What is Rotary?

ROTARY is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 31,000 Rotary clubs in 167 countries. 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.

The world's first service club

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


Eradicating Polio

In 1965, Rotary made an historic commitment to immunize all the world's children against polio. Working in partnership with nongovernmental organizations and national governments through 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.

The Object of Rotary

The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular to encourage and foster:

FIRST: The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service.

SECOND: High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying by each Rotarian's occupation as an opportunity to serve society.

THIRD: The application of the ideal of service by every Rotarian to his personal, business and community life.

FOURTH: The advancement of international understanding, good will, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professionals united in the ideal of service.