General Information about Ruritans
Ruritan - serving America's communities since 1928
Ruritan began in Holland, Virginia, in 1928. Tom Downing of Suffolk, VA and Jack Gwaltney of Holland, VA are known as the co-founders of Ruritan. Downing and Gwaltney recognized the need for an organization where community leaders could meet and discuss ways to make their communities better places in which to live. The name "Ruritan" (RUS is Latin for Open Country - Ruri, URBE is Latin for Small Town - tan) was suggested by Dasiy Nurney, a reporter for the Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Norfolk. The new organization unanimously adopted "Ruritan" for its name.
Since then, the Ruritan tradition of local community service has expanded to include more than 34,000 Ruritan volunteers. This continued tradition has earned Ruritan the reputation of "America's Leading Community Service Organization" in more than 1,200 communities across the nation.
Ruritan is dedicated to improving communities and building a better American through Fellowship, Goodwill, and Community Service. Club membership represents a cross section of the community the club serves and is available to all persons interested in their community. Unlike most service organizationsa, Ruritan has no national project or program; instead each club surveys the needs of its own community and then works to meet those needs.
The "Objects of Ruritan" as set forth in the local club constitution are as follows:
1. To promote fellowship and goodwill among its members and the citizens in the community, and to inspire each other to higher efforts by:
a. Getting together at monthly meetings
b. Working together on committees and various activities
c. Striving to create harmony in the community.
2. To unify the efforts of individuals, organizations, and institutions in the community toward making it an ideal place in which to live by:
a. Recognizing the importance of other worthwhile organizations in the community, and encouraging them by:
1) learning more about their objectives and accomplishments
2) helping them to reach their objectives when possible
3) encouraging members of Ruritan to take an active part in other organizations serving the community
b. Encouraging the forming of special purpose organizations such as PTA, Volunteer Fire Department, and Boy Scouts
c. Taking the lead in helping all community organizations work together effectively, and contributing to community development
3. To work with those agencies that serve the community and contribute directly to its purpose by:
a. Studying the role of the different agencies that serve the community (County Extension Service, VoAg Department, Social Services Board, etc.)
b. Asking agency representatives to assist in establishing short and long-range community goals
c. Encouraging the community service committee chairs to invite agency representatives to meet with them to help set up yearly objectives
d. Determining from each agency representative how the Ruritan CLub can best cooperate to be the most effective
4. To encourage and foster the ideal of service as the basis of all worthy enterprise by:
a. Helping all members of the Club and other persons in the community to understand that genuine happiness comes from doing things for others
b. Providing opportunities for club members and others to serve their neighbors
c. Helping individuals understand that, in following their chosen occupations, they are making a contribution to others
5. To create greater understanding between rural and urban people about the problems of each, as well as about their mutual problems by striving, where possible, to maintain both rural and urban representation in the club membership
To contact Ruritan National:
5451 Lyons Road, Dublin, VA 24084
PO Box 487, Dublin, VA 24084
Toll Free 877.787.8727
Ruritan Foundation: 540.674.9441