Rotary began through the efforts of four Chicago men. Each represented a different occupation: mining engineering, the coal industry, merchant tailoring, and the law. The
attorney, Paul P. Harris, first conceived the idea of Rotary. To him is credited the vision which culminated in the worldwide Rotary movement. The first meeting was held in
Chicago on February 23, 1905.

In the beginning of the organization, the meetings were held in rotation at the offices of the members.

A Rotary Club is an association of persons united to practice the ideal of service; service to Rotary and to others on behalf of Rotary.

The motto of Rotary is 'Service Above Self’.

The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise as expressed through the four avenues or opportunities for service.

  1. Club Service
  2. Community Service
  3. International Service
  4. Vocational Service

Club Service in Rotary means those things that Rotarians do to help make successful Rotary
Clubs. Rotarians serve their Clubs by:

● Developing acquaintance
● Attending meetings
● Participating in its fellowship
● Taking part in programs
● Assisting in welcoming new members
● Serving on committees
● Serving as a director or an officer
● Paying dues
● Representing the Club in activities outside of the regular meeting such as conferences or conventions.

Community Service is defined in Rotary as those things Rotarians do in their many community relationships which demonstrate thoughtfulness and helpfulness. These acts may be performed by the Rotarian as an individual, or in conjunction with others, Rotarians and non-Rotarians. They vary greatly, according to local conditions. They include civic, educational. patriotic, and philanthropic enterprises on behalf of children, youth, health, recreation, and many others. In substance, Rotarians believe that if there is a job to be done in a community and there is no other organization to do it, the Club might take steps to get it started and build it into a Community Project. However, if there is a suitable organization to do it, then the Club might cooperate and strengthen the efforts rather than to duplicate those efforts.

International Service is defined as those things a Rotarian can do to advance international understanding, good will, and peace. This can be accomplished by becoming acquainted with other people of other countries, and their cultures, customs, accomplishments, aspirations, and problems. Rotarians do this through personal contact in their own community, by travel and attending Rotary meetings in other countries, by attendance at conventions, through reading and correspondence, and through cooperation in all Club activities that will be helpful to those in other lands.

The obligation of holders of Rotary Classifications is to share with others the ideal of service in all the personal relationships in their business of profession.

A convenient measuring stick for all human relations, consisting of four simple statements is Rotary's Four - Way Test:


A convenient measuring stick for all human relations, consisting of four simple statements is Rotary's Four - Way Test:

  • An opportunity to learn the true meaning of 'Service Above Self.
  • The opportunity to become better acquainted with outstanding persons in the community.
  • The development of many true and helpful friendships.
  • Stimulation of one's mind to travel in unfrequented channels of thought.
  • Obtaining enlightenment as to the work, problems, and successes of others.
  • An opportunity to obtain a broad outlook on one's business or profession from the standpoint of its contribution to the well-being of its employees, customers, shareholders, and suppliers.
  • Receiving help and inspiration to participate more effectively in the activities which make the community a better place in which to live.

A convenient measuring stick for all human relations, consisting of four simple statements is Rotary's Four - Way Test:

  • To attend meetings regularly
  • To pay dues promptly
  • To do their part when called upon
  • To be big-hearted, broad-minded, have energy and action.
  • To be active in support of those endeavors which make humans better.

Each active member shall be an adult person of good character and enjoy business or professional reputation. They should be engaged as a proprietor, partner, corporate officer, or a manager of a worthy and recognized business or profession; or they should hold an important position in an executive capacity with discretionary authority in any worthy and recognized business or profession. In the last case, they should have entire charge of the agency or branch in an executive capacity. In all categories they must be personally and actively engaged in the business or profession which the classification is granted. In Addition, the place of business or the residence must be located within the territorial limits of the Club.

Any adult who is distinguished in meritorious service in the furtherance of Rotary ideals, who resides within or who is definitely associated with the territorial limits of a Rotary Club, may be elected to Honorary membership in that Club. An Honorary member pays no fees or dues. Honorary members are not considered as representing any business or profession, have no vote and cannot hold office. They are entitled to attend all meetings and enjoy all other privileges in any Club. Honorary members have no rights or privileges in any Club other than that of which they are a member. Honorary membership terminates on the first day of July after the date of election to honorary membership. The Board of Directors may, by resolution, continue the Honorary membership from year to year.

Active membership continues until terminated by death of the member, or unless terminated in anyone of the following ways:

  • By moving both residence and place of business or profession from the territorial limits of the Club.
  • By ceasing to be personally and actively engaged in the classification of business or profession represented.
  • By misconduct.
  • By non-payment of dues.
  • Failure to meet attendance requirements.
  • By resignation

Classifications held by Rotary Club members reflect either the primary activity of their firm or the work they do within the firm. For example, an accountant with a railroad could hold either the classification of 'Railroads' or ' Accounting.'

No. A Rotary Club as a unit of Rotary International should not become a member of any other organization.

Rotary Clubs shall not endorse or recommend any candidates for public office and shall not discuss at any Club meeting the merits of any candidate. The Club shall not take any action endorsing or condemning any measure which is to be submitted to the vote of the people.

It has no official meaning, but various Rotarians have made inspirational and beautiful interpretations of its significance.

It is a meeting of Rotarians held annually in each District. The purpose of the conference is to further the program of Rotary through fellowship, inspirational addresses, and discussions relating to District affairs and Rotary International generally. The District Governor for the ensuing year is also nominated by the conference.

The international character of Rotary dates from the Duluth convention in 1912. At this convention Canada was represented by a delegation from the Winnipeg Club. In addition, during this convention, a cabled application was received from London, England. The official title adopted was the 'International Association of Rotary Clubs.' This title was later changed to 'Rotary International.'

The Foundation of Rotary International was established in 1918. It has as its basic objective the furthering of understanding and friendly relations between People of different nations. To achieve the objective the Foundations conducts the following programs:

  • Educational Awards.
  • Group Study Exchange.
  • Special Grants of an educational or charitable nature.
  • Worldwide health, hunger, and humanities projects. (it is called the 3-H Program.)
  • Polio Plus.

Rotary International is The Association of Rotary Clubs throughout the world with the duty to: A. Preserve unit of purpose and action. B. Encourage, promote, extend and supervise Rotary throughout the world. C. Coordinate and generally direct the activities of Rotary International.