About Rotary

What is Rotary?

Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide, who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations. They help build goodwill and peace in the world. There are approximately 1.2 million Rotarians, members of more than 29,000 Rotary clubs in 161 countries.  Listed below are examples of Rotary International projects and accompanying links to short videos:

Rotary International’s signature project is the eradication of polio world wide and we are almost there!

Early History

February 23, 1905, a Chicago lawyer, Paul P. Harris, called three friends to a meeting. What he had in mind was a club that would kindle fellowship among members of the business community. An idea that grew from his desire to find within the large city the kind of friendly spirit that he knew in the villages where he had grown up.

The four men did not name the club, but their get-together was, in fact, the first meeting of the world’s first Rotary club. As they continued to meet, adding others to the group. They rotated their meetings among  the members’ places of business, hence the name. Soon after the club name was agreed upon, one of the new members suggested a wagon wheel design as the club emblem. It was the precursor of the cogwheel emblem now worn by Rotarians around the world. By the end of 1905, the club had 30 members.

The second Rotary club was formed in 1908 half a continent away from Chicago in San Francisco, California. It was a much shorter leap across San Francisco Bay to Oakland, California, where the third club was formed. Others followed in Seattle, Washington, Los Angeles, California, and New York City, New York. Rotary became international in 1910 when a club was formed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. By 1921, the organization was represented on every continent, and the name Rotary International was adopted in 1922.

Rotary Motto:

“Service Above Self”

The Four-Way Test

For Rotary, The Four-Way Test is the cornerstone of all action. It has been for years, and it will be in the future. Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

The test is one of the hallmarks of Rotary. Since it was developed in 1932 by Herbert J. Taylor, who later became RI president, it has never ceased to be relevant. Its four brief questions are not based on culture or religion. Instead, they are a simple checklist for ethical behavior. They transcend generations and national borders.

Rotarians in Business and the Professions

In 1989, the Rotary International Council on Legislation adopted the Declaration of Rotarians in Business and Professions.  Their objective was to provide specific guidelines for the ethical standards.

Consider my vocation to be another opportunity to serve,

Be faithful to the letter and to the spirit of the ethical codes of my vocation, to the laws of my country, and to the moral standards of my community,

Do all in my power to dignify my vocation and to promote the highest ethical standards in my chosen vocation,

Be fair to my employer, employees, associates, competitors, customers, the public and all those with whom I have a business or professional relationship,

Recognize the honor and respect due to all occupations, which are useful to society,

Offer my vocational talents: to provide opportunities for young people, to work for the relief of the special needs of others, and to improve the quality of life in my community,

Adhere to honesty in my advertising and in all representations to the public concerning my business or profession,

Neither seeks from nor grants to a fellow Rotarian a privilege or advantage not normally accorded others in a business or professional relationship.