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, encouraging career development and mentoring programs.
Where there is a need, Rotary works to find a solution. Non-political and non-governmental, 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 prevention of violence projects.
Rotarians attack the problem of illiteracy through programs that strengthen primary, vocational and adult education, and also provide teacher training.
Whether standing at the forefront of an international health campaign or mounting a massive literacy initiative, Rotary gathers its tools and know-how to successfully lead the way to change the world for the better.
Rotary members dedicate their time, skills, expertise, and a myriad of other resources towards improving the quality of life of others.
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-term or long-term Rotary Youth Exchanges.
The Rotary Foundation’s Ambassadorial Scholarship program is the world’s largest privately-funded international scholarship 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 to achieve 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 34,000 clubs in 200 countries and geographical areas.
- 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 non-religious, non-governmental and open to every race, culture and creed. Club membership represents a cross section of local business and professional leaders.