubs in the world.

The History of Our Club

August 6, 2003

Club Founders John Peinhardt and Mike Mahon attend a Rotary Club of Birmingham luncheon and are inspired to form the Rotaract Club of Birmingham.

October 29, 2003

Club Founders John Peinhardt and Mike Mahon make presentation to Rotary Club of Birmingham Board of Directors regarding formation of Rotaract Club of Birmingham.

November 19, 2003

Club Founders John Peinhardt and Mike Mahon address the Rotary Club of Birmingham meeting to explain the plans for the Rotaract Club of Birmingham.

February 24, 2004

Rotary Club of Birmingham members and Club Founders John Peinhardt and Mike Mahon host informational wine & cheese reception at Harbert Center's Bruno Hall for prospective Rotaract members.

March 2, 2004

Rotaract Club of Birmingham holds first Club meeting at Harbert Center's Bruno Hall with Royal Cup Coffee CEO & President Hatton Smith as speaker. Annual dues are set at $300.

March 9, 2004

Rotary International officially charters the Rotaract Club of Birmingham as Club 62902.

May 17, 2004

Rotaract Club of Birmingham, Inc. is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization in the State of Alabama.


Rotaract Club of Birmingham designs and adopts Ready 2 Read concept as signature service project.

September 2005

Rotaract Club of Birmingham adopts first Constitution and By-Laws.

February 2006

Rotaract Club of Birmingham creates Internet home page with

March 3, 2006

Rotaract Club of Birmingham holds first annual gala event Benefitting Ready 2 Read at WorkPlay, attracting over 500 attendees to the "Dress Up Get Down Gala."

September 15, 2006

Rotaractor Jennifer Nunnelley becomes first Rotaractor to transition as a member into Rotary Club of Birmingham.

October 19, 2006

Rotaract Club of Birmingham launches Ready 2 Read pilot program with the installation of classroom libraries in each 2nd grade classroom of Glen Iris Elementary. The Club holds a press conference and hosts kick-off celebration at WorkPlay. Ready 2 Read is soon implemented in two additional Birmingham elementary schools.

February 27, 2007

Rotaract Club of Birmingham launches "Reading in the Classroom" program that places Rotaractors in second grade classrooms on a monthly basis. Also in this month, the Club expands Ready 2 Read into two additional Birmingham elementary schools, increasing total number of Ready 2 Read classroom libraries to fifteen.

June 17-20, 2007

Rotary Club of Birmingham sponsor Chair Ben Moncrief and President April Mason to be first Rotaract Club of Birmingham Members to attend Rotary International Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.

June 29, 2007

Rotaract Club of Birmingham Foundation is incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization in the State of Alabama.

September 18, 2007

Rotaract Club of Birmingham co-hosts Birmingham mayoral candidate forum with local civic organizations at WorkPlay that attracts 250 attendees and is viewed by approximately 70,000 people on television.

March 15, 2008

Rotaract Club of Birmingham Foundation announces $150,000 raised to date for Ready 2 Read at the third annual gala, held at the Alabama Theatre.

September 18, 2008

Rotaract Club of Birmingham fully implements Ready 2 Read by placing 15,000 books across 130 second grade classrooms in every Birmingham School System elementary school. That evening, Club celebrated the Ready 2 Ready launch by hosting a dinner at The Club honoring Birmingham school teachers and administrators.

October 14, 2008

Rotaract Club of Birmingham creates a Facebook page.

March 28 – April 28, 2009

Club Member Brandon Wilson travels to Brazil to participate in District 6860's Global Study Exchange Team.

April 7, 2009

Rotaract Club of Birmingham issues first Annual Report highlighting Club's accomplishments, financial position and membership.

June 19, 2009

President V. J. Graffeo and Club Co-Founder Mike Mahon travel to Birmingham, England to accept Rotary International's 2009 International Winner of Outstanding Rotaract Projects Award for Ready 2 Read presented by RI President D. K. Lee during the Rotaract Pre Convention Meeting of the 100th Annual Rotary International Convention.

August 22, 2009

Rotaract Club of Birmingham hosts first annual Hack-It Classic golf tournament at Highland Park.

October 20, 2009

Governor Bob Riley is first sitting Alabama Governor to appear as lunch speaker.

November 23, 2009

Rotaract Club of Birmingham orders first custom designed Club trading banners with image of Birmingham's Vulcan statute prominently displayed.

