The work of Berkeley Rotary is the result of a successful formula: volunteerism, philanthropy, partnerships, and networks. Each Leverages the others. 

We have almost no overhead expenses.  We have no paid staff.  Many of our members are active or retired professionals who bring their management and other skills to our activities. To streamline our operations, Berkeley Rotary moved out of our office on University Avenue in 2002, planning our activities in members’ homes or offices, by phone or email; as always, we meet as a Club every Wednesday.  

For hands-on projects involving building or construction, we have two practicing architects, three licensed contractors, a plumber, electrician, and carpenters.  We also hire licensed professionals as needed.  Rotarians, spouses and friends, community members, and college-age  Rotaractors provide many hours of cheerful unskilled labor, supervised by knowledgeable club members.

In fiscal year 2016, our charitable arm, the Berkeley Rotary Endowment, will use money provided from a small permanent corpus and annual contributions from Club members to provide $120,000 in funding for our current projects and continuing programs:
- $66,000 for college scholarships for Berkeley High School students who are the first in their families to go to college
- $30,000 for our local projects in health, literacy, the Berkeley Rotary Peace Grove and holiday baskets for the needy
- $18,000 for our youth projects and to provide free dictionaries for all 3rd graders in Berkeley public schools
- $6,000 for our international projects in Guatemala, Mexico and Peru.

In each of these projects, there is a hands-on element: we mentor scholarship recipients, serve in the health clinics we support, teach students how to use and enjoy dictionaries, and build community facilities in Mexico.

Partnerships and Networks
Because our members tend to be leaders in business, academics and the larger community, we marshal both monetary and in-kind contributions in goods and services from our friends and acquaintances to accomplish our community goals.  Our personal relationships, and the reputation of Rotary, makes things possible beyond an assignable dollar value.

Case Study: Shorebird Park, Berkeley Marina
To celebrate the Centennial of Rotary International, 1905-2005, our club started in 2003 to work with community leaders from the City of Berkeley, the public schools and the Chamber of Commerce to identify a suitable project. We found that the City’s Shorebird Park at the Berkeley Marina was used by tens of thousands of people a year, but due to budget cuts, the picnic areas had deteriorated, and tables, grills, and trash cans were broken beyond repair.  The City put the price tag to fix it at $250,000.  We decided to make it our project.

Berkeley Rotarians donated $40,000 and we raised $30,000 from local businesses.  Through our networks, landscape architects donated their services, and new concrete pads for the picnic tables and grills were poured, below cost.  We bought 20 heavy-duty tables, trash cans and grills and assembled them onsite, with the work of Rotarians, friends and families and Cal Rotaractors. We put in over 600 hours of volunteer labor.  

Berkeley’s “Newest Park” was ready for public use on the date of the Rotary International Centennial, February 23, 2005.