The Dr. Phillips Rotary Club received its charter on September 12, 1979. The Rotary Club of Windermere sponsored the club. Club boundaries were essentially the Butler Chain of Lakes, Conroy-Windermere Road, Kirkman Road, I-4, and Lake Buena Vista. The charter was to serve Rotary and the community within these boundaries.
Meeting places for the Rotary Club of Dr. Phillips have varied. It began in the fellowship hall of Holy Family Catholic Church. The club then moved to the now defunct British restaurant named Blushes in the Marketplace. The club then moved across I-4 to the Radisson Aquatic Center, and then to the Orange Tree Country Club. The move to the current location at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club occurred during 1991.
For most of the first ten years of the Club history, membership hovered between 25 and 35 members, only breaking into the forties in the early 1990s.
In the early days of the club, our focus was on growing the Dr. Phillips community. In those early years, sidewalks were of major concern. Club members purchased the materials and built the sidewalk from Teasel Drive to Dr. Phillips Blvd. so the children of Sand Lake Hills could walk safely to school.
Early in the club history, there were many building projects. Members constructed two exercise / fitness courses, one at West Orange Manor Senior Citizen Center, and the other in memory of charter member John Brownlee at the Dr. Phillips YMCA. Several members were also active at that time with Habitat for Humanity.
Through the years, the club has developed several fund raising activities to fund projects. The first was selling “boat tickets” in conjunction with the parent Rotary Club of Windermere. Following the move to Orange Tree Country Club, members put together a golf tournament that was both fun and profitable.
Once the Dr. Phillips High School opened, the club developed very close ties to it. Club members have long sponsored an Interact Club there. For four years, members hosted the Dr. Phillips Tournament of Champions, a Christmas time high school basketball tournament. Proceeds were dedicated to a specific project, such as Special Olympics, Give Kids the World, and scholarships.
The club sponsored art auctions. It led the Rotary district in ticket sales for the Rotary Gridiron Classic at the Citrus Bowl to raise funds to fund a cure for paralysis. It also sponsored a 4th of July Family Night at Dr. Phillips High School. Funds benefit the high school Drama Club.