Who We Are

 

Click the links to learn more about the family of Rotary, who we are, and what we do:

Rotary International is made up of 1.4 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.

Some of the ways Rotary brings people together worldwide:

Rotary Clubs

Rotary clubs bring together people across generations who share the ideals of service, leadership, diversity, friendship, and integrity and wish to create lasting change in the world, in their communities, and in themselves.

Rotaract Clubs

Rotaract clubs bring together young people ages 18 and older in communities worldwide to organize service activities, develop leadership skills, and socialize.

Interact Clubs

Through Interact clubs, people ages 12-18 connect with others in their community or school and learn about the world through service projects and activities.

Rotary Action Groups

Connect with Rotary members and friends of Rotary who are experts in a particular field by joining a Rotary Action Group. Group members share their expertise by collaborating with clubs and districts on service projects.

Rotary Fellowships

Interested in scuba diving or marathon running? Want to use your skills as a doctor or environmentalist to make a difference? Share your hobby or vocation with other club members, their partners, and friends of Rotary.

Local Rotary Club Committees

Typical Local Rotary Club Committees which form the structure upon which Rotary was founded. Each local Rotary club member is encouraged to become an active member of at least one of the club committees

Community Service Committee

The Community Service Committee plans and organizes community public service projects

Interact Committee

The Interact Committee works with and mentors High School aged students in the Rotary traditions and culture

Fund Raising Committee

The Fund Raising Committee plans and organizes fund raising projects and events to acquire club funds that are used for community service projects and local, regional, and internations projects and donations

International Committee

The International Committee is responsible for the planning, organizing, and making recommendations for club international projects

Membership Committee

The Membership Committee is responsible for attracting new club members and retaining the current membership

Fellowship Committee

The Fellowship Committee plans and organizes local club fellowship activities and events

Meetings & Public Relations Committee

The Meetings and Public Relations Committee schedules weekly meeting speakers and is responsible for providing public information and publicity about Rotary activities, events, and services

 

 

Rotary History

Brief Rotary History: The Early Years

The world's first service club, the Rotary Club of Chicago, Illinois, USA, was formed on 23 February 1905 by Paul P. Harris, an attorney who wished to recapture in a professional club the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of his youth. The name "Rotary" derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among members' offices.

Rotary's popularity spread throughout the United States in the decade that followed; clubs were chartered from San Francisco to New York. By 1921, Rotary clubs had been formed on six continents, and the organization adopted the name Rotary International a year later.

As Rotary grew, its mission expanded beyond serving the professional and social interests of club members. Rotarians began pooling their resources and contributing their talents to help serve communities in need. The organization's dedication to this ideal is best expressed in its principal motto: Service Above Self. Rotary also later embraced a code of ethics, called The 4-Way Test, that has been translated into hundreds of languages. During and after World War II, Rotarians became increasingly involved in promoting international understanding. In 1945, 49 Rotary members served in 29 delegations to the United Nations Charter Conference. Rotary still actively participates in UN conferences by sending observers to major meetings and promoting the United Nations in Rotary publications. Rotary International's relationship with the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) dates back to a 1943 London Rotary conference that promoted international cultural and educational exchanges. Attended by ministers of education and observers from around the world, and chaired by a past president of RI, the conference was an impetus to the establishment of UNESCO in 1946.

An endowment fund, set up by Rotarians in 1917 "for doing good in the world," became a not-for-profit corporation known as The Rotary Foundation in 1928. Upon the death of Paul Harris in 1947, an outpouring of Rotarian donations made in his honor, totaling US$2 million, launched the Foundation's first program — graduate fellowships, now called Ambassadorial Scholarships. Today, contributions to The Rotary Foundation total more than US$80 million annually and support a wide range of humanitarian grants and educational programs that enable Rotarians to bring hope and promote international understanding throughout the world.

In 1985, Rotary made a historic commitment to immunize all of the world's children against polio. Working in partnership with nongovernmental organizations and national governments thorough its PolioPlus program, Rotary is the largest private-sector contributor to the global polio eradication campaign. Rotarians have mobilized hundreds of thousands of PolioPlus volunteers and have immunized more than one billion children worldwide. By the 2005 target date for certification of a polio-free world, Rotary will have contributed half a billion dollars to the cause.

As it approached the dawn of the 21st century, Rotary worked to meet the changing needs of society, expanding its service effort to address such pressing issues as environmental degradation, illiteracy, world hunger, and children at risk. The organization admitted women for the first time (worldwide) in 1989 and claims more than 145,000 women in its ranks today. Following the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Rotary clubs were formed or re-established throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Today, 1.2 million Rotarians belong to some 31,000 Rotary clubs in 166 countries.

The 4 Avenues of Service

Club Service

Involves all of the activities necessary for Rotarians to perform to make their club function successfully.

Vocational Service

Vocational service is a description of the opportunity each Rotarian has to represent the dignity and utility of one's vocation to the other members of the club.

Community Service

Community service pertains to those activities which Rotarians undertake to improve the quality of life in their community. It frequently involves assistance to youth, the aged, handicapped and others who look to Rotary as a source of hope for a better life.

International Service

International service describes the many programs and activities which Rotarians undertake to advance international understanding, goodwill and peace. International Service projects are designed to meet humanitarian needs of people in many lands.

When a Rotarian understands and travels down the "Four Avenues of Service," the Object of Rotary takes on even greater meaning.

 

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