Rotary clubs bring together dedicated individuals to exchange ideas, build relationships, and take action. Rotary International is made up of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world. Different occupations, cultures, and countries give Rotary a unique perspective. The shared passion for service helps Rotary accomplish the remarkable.

Rotary International, the world’s first service organization, is made up of over 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Its members form a global network of business, professional and community leaders who volunteer their time and talents to serve their communities and the world.

Rotary’s motto, Service Above Self, exemplifies the humanitarian spirit of the organization’s more than 1.2 million members. Strong fellowship among Rotarians and meaningful community and international service projects characterize Rotary worldwide.

Rotary enjoys a rich and sometimes complex tradition and organizational structure, with many programs that can be confusing to new and even not-so-new members. This website offers a basic Rotary education — the fundamental knowledge that will make every member better informed about Rotary and proud to be a Rotarian.


On February 23, 1905, Chicago lawyer, Paul Harris called three friends to a meeting what he had in mind was a club that would kindle fellowship among members of the business community. It was an idea that grew from his desire to fi nd within the large city the kind of friendly spirit that he knew in the villages where he had grown up.

Room 711 of the unity building at 127 North Dearborn street in downtown Chicago, Illinois was the site of rotary’s first meeting  on February 23 1905. At that ti me, it was the office of Gustavus Loehr, a mining engineer and one of the founding members of the organization.

The four businessmen didn’t decide then and there to call themselves a Rotary club, but their get-together was, in fact the first meeting of the World’s fi rst Rotary club. As they continued to meet, adding others to the group they rotated their meetings among the member’s places of business, hence the name.

Since  1905, the ideals of Paul Harris and  his friends have been accepted by people of practically all nationalities and many political and religious beliefs. Today Rotary clubs are found all over the world. There are approximately 1.2 million Rotarians in more than 32,000 clubs found in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.


“Rotary is an organization of business and professional persons united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocati ons and help foster goodwill and peace in the world.”


THROUGHOUT ROTARY’S HISTORY, several basic principles have been developed to guide Rotarians in achieving the ideal of service and high ethical standards.

THE OBJECT OF ROTARY was first formulated in 1910 and adapted throughout the years as Rotary’s mission expanded, the object of Rotary provides a succinct definiti on of the organization’s purpose as well as the individual club member’s responsibilities. The object of Rotary is 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.


FOLLOWED BY ROTARIANS worldwide in their business and professional lives, The Four-Way Test was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932. It has since been translated into more than 100 languages.

Of the things we think, say or do;

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Avenues of Service

BASED ON THE OBJECT of Rotary, the Avenues of Service are Rotary’s philosophical cornerstone and the foundation on which club activity is based:

  • Club Service –  focuses on strengthening fellowship and ensuring the   effective functioning of the club.
  • Vocation Service –  encourages Rotarians to serve others through their vocations   and to practice high ethical standards.
  • Community Service –  covers the project and activities the club undertakes to improve life in its community.
  • International Service – encompasses actions taken to expand Rotary’s humanitarian reach around the globe and to promote world understanding and peace.
  • 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.