Who or What is Rotary?
- Rotary works to improve the quality of life for all people.
- Rotary is an international service organization of 1.2 million business and professional men and women who, as volunteers, address needs of their home and international communities.
- Rotary exists to do good in the world. Rotary initiates local and international service projects to promote world understanding and peace and improve the life conditions for people of all ages and cultures.
- Rotary’s strength lies in the volunteer service of its membership, an international network of business and professional leaders implementing a wide range of programs to meet human needs.
- Rotarians are men and women of integrity who represent a cross-section of business and professional backgrounds. As volunteers of all ages, they work to meet community and international concerns.
- Rotary’s strength is that it is both international and local. For example, today’s critical problems, such as health and sanitation, hunger, and environmental deterioration, must be addressed at local levels. With more than 29,000 clubs serving communities in 162 countries, Rotary is ideally suited to addressing such problems.
- Through PolioPlus, Rotary leads private sector participation in the global effort to eradicate polio. The value of the half-billion-dollar program by 2005 is multiplied by the thousands of volunteers working in more than 100 countries to support childhood immunization.
- Rotary’s volunteer and financial assistance in vaccination efforts means polio will disappear in nation after nation, and region after region. Polio eradication will not occur until the disease disappears from all nations and all regions.
- Rotary’s community-based leadership in target countries was a deciding factor in the World Health Assembly’s goal of polio eradication. Rotary International is the key private partner in the global fight to eradicate polio.
Further background information
The world’s first service club was the Rotary Club of Chicago, Illinois, USA. The club was formed 23 February, 1905 by lawyer Paul P. Harris and three friends — a merchant, a coal dealer, and a mining engineer. Harris wished to recapture the friendly spirit he had felt among businesspeople in the small town where he had grown up. The name ‘Rotary’ was derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among member’s offices.
The main objective of Rotary is service
— in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians build goodwill and peace, provide humanitarian service, and encourage high ethical standards in all vocations.
The Rotary motto is…
‘Service Above Self.’
Membership Rotarians are professional men and women who work as volunteers to improve the quality of life in their home and world community. Club membership represents a cross-section of local business and professional leaders. The world’s Rotary clubs meet weekly and are non-political, non-religious and open to all cultures, races, and creeds. There are approximately 1.2 million Rotarians working in some 29,000 Rotary clubs in 160 countries and 35 geographical regions worldwide. First admitted in 1987, women are the fastest-growing segment of Rotary’s membership. There are nearly 2,000 women club presidents and women are rapidly assuming regional leadership roles.
Rotarians initiate community projects that address many of today’s most critical issues, such as violence, drug abuse, youth, AIDS, hunger, the environment, and illiteracy. Rotary clubs are autonomous and determine service projects based on local needs.
Rotarians work with and for youth to address challenges facing young people today.
Through participation in Rotary-sponsored Interact clubs (for secondary school students), Rotaract clubs (for young adults), and Rotary Youth Leadership awards, young people worldwide learn leadership skills and the importance of community service.
Rotary Youth Exchange gives high school students the opportunity to broaden their world view and build international friendships.
Rotarians have a history of building safe communities and working for peace.
In the world’s cities, where urban violence has become rampant, Rotary has the community-based network to help prevent unrest. Rotary-sponsored violence prevention projects and conferences address the root causes of violence such as drug abuse, poverty, lack of role models, and gangs.
The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International provides an opportunity for Rotarians to work for international understanding and peace. Through their Foundation, Rotarians sponsor international educational and humanitarian programs.
PolioPlus is Rotary’s commitment to eradicating polio by the year 2005.
Through the efforts of Rotary and its partners in the fight against polio, more than one billion children worldwide have been immunized since 1985. In 1996, 154 nations reported no cases of polio, up from 85 when PolioPlus began. By the year 2005 Rotarian contributions will reach a half billion US dollars to eradicate the crippling disease. Of equal significance is the huge volunteer army mobilized by Rotary International for social mobilization, vaccine transport and immunization activities.
Rotary’s international network helps link people in need with Rotarians in other countries that can provide resources. The Foundation’s humanitarian programs provide health care and supplies, clean water, food, job training, and education — particularly in the developing world.
The Rotary Foundation’s educational programs include Ambassadorial Scholarships, the world’s largest privately-funded source of international scholarships. Nearly 1,300 scholarships are awarded annually for study in another land. Grants are also awarded for university teachers to serve in developing countries and for exchanges of professionals.
The 4-Way Test:
From the earliest days of the organization, Rotarians were concerned with promoting high ethical standards in their professional lives. One of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is The 4-Way Test, which was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor (who later served as RI president) when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy. This 24-word code of ethics for employees to follow in their business and professional lives became the guide for sales, production, advertising, and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company is credited to this simple philosophy. Adopted by Rotary in 1943, The 4-Way Test has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. It asks the following four questions:
“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?”
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.