WE are 1.2 million members worldwide working together to create positive change.
Rotary members are volunteers who work locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto Service Above Self. As a secular organization, Rotary is open to all people regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, or political preference. Take a moment so see what we're all about.
A BRIEF HISTORY
Rotary 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 February 23, 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.
The mission of Rotary is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders. Our motto, officially established in 1950, is "Service Above Self." It's intended to remind Rotarians of how they can help others instead of selfish thoughts.
Guiding principles have been developed over the years to provide Rotarians with a strong, common purpose and direction. They serve as a foundation for our relationships with each other and the action we take in the world. The four principles are The Objects of Rotary, the 4-Way Test and Avenues of Service.
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 4-WAY TEST
The Four-Way Test is a simple test to help ensure Rotarians are living up to the standard established by the Second Object of Rotary.
- 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 strengthening fellowship and ensuring the club’s effective functioning.
- Vocational Service encourages Rotarians to serve others through their vocations and to practice high ethical standards.
- Community Service covers the projects 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.
- New Generations. This newly added category emphasizes service to youth and young adults.