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. Rotary men and women belong to more than 32,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas.
Rotary club members represent a diverse cross-section of the community's business and professional leaders. The world's Rotary clubs meet weekly and are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds. Rotary is the largest independent giving organization in the world.
SERVICE ABOVE SELF
The main objective of Rotary is service — in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians develop community service projects that address many of today's most critical issues, such as children at risk, poverty and hunger, the environment, illiteracy, and violence. Rotarians also support numerous leadership and personal development programs for youth, educational opportunities and international exchanges for students, teachers, and other professionals, and vocational and career development. The Rotary motto is Service Above Self.
Rotary's 1.2 million member organization started with the vision of one man - Paul P. Harris, a Chicago attorney. He 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.
In the years that followed, Rotary's popularity grew. By 1921, the organization had spread to six continents, and one year later adopted the name Rotary International.