December 1, 2009

Birmingham Business Alliance presents Rotaract Club of Birmingham with inaugural Young Professional Outstanding Large Organization Award.

December 27, 2009

January 25, 2010 – Former President Anthony Oni and member Caroline Downing travel to India as part of Rotary District 6860's Global Study Exchange Team.

February 16, 2010

Rotaract Club of Birmingham holds first off-site meeting at McWane Science Center.

February 20-24, 2010

Rotaract Club of Birmingham assists Rotary Club of Birmingham to host annual Large Club Conference in Birmingham, Alabama at Ross Bridge Resort, attended by over 200 Rotarians from across North America.

March 16, 2010

Rotaract Club of Birmingham adopts Amended and Restated Bylaws that shift officer terms from April – March to coincide with Rotary's July – June schedule, as well as increase annual dues to $350.

April 1, 2010

Rotaract Club of Birmingham holds first meeting in Harbert Center's large Beeson Hall with Birmingham Mayor William Bell as speaker, moving meeting days from Tuesday to Thursday.

May 10, 2010

Rotaract Club of Birmingham adopts 5 year strategic plan.

May 26, 2010

Rotaract Club of Birmingham issues first official Tweet: "@RotaractBham has officially stepped into the Twitter world."

June 17, 2010

The Yellowhammers make debut as Rotaract Club of Birmingham's first kickball team in Birmingham's Go Kickball league.

September 15, 2010

The Club started a regular, monthly service project at the assisted living facility St. Martin's in the Pines.

September 22, 2010

Rotaract Club of Birmingham's Past Presidents Panel commences with an inaugural luncheon in Rotary's Past President's Room at the Harbert Center.

January 13-17, 2011

Thirty-one Rotaractors and guests travel to Park City, Utah for the Rotaract Club of Birmingham's first organized ski trip.

April 14, 2011

The Club participated for the first time in the Birmingham Reads initiative sponsored by Better Basics.

May 6, 2011

Rotaract Club of Birmingham's contributes $5,000.00 to Rotary International's PolioPlus, the largest contribution to polio eradication of any Rotaract Club in the world to date.

June 25, 2011

Rotaractors participated in a statewide Tornado Relief Day with Habitat for Humanity.

July 21, 2011

The Rotaract Club Foundation entered into a three-year Memorandum of Understanding with Better Basics to fund and support the Ready 2 Read program until 2014. At that time, the MOU will be re-discussed.

August 27, 2011

The Club held the third annual Hack-It Classic at Highland Park Golf Course.

September 14, 2011

Rotaractors joined the Birmingham Rotary Club for a luncheon featuring Rotary International President Kalyan Banerjee of India.

September 22, 2011

The Harbert Center celebrated their 25th anniversary which the Club supported and was a sponsor.

September 29, 2011

For the first time, the Club hosted a Teach for America Reception for Birmingham teachers at the rooftop of the Kress Building.

January 10, 2012

The Club added Vino as a location to its monthly Happy Hour rotation.

January 11-16, 2012

Over thirty-five Rotaractors and guests travel to Breckenridge, CO for the second annual ski trip.

March 7, 2012

The Foundation transferred $162,000 to a Merrill Lynch investment account after requesting and reviewing appropriate investment strategies from multiple vendors.

May 10, 2012

The Club held a joint social crawfish social with Downtown Rotary at Good People Brewing.

May 17, 2012

The Club welcomed its first out-of-state guest speaker, Chick-fil-A Chief Marketing Officer Steve Robinson.

June 7, 2012

The Club presented Mr. Ralph Harrison Smith II the first every Birmingham Rotaract Mentor Award for his promotion of others and the community above himself.

June 30, 2012

The Rotaract Club of Birmingham donated $5,000 to Rotary International's End Polio Now Campaign. This donation marks the second $5,000 donation by the Rotaract Club of Birmingham, making it the largest cumulative donation by any Rotaract club in the world.

July 1, 2012

The Club aligned the dues cycle with board terms switching from an April – March billing period to July – June.

August 15, 2012

The Club discontinued the regular, monthly service event St. Martin's in the Pines and instead plans to have an annual service event there.

August 18, 2012

The Rotaract School Supplies Giveaway is held at three local libraries and supplies are given to any member of the community in need. More than 600 full backpacks are given to students each year.

September 1, 2012

Leadership Development Now was launched, the Club's first formal leadership development program.

September 26, 2012

The Club held a joint social with Birmingham Urban League Young Professional Board at UAB's Alys Stephens Center.

