The present boundaries of District 5960 were established by Rotary International in 1982-83, with a minor adjustment in 1993-94, and stretches from northwestern Wisconsin, along the western edge of Wisconsin and encompassing most of southeastern Minnesota. Prior to this, the District was part of 5950, which covered all of southern Minnesota. Now District 5960 is comprised of 64 clubs, and growing! Our District's 64 clubs have approximately 3,300 members. Among the clubs is the Rotary Club of St. Paul, club #10 in the Rotary world. St. Paul is the capitol of Minnesota.|
St. Paul and Minneapolis, the largest cities in Minnesota, are located side by side and sometimes are referred to as the Twin Cities. In this metropolitan area, most of the clubs are on the north and east of the Mississippi River, which runs through the Twin Cities. The balance of the clubs are in rural Minnesota, north and south of the Twin Cities, and into the western part of the neighboring state of Wisconsin. In addition to the Mississippi River, the district also has two other major river routes, which were important in the settlement of this part of the United States. These are the St. Croix River, on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border, and the Minnesota River, which becomes the boundary of the district on the west.
The area within the district includes some of the richest farmland in Minnesota and Wisconsin, truly a part of the Upper Midwest breadbasket. In addition, with the rivers noted and many tributaries, it is bisected with scenery unparalleled in the United States, and populated with an abundance of fish and wildlife. These rivers come together near the Twin Cities and from here flows the mighty Mississippi River, which runs through the center of the United States south to New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, northwestern Wisconsin and portions of the district on its north and western boundaries in Minnesota include many beautiful lakes, which provide outstanding recreational experiences for residents and tourists.
The Twin Cities are the center of economic activity for Minnesota and are home to some of the largest food processing companies, banking institutions, bio-medical manufacturing companies, and health care institutions. In the city of Rochester, south of St. Paul, you will find the home of the world famous Mayo Clinic. We have strong cultural institutions - art museums, theatres, and orchestras, as well as professional athletic teams in football, basketball, baseball and hockey. There is also a strong community of higher education institutions, including the world-renowned University of Minnesota and several state and private colleges and universities. The population of the Twin Cities metropolitan area is approximately three million.
District 5950, from which our district was split, includes clubs in Minneapolis and its western suburbs and into southwestern Minnesota. These two districts work closely together and jointly conduct a very successful youth exchange program annually, hosting about 60 inbound students and sending about 40 students outbound.
The citizens of the portions of the two states in District 5960 reflect a strong influence of western Europe, with the largest populations being of Scandinavian, German, and Italian ancestry. Recently, the St. Paul area, especially, has seen large numbers of southeast Asian immigrants. Education, from pre-school through post-secondary, is well supported by both of the states in the district.
District 5960 has a very well balanced program as its clubs reflect the Service Above Self mission of Rotary. It has been a strong supporter of The Rotary Foundation, and active in many of the programs supported by the Foundation. It has been among the districts in Rotary International that has been most active in the Matching Grants program, and for the past several years, has supported two Group Study Exchange programs annually. The Rotary Club of White Bear Lake proudly notes that it originated STRIVE, which promotes individual pride and confidence among students in the lower third of their secondary classes, and provides scholarships to those who make the most progress. This is a program that is growing in interest throughout the United States.