Rotary is an international humanitarian service organization. The
men and women of Rotary are business and professional leaders who
volunteer their time and resources to help others in their local
communities and throughout the world. Rotary clubs carry out a variety
of service projects that address critical issues including poverty,
hunger, illiteracy, substance abuse, and pollution.
Service to youth, especially children at risk, is a major emphasis.
Working with and for tomorrow’s leaders, Rotary sponsors service
clubs for youth and young adults and offers career development and
Where need exists, Rotary works to find solutions. Nonpolitical
and nongovernmental, Rotary clubs are autonomous and create innovative
solutions to meet community needs. Rotary members improve the quality
of life through routine child immunization projects, medical and
dental clinics, and the construction of safe water and sanitation
systems. Clubs also work for peaceful communities by organizing
violence-prevention projects. Rotarians attack the problem of illiteracy
through programs that strengthen primary, vocational and adult education,
and teacher training. Whether standing at the forefront of an international
health campaign or mounting a massive literacy initiative, Rotary
rallies the tools and know-how to successfully lead the way to change.
Rotary members dedicate their time, skills, expertise, and myriad
other resources toward improving the human condition. Club members
support international projects through the programs of The Rotary
Foundation. The Foundation was created in 1917 for the purpose of
doing good in the world, and is supported almost entirely by member
contributions. Organized by Rotary clubs in at least two countries,
Rotary Foundation humanitarian grants support projects that provide
health care and supplies, clean water, food, job training, and education
— particularly in the developing world.
Large-scale Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) Grants support sustainable
projects that help others help themselves. Rotary members also contribute
their technical expertise and compassion. Each year more than 200
grants fund Rotary volunteers in 50 countries.
Rotary promotes cultural understanding and brings people together,
even when they live worlds apart. Rotary’s exchange programs
foster the free flow of ideas and opportunities across national
borders. Through Rotary, youth, scholars, and professionals experience
the culture and people of another land and return home to share
their new understanding with others. Some 7,000 secondary-school
students participate annually in short- or long-term Rotary Youth
The Rotary Foundation’s Ambassadorial Scholarships program
is the world’s largest privately funded international scholarships
program. More than 30,000 students from 100 countries have studied
abroad as Rotary scholars. The Group Study Exchange program pairs
Rotary districts in different countries to send and receive non-Rotary
study groups comprised of young professionals.
Eradicating polio is a top Rotary priority which requires the immunization
of every child under 5 in the world. As a result of the efforts
of Rotary and its global partners, more than one billion children
have been immunized against polio since 1985. Rotary members will
have given approximately US$500 million to the campaign by the year
2005, the target date for certification of a polio-free world.
Through The Rotary Foundation’s PolioPlus program, more than
one million Rotary volunteers from around the globe have contributed
to the success of polio eradication efforts. Rotary is the key private
sector partner in this international health effort. Public-sector
partners include the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and
the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Serving Through Membership
Rotary is service-driven. Belonging to a Rotary club gives men and
women an organized outlet for contributing to their community. Founded
in 1905, Rotary is the world’s first service organization.
The Rotary motto is “Service Above Self”
— Rotary concerns itself with truth, fairness, improved relations
between people and world peace. The avenues of Rotary service include
community and international volunteerism through club activity and
the promotion of ethics in all vocations.
Rotary has a global network of 1.2 million members in more than
29,000 clubs in 160 countries. Rotary members meet weekly to plan
service activities. Rotary clubs are autonomous and determine their
own service projects based on local needs and the interests and
abilities of members. Rotary clubs are nonreligious, nongovernmental
and open to every race, culture and creed. Club membership represents
a crosssection of local business and professional leaders.