October 11, 2012

The Club adopted membership guidelines for Rotary & Rotaract Exchange Students

November 15, 2012

The Club took part in the world's largest commercial by submitting this photo to Rotary International. The commercial raised funds and awareness for the END POLIO NOW campaign.

November 27, 2012

The Club held their first ever official Polio Fundraiser at Slice Pizza Company and Innisfree Pub in the Lakeview District.

January 30 – February 3, 2013

Over thirty Rotaractors and guests travel to Vail, CO for the third annual ski trip.

February 6, 2013

Rotaract participated in the Rotary Club of Birmingham's 100th Anniversary Celebration at the Alys Stephens Center with special guest RI President Sakuji Tanaka and the dine around that followed at top local restaurants.

April 2, 2013

A new membership recruitment initiative – Coffee and Chat with Rotaract – was started to provide an alternative social event for targeted recruits.

April 25, 2013

The club supported and the Foundation sponsored "Lessons of the Birmingham Movement: A Symposium on Youth, Activism and the Struggle for Human Rights" as part of the 50th Anniversary of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement.

June 1, 2013

The Club slated the largest membership class to date with 32 new members being approved for membership.

June 10, 2013

The Club Board approved a new five-year strategic plan for 2013-2017.

June 30, 2013

The Club recorded over 1,200 service hours from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 marking the largest service commitment to date.

July 1, 2013

New board term begins. Board tasks member Justin Mayfield with forming a committee to explore and recommend ideas for the Club's proposed second Signature Service Project.

July 11, 2013

The Club kicked off the first of its "themed" luncheons series, The History of Alabama, with a talk by Sid McAnnally.

July 20, 2013

The Club celebrated the Birmingham Barons' return to downtown Birmingham at new Regions Field, which would also be the site of The Decennial, with a social at the new ballpark.

August 10, 2013

The Club donated over $3,500 of school supplies to Birmingham City Schools children and parents in its annual School Supply Giveaway at area libraries.

August 17, 2013

Club members participated in "Boilin' ‘n Braggin'," an area-wide fundraiser put on by the Rotary and Rotaract Clubs of District 6860 to support the air ambulance function of Children's Hospital of Alabama.

August 24, 2013

Club members and guests alike enjoyed a round of golf at Highlands Golf Course for the annual Hack-It Classic, followed by a "19th Hole Party" at the golf course.

September 19, 2013

The Club holds a joint social with the Birmingham Sunrise Rotary Club.

October 3, 2013

The Club holds a joint social at the Birmingham Museum of Art with the Birmingham Urban League.

November 6, 2013

The Club holds a joint luncheon with the Rotary Club of Birmingham, only the second such luncheon in our respective histories and the first in many years. President Henry gives a report on the state of the Club to the audience of over 500 attendees. Rumored Presidential candidate Neel Kashkari of California speaks.

November 21, 2013

The Club kicks of its "Stories in Leadership" series of luncheons with Dr. Craig Witherspoon, Superintendent of the Birmingham City Schools.

November 26, 2013

The Club holds its annual fundraiser for Rotary International's "End Polio Now" at Rojo in Southside, entitled "End Polio at Rojo."

January 9, 2014

The Club holds its first-ever moderated panel luncheon of speakers, comprised of a panel of investment professionals including C.T. Fitzpatrick (Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Vulcan Value Partners), Carl Thigpen (Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer of Protective Life Corporation), Will Brooke (Executive Vice President at Harbert Management Corporation), moderated by Charlie Perry (Founding Partner and President of Highland Associates, LLC).

February 6, 2014

Highlighting the explosive growth of the Alabama craft beer brewing industry, the Club heard from Jason Wilson, founder of Gadsden-based Back Forty Beer Company.

February 25, 2014

Highlighting the Club's stated mission of leadership development, its ongoing "Professional Development Series" offered a fascinating panel of entrepreneurs at Innovation Depot during a session entitled "Leadership from the Ground Up." Speakers included Club founders John Peinhardt and Mike Mahon, Lee Conn, founder of Motus Motorcycles, and Robert Fuqua, founder of Atlas RFID.

March 15, 2014

Celebrating the 10-year anniversary of its charter, the Club invited members and guests alike to attend "The Decennial" at Regions Field. Raising funds for its service initiatives, a new record-best attendance of over 600 people were treated to an opening cocktail hour followed by a speech from Birmingham Mayor William Bell, Club President Henry Long, the announcement of the Club's second Signature Service Project, "Ready 2 Succeed"-a major milestone in the Club's new strategic plan-via video broadcast throughout the facility, and remarks from the head of R2S partner CAMP, Dr. Martin Nalls. The Parker High School Drumline then kicked off the dancing portion of the evening.

