Rotary was started in 1905 as a professional organization by a Chicago attorney named Paul Harris. His vision was to bring together a diverse group of businessmen to exchange ideas, collaborate and ultimately give back to their communities. To meet, the group would rotate among member’s offices. This practice led to the organization’s name: ROTARY.
Today, Rotary has become an international organization with over 1.2 million members and 33,000 clubs worldwide. Each club is unique in the friendships they foster, the demographics they cover and the local and world issues they conquer. The organization’s commitment to service started the rise of one of greatest fights against Polio in 1979. Today, Polio is only endemic in three nations thanks to the global vaccination efforts of Rotary International and the funding provided by the Rotary Foundation.
Through the generous contributions of Rotarians everywhere, the Rotary Foundation is an endowment used to fund Rotary International initiatives and sustainable service projects by Rotary Clubs worldwide. These service projects cover 6 areas of need: Promoting Peace, Providing Clean Water, Saving Mothers & Children, Supporting Education, Growing Local Economies and Fighting Diseases. The Rotary Foundation commits 91% of its funds to program awards and operations!
These incredible service projects help members uphold Rotary’s primary motto: SERVICE ABOVE SELF.