Rotary is an organization of business, professional and community leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. In more than 200 countries worldwide, approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 34,000 Rotary clubs.
Rotary club membership represents a cross-section of the community’s business and professional men and women, as well as community leaders. The world’s Rotary clubs meet weekly and are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds.
The main objective of Rotary is service — in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians develop service projects that address many of today’s most critical issues, such as children at risk, disabled persons, health care, international understanding and goodwill, literacy and numeracy, population issues, poverty and hunger, the environment, clean water, and Polio eradication. They also support 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.
Although Rotary clubs develop autonomous service programs, all Rotarians worldwide are united in a campaign for the global eradication of polio. In the 1980s, Rotarians raised US$240 million to immunize the children of the world; by 2005, Rotary’s centenary year and the target date for the certification of a polio-free world, the PolioPlus program will have contributed US$500 million to this cause. In addition, Rotary has provided an army of volunteers to promote and assist at national immunization days in polio-endemic countries around the world.
The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is a not-for-profit corporation that promotes world understanding through international humanitarian service programs and educational and cultural exchanges. It is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and others who share its vision of a better world. Since 1947, the Foundation has awarded more than US$1.1 billion in humanitarian and educational grants, which are initiated and administered by local Rotary clubs and districts.
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.