April 8, 2014

Club members socialized with a "game night" at the new Paramount bar and restaurant downtown, which included opportunities to play nostalgic arcade and coin-operated games.

April 11, 2014

Club President Henry Long, Club co-Founder Mike Mahon and President-elect John Smola gave a panel presentation to the attendees of the Rotary District 6860 annual conference; this presentation would subsequently be developed into a Rotaract "road show" presentation when speaking to other Rotary clubs.

May 12, 2014

The Club hosted its first ever "Meet the Candidates Forum" whereby the candidates for Alabama's Districts 6 and 7, the districts where our members live and work, each spoke about Birmingham's Future for Young Professionals.

June 5, 2014

In a unique twist on off-site luncheons, our Club took its luncheon on the road for the "Tour de Birmingham," a boxed-lunch bus tour of Birmingham guided by Dave Fleming, CEO of REV Birmingham.

June 11, 2014

Following up on the success of the joint luncheon with Rotary and hoping to keep momentum up, the Club and Downtown Rotary held a joint social at a Barons game at Regions Field.

June 21, 2014

At our final social of the year, Club members took a "Brews Cruise" bus tour of each of the four major local Birmingham breweries to learn about each brewer's process and to sample their wares.

July 1, 2014

Ready2Succeed was officially launched as the second signature service project of the Club.

August 7, 2014

Building Our Future grant from the Alabama Power Foundation was announced for a transformational project to be determined by Club members.

June 4, 2015

Inaugural RED Talks luncheon featured members as speakers, including Anthony Oliver, Jay Saxon and Alan Franks.

June 18, 2015

Inaugural annual meeting hosted to celebrate accomplishments, fundraising, announce club awards, and welcome the new president.

April 28 - May 1, 2016

Rotaract travels to New Orleans, Louisiana for Jazz Fest.

April 6, 2016

Building our Future Grant from Alabama Power Foundation was deployed to install two solar charging stations on the Rotary Trail at its dedication.

May 29, 2016

Ready2Succeed was awarded the Rotaract Outstanding Project Award in Seoul, South Korea at the Rotary International Convention.

November 2, 2016

Rolled out Achieve Alabama statewide alongside the Alabama Department of Education and C.A.M.P.

November 21, 2016
Established a new Board of Director position: Director of Signature Service, effective July 1, 2017.

April 1, 2017

Celebrated the ten-year anniversary of our Foundation and the milestone of over $1 million raised throughout the Foundation's history to support our signature service projects.

April 28, 2017

Held the club's first ever College Signing Day at A.H. Parker High School celebrating 60 students choosing to attend two or four-year institutions or the military after graduation.

June 1, 2017

Engaged our first part time administrator to provide bookkeeping and other administrative services as an independent contractor of the Club.

June 22, 2017

Introduced our Club's new strategic plan at the Annual Meeting which updated our Vision and Mission statement and made Servant Leadership a major focus-with a long-term objective of empowering our members to actively engage in positive change through leadership and service in our city, state and world.

July 1, 2017

Negotiated a new memorandum of understanding with Better Basics governing the Ready2Read project.

July 1, 2017

New formalized committee chair structure was announced to the Club with 42 individuals serving in non-board leadership roles.

July 13, 2017

Launched the Rotaract Club of Birmingham podcast on iTunes and other streaming services featuring recordings of future and past luncheons.

October 9, 2017

Amended the Bylaws of the Rotaract Club of Birmingham to revise officer titles and to shift from a President / Chair model to a President-Elect / President model to align with Rotary.

October 2017

Sent member Uma Srivastava on an international polio aid relief trip with District 6860 to India.

December 1, 2017

Jingle Book Drive launched to raise funds for Ready2Read classrooms.

March 15, 2018

Live-streamed our first luncheon to broadcast RED Talks live through social media to our partners worldwide, which resulted in over 100 streaming viewers.

June 21-26, 2018

Sent our largest delegation to date to a Rotary International Convention, with 14 members headed to Toronto, Canada, including leading 3 different breakout panel sessions.

June 28, 2018

Announced the new nonprofit board rotation program created by the Leadership Development Program class of 2017-2018.