Rotary started with the vision of one man — Paul Harris. The Chicago attorney formed the Rotary Club of Chicago on 23 February 1905, so professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships.
Over time, Rotary’s reach and vision gradually extended to humanitarian service. Members have a long track record of addressing challenges in their communities and around the world.
“Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves.”
- Paul Harris, Rotary Founder
Rotary Ongoing commitment endures today through an organization that remains truly international. Only 16 years after being founded, Rotary had clubs on six continents. Rotary members now span the globe, working to solve some of our world’s most challenging problems.
Rotary members are not afraid to dream big and set bold goals. Rotary began fight against polio in 1979 with a project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines. Today, polio remains endemic in only three countries — down from 125 in 1988.
Rotary is made up of three parts: local Rotary clubs, Rotary International, and The Rotary Foundation. Together, we work to make lasting change in our communities and around the world.
- The Rotary Foundation transforms gifts it receives into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world.
- Since it was founded more than 100 years ago, the Foundation has spent more than $4 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects. With individuals, corporates & organizations help, Rotary can make lives better in local community and around the world.
- The mission of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.
- The Rotary Foundation is organized as a public charity operated exclusively for charitable purposes and governed by a Board of Trustees. The operations of Rotary International, a member organization, are overseen by its Board of Directors.
- The headquarters of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation are in Evanston, Illinois, USA. We have associate foundations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Japan, and the United Kingdom.