Rotary's purpose

The purpose of Rotary:Service above self-interest.

The purpose of Rotary is to encourage and develop the ideal of service, understood as the engine and propeller of all activity. In particular it aims to:

- Promote and develop friendly relations among its members to make them better fitted to serve the general interest.

- To inform the practice of business and professions to the principles of the highest rectitude: to recognize the dignity of every useful occupation so that they may be exercised in the most worthy manner, as means of serving society.

- To orient the private, professional and public activities of individuals to the concept of service.

- To propagate understanding, goodwill and peace between nation and nation through the spread throughout the world of friendly relations among the exponents of various economic and professional activities, united in the common purpose and will to serve.

The 5 avenues of action

- Internal Action

- Professional Action

- Public Interest Action

- International Action

- Youth Service (becoming more and more prominent in recent years...)

Polioplus and The Rotary Foundation's 7 areas of focus.

- Peace, prevention and conflict resolution

- Disease prevention and treatment

- Water and sanitation

- Maternal and child health

- Basic literacy and education

- Economic and community development

- Environmental protection

The four questions

"Does what we think, say or do.

- Does it answer to TRUTH?

- Is it RIGHT for all concerned?


- Will it be BENEFITFUL for all concerned?"

Brief History of Rotary

The world's first service club was the Rotary Club of Chicago, founded on February 23, 1905, by Paul P. Harris, a lawyer who hoped to find in a group of professionals the spirit of friendship he had found in the small towns where he had lived as a young man. "Rotary" comes from the early custom of meeting on a rotating basis at members' offices. Over the next decade several clubs were founded in the United States, from San Francisco to New York, and in Winnipeg, Canada. By 1921 Rotary clubs were present on six continents. As clubs grew, Rotary's mission began to go beyond the goal of conviviality and members' personal interests. Rotarians began to pool their resources and expertise to promote social initiatives within their communities, with a dedication expressed in the motto: Service Above Self. By July 1925, Rotary had more than 2,000 clubs with more than 108,000 members including heads of state, politicians, and men such as writer Thomas Mann, missionary Albert Schweitzer, and composer Jean Sibelius. In 1945, forty-nine Rotarians belonging to twenty-nine delegations participated in the San Francisco Conference at the end of which the UN's founding charter was ratified. "There are few who do not recognize the good work done by Rotary clubs in the free world," declared British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The first Italian club, was founded in Milan in 1923, and in Turin in 1924.

Brief history of the Rotary Foundation

In 1917 Arch C. Klumph, president of Rotary International, proposed establishing an endowment fund designed to "do good in the world." In 1928 the fund exceeded $5,000, was renamed the "Rotary Foundation," and became an autonomous entity within Rotary International. Five trustees, including Klumph, were charged with "preserving, investing and managing all funds and property as a trust, to support the objectives of Rotary International." Two years later the Foundation made its first grant, donating $500 to the I.S.C.C. "International Society for Paralytic Children" created by Rotarian Edgar F. Allen.

The Foundation suffered from both the economic crisis of the Great Depression and the effects of World War II, but recovered after the war, when the need to promote peace was felt everywhere in the world. In 1947, when Rotary founder Paul Harris died, contributions made by Rotarians around the world to his memory marked the rebirth of the Foundation. That same year, the Foundation's first educational program, forerunner of the "Ambassadorial Scholarships," was established. In 1965-1966 the Rotary Volunteers were established. The "Polio Plus" initiative dates from 1984-85, and the following year it was the turn of the "Grants for University Teachers." From the first peace forums, organized in 1987-88, finally came the "Peace and Conflict Resolution Study Programs." Since the first donation of US$26.50 in 1917, support for the Foundation has received contributions of more than US$1 billion.  More than 70 million was raised in the 2003-04 Rotary year alone. To date, more than one million supporters have received the honorary title of "Paul Harris Fellow," given to each person who contributes, or in whose name $1,000 (or the equivalent in another currency) is contributed to the Foundation.