What is Rotary International?
Rotary is a volunteer organization of 1.2 million business and professional leaders united worldwide to provide humanitarian service and help build goodwill and peace. Started with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris, the Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships.
Today about 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas conduct projects to address today's challenges -- including illiteracy, disease, hunger, poverty, lack of clean water, and environmental concerns -- while encouraging high ethical standards in all vocations.
As the world's largest private provider of international scholarships, The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International helps more than 1,000 students annually to study abroad and serve as cultural ambassadors. Rotary also partners with 7 prestigious universities around the world, providing opportunities to earn a master's degree in peace and conflict resolution.
PolioPlus is Rotary's flagship program. By the time polio is eradicated, Rotary club members will have contributed $850 million and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2 billion children in 122 countries. Rotary is a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, along with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Founded in Chicago in 1905 as the world's first volunteer service organization, Rotary quickly expanded around the globe. Today, club members meet weekly to plan service projects, discuss community and international issues, and enjoy fellowship. Clubs are nonpolitical and open to every race, culture, and creed.