Rotary Club of Napoli Parthenope, Naples, Italy
Plan for the future: The Rotary Club of Napoli Parthenope is attracting young professionals who are looking for ways to serve their community. In particular, it has given Rotaractors and Rotary youth program alumni a way to stay in the Rotary family. The club’s focus on young people also has led to a leading role in a scholarship program for the children of police officers killed in the line of duty.
Club innovation: The club has a flexible meeting schedule and uses social media to organize events and projects and to promote itself to the community. Its gatherings — many open to family and friends outside of Rotary — reinforce the bonds forged at regular meetings.
As he approached the 30-year age limit for Rotaract membership, Francesco Saverio Alovisi began looking into the Rotary clubs in his area, prospecting for a good fit. He wanted to join a club that was active in the community, not one centered on presentations and socializing. “Young people like me want a Rotary of action,” he says.
When Alovisi’s search for his ideal club was unsuccessful, he turned to Luciano Lucania, then governor of District 2100, and Laura Giordano, then assistant governor. When Lucania suggested creating a new club that would be attractive to young professionals — especially to graduating Rotaractors and program alumni — Giordano, a past president of the Rotary Club of Napoli Chiaja, agreed to lead the effort. She’s now a member of that new club.
The Napoli Parthenope club offers flexibility and an appreciation of the challenges young Rotarians face as they balance their home and work lives. Giordano is proud of the club’s gender balance and youthfulness (she’s the oldest member by about a decade).
The club has eased into organizing projects. “Some are bigger, others smaller. But each month everyone is asked to propose something new,” Giordano says. Members post suggestions and comments on the club’s Facebook page.
“We believe that an external-facing Rotary club Facebook page generates awareness for those audiences that are not already involved,” Alovisi says.
Ludovica Azzariti Fumaroli, a third-generation Rotarian who also made the transition from Rotaract, enjoys the club’s lack of pretension and its members’ enthusiasm for hands-on work. She’s particularly proud of a fundraiser called Caffè Sospeso for Polio. The club decided to create its own take on the pay-it-forward tradition of caffè sospeso, or “suspended coffee,” in which customers pay for a needy patron’s coffee as an act of kindness. During the joint effort with the Rotary Club of Sassari Nord, club members stationed themselves outside a popular café in the Piazza dei Martiri, Naples’ central plaza, and encouraged people to donate to End Polio Now as an act of kindness. They collected $550 for polio eradication.
“It combines the wonderful Neapolitan tradition” of helping strangers in need “with the very important work to eradicate polio from the world,” Fumaroli says.
The club is also helping to lead a program in its district that provides scholarships to the children of police officers killed in the line of duty.
“We want to be more effective without the dogma of tradition,” Giordano says. “This is really a club of service” — one that embodies liveliness and conviviality and keeps its door open to the community. An event held at a popular restaurant in late November featured live music and a bar, demonstrating to potential members “that Rotarians are people of action with their projects — but also that Rotary is fun.”
— Brad Webber