Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who come together to make positive, lasting change in communities at home and abroad.
Solving real problems takes real commitment and vision. For more than 110 years, Rotary members have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to take action on sustainable projects. From literacy and peace to water and health, we are always working to better our world,
and we stay committed to the end.
Our motto: Service Above Self
For more than 110 years, our guiding principles have been the foundation of our values: service, fellowship, diversity,
integrity, and leadership.
What we do
Rotary members believe that we have a shared responsibility to take action on our world’s most persistent issues. Our 35,000+ clubs work together to: Promote peace, Fight disease, Provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene, Save mothers and children
Support education, Grow local economies
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 of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
THIRD: The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life;
FOURTH: The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.
The Four-Way Test
The Four-Way Test is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships. The test has been translated into more than 100 languages, and Rotarians recite it at club meetings:
Of the things we think, say or do
Is it the TRUTH?
Is it FAIR to all concerned?
Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?
Avenues of Service
We channel our commitment to service at home and abroad through five Avenues of Service, which are the foundation of club activity.
Club Service focuses on making clubs strong. A thriving club is anchored by strong relationships and an active membership development plan.
Vocational Service calls on every Rotarian to work with integrity and contribute their expertise to the problems and needs of society. Learn more in An Introduction to Vocational Service and the Code of Conduct.
Community Service encourages every Rotarian to find ways to improve the quality of life for people in their communities and to serve the public interest. Learn more in Communities in Action: A Guide to Effective Projects.
International Service exemplifies our global reach in promoting peace and understanding. We support this service avenue by sponsoring or volunteering on international projects, seeking partners abroad, and more.
Youth Service recognizes the importance of empowering youth and young professionals through leadership development programs such as Rotaract, Interact, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, and Rotary Youth Exchange.
History of Rotary
For more than 110 years, Rotary members have been addressing challenges around the world.
Grassroots at the core, Rotary links 1.2 million members to form an organization of international scope. It started with the vision of one man — Paul Harris. The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on 23 February 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas, form meaningful, lifelong friendships, and give back to their communities.
Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of its members.
Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves.
Our ongoing commitment
Rotary members have not only been present for major events in history — we’ve also been a part of them.
Three key traits have remained strong throughout our history:
We’re truly international. Only 16 years after being founded, Rotary had clubs on six continents.
Today, members in nearly every country work to solve some of our world’s most challenging problems.
We persevere in tough times. During World War II, Rotary clubs in Austria, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Spain were forced to disband. Despite the risks, many continued to meet informally, and after the war, Rotary members came together to rebuild their clubs and their countries.
We’re committed to service, and we’re not afraid to dream big and set bold goals. We began our fight against polio in 1979 with a project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines. Today, polio remains endemic in only three countries — down from 125 in 1988.
20 Reasons to Join Rotary
Friendship: In an increasingly complex world, Rotary provides one of the most basic human needs: the need for friendship and fellowship. It is one of two reasons why Rotary began in 1905.Business Development: The second original reason for Rotary's beginning is business development. Everyone needs to network. Rotary consists of a cross section of every business community. Its members come from all walks of life. Rotarians help each other and collectively help others.Personal Growth and Development: Membership in Rotary continues one's growth and education in human relations and personal development.Leadership Development: Rotary is an organization of leaders and successful people. Serving in Rotary positions is like a college education. Leadership: - learning how to motivate, influence and lead leaders.Citizenship in the Community: Membership in a Rotary club makes one a better community citizen. The average Rotary club consists of the most active citizens of any community.Continuing Education: Each week at Rotary there is a program designed to keep one informed about what is going on in the community, nation, and world. Each meeting provides an opportunity to listen to different speakers and a variety of timely topics.Fun: Rotary is fun, a lot of fun. Each meeting is fun. The club projects are fun. Social activities are fun. Serving others is fun.Public Speaking Skills: Many individuals who joined Rotary were afraid to speak in public. Rotary develops confidence and skill in public communication and the opportunity to practice and perfect these skills.Citizenship in the World: Every Rotarian wears a pin that says "Rotary International." There are few places on the globe that do not have a Rotary club. Every Rotarian is welcome - even encouraged - to attend any of the 33,000 clubs in over 200 nations and geographical regions. This means instant friends in both one's own community and in the world community.Assistance when Traveling: Because there are Rotary clubs everywhere, many a Rotarian in need of a doctor, lawyer, hotel, dentist, advice, etc., while traveling has found assistance through Rotary.Entertainment: Every Rotary club and district has parties and activities that provide diversion in one's business life. Rotary holds conferences, conventions, assemblies, and institutes that provide entertainment in addition to Rotary information, education, and service.The Development of Social Skills: Every week and at various events and functions, Rotary develops one's personality, social skills and people skills. Rotary is for people who like people.Family Programs: Rotary provides one of the world's largest youth exchange programs; high school and college clubs for future Rotarians; opportunities for spouse involvement; and a host of activities designed to help family members in growth and the development of family values.Vocational Skills: Every Rotarian is expected to take part in the growth and development of his or her own profession or vocation; to serve on committees and to teach youth about one's job or vocation. Rotary helps to make one a better doctor, lawyer, teacher, etc.The Development of Ethics: Rotarians practice the 4-Way Test that governs one's ethical standards. Rotarians are expected to be ethical in business and person relationships.Cultural Awareness: Around the world, practically every religion, country, culture, race, creed, political persuasion, language, color, and ethnic identity is found in Rotary. It is a cross section of the world's most prominent citizens from every background. Rotarians become aware of their cultures and learn to love and work with people everywhere. They become better citizens of their countries in the process.Prestige: Rotary members are prominent people: leaders of business, the professions, art, government, sports, military, religion, and all disciplines. Rotary is the oldest and most prestigious service club in the world. Its ranks include executives, managers, professionals - people who make decisions and influence policy.Nice People: Rotarians above all are nice people - the nicest people on the face of the earth. They are important people who follow the policy of "it is nice to be important but it is more important to be nice."The Absence of an” Official Creed": Rotary has no secret handshake, no secret policy, no official creed, no secret meetings or rituals. It is an open society of men and women who simply believe in helping others.The Opportunity to Serve: Rotary is a service club. Its product is serving. Rotarians provide community service to both local and international communities. This is perhaps the best reason for becoming a Rotarian: the chance to do something for somebody else and to sense the self-fulfillment that comes in the process and return of that satisfaction to one's own life. It is richly rewarding.