The Rotary Club of Stratford was chartered May 30, 1922 with twenty-two members. Stratford was club number 1197 in the 17-year old Rotary International organization. The first president was D.M. Wright (1922-1924), followed by Dr. David Smith (1924-25).  The Club’s first project was to purchase memberships in the Young Men’s Christian Association for a pair of young, needy brothers. The second was to establish a fund for assisting the poor. They decided also to help the YMCA by purchasing a movie projector for use by the program staff. 
By its 25th anniversary in 1947, the Club had grown to 88 members.  At its golden anniversary in 1972, the district governor in attendance was our own Oliver Gaffney. The last surviving charter member, Morgan Riddell, was also present.
Over the years, membership has grown to as many as 140 members and the variety of projects supported has shifted from the original focus on crippled children and boys’ work to constructing local recreational and healthcare facilities and supporting international community development and clean water projects. The Club met for many years at the YMCA before moving to the Kiwanis Centre in 1982, and then to its current location, the ANAF building, in 2018.  Women began joining the Club in 1996.
The Rotary Club of Stratford sponsored the creation of the Mitchell, Woodstock, Tavistock, Goderich, and Festival City clubs as well as the Stratford Interact Club, founded at Stratford Central Secondary School in 1997, and the Stratford Rotaract club, founded in 2012.  Youth remains an important focus – the Club currently sponsors Junior Achievement, the Ottawa Adventures in Citizenship program, youth exchanges, Minor Hockey, Next Generation exchanges, the Rotary Youth Leadership in Action program, and high school graduation scholarship and for many years, owned and operated Camp Kitchigami on the shores of Lake Huron.
The Rotary Club of Stratford Charitable Foundation was established in 1955, enabling the Club to recognize donations through the issue of receipts for tax purposes.
The Rotary Club of Stratford raises funds through a variety of events, including the Christmas Arts and Crafts Festival, Rural Urban Night (since 1932), the Stratford Home & Leisure Show, an Annual Golf Tournament, the Dave Blackburn Memorial Car Rally, Scotch Mist, and the Dragon Boat Festival. Since its inception in 1996, the Stratford Rotary Dragon Boat Festival has played host to over 700 teams, 18,000 paddlers, and generated nearly $1 million in support of projects such as Respite House, Rotary Hospice Stratford Perth, Aquabox, and the Stratford Rotary Complex.  Sixteen other Rotary clubs have developed their own Dragon Boat Festivals, based on the Stratford model.
The Club ceased involvement with international student exchanges in 2011, shifting its support to the New Generations Vocational program which involves hosting young adults for up to three months so they can experience their particular vocation as it is practised in Canada.  In 2016, we also launched the Northern Student program to help Northern youth with secondary and post-secondary education.  
The Rotary Club of Stratford will celebrate its 100th Anniversary in 2022.