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There are things money can buy, and there are those that fall through the cracks. We’re not talking about health or happiness, but instead, clubs that admit members purely through invitation. Take note though, these aren’t your typical luxurious clubs that serve Melchior-sized wine bottles. Neither do they provide valet parking and chauffer services. If you’d ask us, these clubs admit its members based on their contributions to society. Fortune magazine has listed six of the most exclusive clubs, and we’ve handpicked the following five.
1. Bohemian Club
San Francisco-based Bohemian Club is one of the world’s most exclusive gentlemen’s club, and was originally intended for journalists, creative writers, musicians and artists when it was first founded in 1872. To join the club, you’d have to be invited by current members. The club’s motto, “weaving spiders come not here", is taken from Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, implying that business matters are to be left at the door. Every year, the club hosts a two-week long ‘camp’, where participants attend dramatic and comedic plays, and celebrate the work of artists. Honoury members include Richard Nixon.
2. The Belizean Grove
Think of this as the female version of the Bohemian Club. Founded in 1999 in New York, the invite-only club meets once a year to discuss issues in the business and political worlds, all whilst leaving work titles at the door. The White House Project, one of their more notable projects, aims to put a lady in the White House. The club includes executives from Xerox, P&G and Nordstrom, with each woman regarded as heavyweights in their own industry.
3. Bilderberg Group
Started in 1954, the group functions more as a work entity, designed to foster dialogue between North America and Europe. It has held annual conferences for leaders in the finance, academia and media industries. Topics during the conference include debating the feasibility of policies, all without risking off-the-cuff comments that may cause controversy in the media. Current committee members include those from Microsoft, The Goldman Sach Group, Airbus, and Deutche Bank AG.
4. The China Entrepreneur Club
Asia’s powerhouse is not to be outdone when it comes to forming clubs. Formed in 2006, this is thought to be the richest club in China. However, members aren’t admitted based on their net worth alone, but their contributions to the country. The club consists of 46 of the country’s top business, academic, and political leaders, and members are encouraged to be involved in more charitable work, through philanthropy, or providing insights to non-profits start-ups. Members include ecommerce tycoon Jack Ma, founder of Lenovo, Liu Chuanzhi, and business magnate and investor, Guo Guangchang, The club also believes in playing hard too, often travelling together as a group.
5. The Alfalfa club
This is a club that leaves you wanting, and wondering. Its sole purpose of existence? To throw a lavish banquet just once a year, and to honour the birthday of Civil war Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Made up of mostly American politicians, the member list has also included several presidents of the USA. While coming together for a yearly party sounds enticing, getting invited to join the club takes time. How much? Well, new members are only accepted when current members pass on. Some of its more sagely members include: Warren Buffet (84 years old), John McCain (78 years old) and Michael Bloomberg (72 years old).