What is Rotary?
Rotary is a global network of over 1.2 million community volunteers. Rotary members are business and professional people who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards, and help build goodwill, peace and understanding in the world.
Some 33,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries carry out service projects in their local communities and abroad to address such critical issues as poverty, health, hunger, illiteracy, and the environment.
Rotary is comprised of men and women of all races, religions, and nationalities. Founded in Chicago in 1905, Rotary transcends political, social and historical differences, and brings people of all religions and ethnic backgrounds together to make ours a kinder, healthier, and more peaceful world.
Rotary clubs participate in a broad range of humanitarian, intercultural, and educational activities designed to improve the human condition. Rotary’s humanitarian grants support club projects that provide health care and medical supplies, clean water, food, job training, youth development, and education to millions of people in need – particularly in the developing world.
In addition, Rotary provides more than 200 grants each year to fund the work of Rotary volunteers, who travel to parts of the world where their technical expertise and knowledge are most needed to alleviate hardship and solve problems.
Peace and Understanding
Rotary builds understanding through international scholarships, exchange programs, and humanitarian grants. In 2002, Rotary launched the Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution, an innovative program designed to educate tomorrow’s peacemakers.
Some 35,000 students from 110 countries have also studied abroad since 1947 as Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars. Rotary’s Group Study Exchange has helped more than 45,000 young professionals explore their career fields in other countries. And, each year some 8,000 secondary-school students experience life in another country through Rotary’s Youth Exchange program.
Rotary encourages high ethical standards in all aspects of one’s life. All Rotarians abide by The Four-Way Test:
Of the things we think, say or do:
- Is it the truth?
- Is it fair to all concerned?
- Will it build good will and better friendships?
- Will it be beneficial to all concerned?
Belonging to a Rotary club gives men and women an enjoyable and organized way to make a contribution to their community. Rotary members meet weekly to plan club, community, and international service activities. By using their skills and expertise globally, members also enhance their professional network, career development, and cross-cultural understanding.
Rotary clubs are nonreligious, nongovernmental, and open to every race, culture, and creed. Members represent a cross section of local business and professional leaders.
Five Avenues of Service
The Five Avenues of Service are Rotary’s philosophical cornerstone and the foundation on which club activity is based:
- Club Service focuses on strengthening fellowship and ensuring the effective functioning of the club.
- Vocational Service encourages Rotarians to serve others through their vocations and to practice high ethical standards.
- Community Service covers the projects and activities the club undertakes to improve life in its community.
- International Service encompasses actions taken to expand Rotary’s humanitarian reach around the globe and to promote world understanding and peace.
- Youth Service is the newest Avenue to be added to the long-standing Avenues. Rotarians all over the world are dedicated to developing programs geared to youth such as Interact, Rotaract, RYLA and more.
Benefits of Being a Rotarian
A Rotarian is presented with many personal and professional opportunities, including:
- New opportunities for community service – from the local to the international level.
- Fellowship and friendship with over 1.2 million Rotarians worldwide who share the same Rotary values.
- Developing leadership potential and public speaking skills.
- Broadening one’s circle of friends and acquaintances.
- Increasing one’s knowledge of world affairs and cultural similarities.
- Exposure each week to relevant information and topics about the community, nation and world.
- Fostering business contacts and relationships.
- A new awareness of the community’s needs, while taking action to meet those needs.
How to Become a Member
Those who are interested in the ideals of Rotary and who are willing to do their share to make a difference in their club, vocation, community and the world are encouraged to join a local Rotary Club. There are a couple ways to get started:
Learn more about Rotary International and about becoming a Rotarian by paying a visit to the official Rotary International site.