Access the latest Governor's Newsletter (click
Rotary Club of Savannah East
John and his wife Carolyn both
grew up in Atlanta, and both graduated from the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill, where they met. John then served in the US Peace Corps in
Brazil, and later attended graduate school at the University of Georgia. John
and Carolyn then moved to Milledgeville, GA, where John worked in city and
regional planning. Carolyn became a social worker with the Dept. of Family and
In 1979, the Neelys moved to Savannah,
where John became Economic Development Director with the City of Savannah,
working on downtown revitalization and historic preservation. For the past
30+ years, John has worked as a broker in commercial real estate in Savannah,
specializing in port-related, downtown and historic properties. He is
currently principal with Colliers International – Savannah, a diversified
commercial/industrial real estate firm.
John’s civic activities have included
leadership roles with: Leadership Savannah, the Georgia Downtown Development
Association, the Savannah Development and Renewal Authority, the Historic
District Board of Architectural Review, the Savannah Council on World Affairs,
and Step-Up Savannah, a unique poverty reduction organization.
John joined the Savannah East Rotary Club
in 1988, and after serving on several club committees, became President in
1998. At the Rotary District 6920 level, John has served in the following
Rotary Polio National Immunization Day (NID), Calcutta, India –
District Grants Subcommittee Chair, 2011-2013 (DG Gordon
Matthews and DG Bob Griggers)
As DGSC, did 14 international humanitarian matching grants –
Bolivia(2), India(4), Haiti(2), Malawi, Sri Lanka(2), Brazil (2), St. Lucia;
leveraged $300,000 in DDF into $1.3 million in project funding
Led two Group Study Exchange (GSE) teams to Brazil-2002 and 2009
Host family for numerous Rotary exchange groups, including
India, Chile, France, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Brazil, Turkey, India
GRSP student host family-Tamara Tavares of Brazil, 2001-2
Rotary Zone 34 Foundation Seminars, Evanston, Boca Raton and
Attended June, 2015 Rotarian International Convention in Sao
Long time active supporters of The Rotary
Foundation, John and Carolyn are multiple Paul Harris Fellows, Benefactors,
Major Donors, and members of The Rotary Foundation Bequest Society and the
Paul Harris Society.
The Neelys have two children, son Thomas,
who is an oil company geologist currently stationed in Alaska, and daughter
Jordan, who works in organizational development with a hospital in Savannah.
Jordan served as the first full year President of the Metropolitan Savannah
Rotary Club, and has three children.
John and Carolyn live in an 1853 historic
house in downtown Savannah. Carolyn enjoys painting and playing the piano, and
John enjoys boating, tennis and Tybee Island.