“Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves.” — Paul P. Harris
Our 1.2 million-member organization started with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.
Our ongoing commitment :
Rotarians have not only been present for major events in history—we’ve been a part of them. From the beginning, three key traits have remained strong throughout Rotary:
We’re truly international. Only 16 years after being founded, Rotary had clubs on six continents. Today we’re working together from around the globe both digitally and in-person to solve some of our world’s most challenging problems.
We persevere in tough times. During WWII, Rotary clubs in Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Japan were forced to disband. Despite the risks, many continued to meet informally and following the war’s end, Rotary members joined together to rebuild their clubs and their countries.
Our commitment to service is ongoing. We began our fight against polio in 1979 with a project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines. By 2012, only three countries remain polio-endemic—down from 125 in 1988.
Our Structure :
Rotary is made up of three parts: at the heart of Rotary are our clubs, that are supported by Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.
Rotary clubs bring together dedicated individuals to exchange ideas, build relationships, and take action.
Rotary International supports Rotary clubs worldwide by coordinating global programs, campaigns, and initiatives.
The Rotary Foundation uses generous donations to fund projects by Rotarians and our partners in communities around the world. As a nonprofit, all of the Foundation’s funding comes from voluntary contributions made by Rotarians and friends who share our vision of a better world.
Together, Rotary clubs, Rotary International, and The Rotary Foundation work to make lasting improvements in our communities and around the world.
Our partners :
When Rotary partners with other organizations, we multiply the impact made by either group on their own. We call this “the Rotary effect.” From local food banks to global humanitarian organizations, we work with a wide variety of partners, including:
•Aga Khan University
•Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
•Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
•Global FoodBanking Network
•World Health Organization
Looking to partner with a local club, or even the global organization?
Visit My Rotary to learn more about becoming a Rotary partner
Our leadership :
What does it take to be a leader with Rotary? Integrity, expertise, and a commitment to service—all the qualities that make Rotary members extraordinary. We look for these qualities in all our leadership positions, including our elected President and Board of Directors, who lead Rotary International, our appointed Trustee Chair and Board of Trustees, who run The Rotary Foundation, and our General Secretary and executive staff, who provide long-term oversight of the organization. Members of each Rotary club elect their own leadership.