Service above Self

What is Rotary?

Rotary International

In Chicago in 1905, a man named Paul Harris met with several business friends to talk about mutual business problems. He felt that talking about matters that concerned each of them would prove beneficial not only to themselves but to the community at large. The men began holding weekly meetings. They decided to "rotate" the meeting sites to their respective offices. Thus "Rotary" was born. Today, Rotary’s main objective is service, both locally and internationally. More than 1.2 million men and women comprise over 34,000 clubs throughout the world. In terms of time and money, Rotary is the largest independent giving organization in the world.

Local Rotary Clubs

In each of the 34,000+ local Rotary Clubs worldwide, Rotarians promote a wide range of community service projects. In addition to local community service, Rotarians support many international service projects covering all aspects of the human condition – literacy, public health, clean water, and youth development.

Rotary And Youth

A major focus of Rotary is youth development. Rotary promotes opportunities for youth in the following ways:

  • Interact is a service organization created and sponsored by Rotary clubs for youth ages 12-18. It has more than 12,300 clubs in 133 countries.

  • Rotaract is organized by Rotary clubs to promote leadership, professional development, and service among young adults ages 18-30. There are more than 8,000 clubs in 167 countries.

  • Rotary Youth Exchange offers students ages 15-19 the chance to travel abroad for cultural exchanges ranging from one week to a full academic year. Rotary clubs and districts sponsor and host more than 8,000 Youth Exchange students a year.