The Central Virginia Rotary Club is devoted to providing a range of services and programs to its members and the local community. For seniors in the Central Virginia area, the club offers a variety of special initiatives and programs. The Rotary Club provides scholarships for secondary, undergraduate, and graduate studies. These scholarships are funded by local funds or district or global grants from The Rotary Foundation.
The district assembly provides motivation, inspiration, and information about Rotary, as well as new ideas for the leaders, directors, and chairs of key committees in each club. Additionally, every Interact club must be sponsored and supervised by a Rotary club and must plan annual projects to serve its school, the community, and the world. The Rotary Friendship Exchange is similar to The Rotary Foundation's group study exchange program. However, it involves Rotary couples who pay for all expenses related to their international experience. The team from Virginia also collaborates with local Rotary clubs and UVA Engineering to participate in drinking water and sanitation projects in Africa led by Rotarians and representatives of the University of Virginia.
Approximately 36 percent of Rotary Youth Exchange students are hosted or sent by clubs in the United States and Canada. District governors have received extensive training at the World International Assembly and are responsible for the quality control of the 27,000 Rotary clubs around the world. Ben Collins, president of the Rotary Club of Minneapolis (Minnesota), commented that the right way to organize a Rotary club was to follow the principle that his club had adopted: To serve, not to himself. Every Rotary club and every Rotarian take responsibility to find ways to improve the quality of life of the members of their communities and to serve the public interest. The 3-H Program is designed to carry out large scale service projects that exceed the capacity of individual Rotary clubs or groups of clubs. The essence of the Rotary Peace Program is to use Rotary's non-governmental but global resources to develop educational programs on issues that cause conflict between nations of the world, as well as on influences and activities that promote peace, development, and good will.
After a successful pilot experiment, the Rotary Friendship Exchange has become a permanent program. Ernie is a member of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association; of the Virginia State Bar Association, where he served on the Board of Governors of the Military Law Section; of Veterans of Foreign Wars, where he served as an officer in Post 1827; of the Virginia Gators swimming club, of which he was president for six years; and ParaDerest, a veterans services organization of which he is currently president of the board of directors. The Supreme Court of the United States confirmed that Rotary clubs have a business purpose and are public organizations.