What Is 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, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.
  • ROTARY is the world’s first service club. The first Rotary club was founded in Chicago, Illinois, USA on 23 February 1905.
  • ROTARY is some 1.2 million service-minded men and women belonging to more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in virtually every nation in the world.
  • ROTARIANS meet weekly for fellowship and interesting and informative programs dealing with topics of local and global importance. Membership reflects a wide cross-section of community representation.
  • ROTARIANS plan and carry out a remarkable variety of humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programs that touch people’s lives in their local communities and our world community.
  • ROTARY is The Rotary Foundation, which each year provides some US$90 million for international scholarships, cultural exchanges, and humanitarian projects large and small that improve the quality of life for millions of people. Rotary is widely regarded as the world’s largest private provider of international educational scholarships.
  • ROTARY is PolioPlus, Rotary’s commitment to work with national and international health organizations on the goal of polio eradication. More than one billion children in developing nations have been immunized against polio through PolioPlus grants.

Rotary Areas of Focus

Rotary is dedicated to six areas of focus to build international relationships, improve lives, and create a better world to support our peace efforts and end polio forever.  Rotarians around the world are directing their efforts in these areas to enhance their local and global impact. Rotary’s most successful and sustainable projects and activities tend to fall within the following areas:

  • Promoting peace
  • Fighting disease
  • Providing clean water, sanitation, and hygiene
  • Saving mothers and children
  • Supporting education
  • Growing local economies

The Rotary Foundation

Donations to The Rotary Foundation are used to sustain club service projects all over the world that support our six causes.

Rotary Guiding Principles

These principles have been developed over the years to provide Rotarians with a strong, common purpose and direction.  They serve as a foundation for our relationships with each other and the action we take in the world.


The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

  1. The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
  2. High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
  3. The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life;
  4. The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.


The Four-Way Test is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships. The test has been translated into more than 100 languages, and Rotarians recite it at club meetings:

Of the things we think, say or do

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


We channel our commitment to service at home and abroad through five Avenues of Service, which are the foundation of club activity.

  • Club Service focuses on making clubs strong. A thriving club is anchored by strong relationships and an active membership development plan.
  • Vocational Service calls on every Rotarian to work with
    integrity and contribute their expertise to the problems and
    needs of society.
  • Community Service encourages every Rotarian to find ways
    to improve the quality of life for people in their
    communities and to serve the public interest.
  • International Service exemplifies our global reach in promoting peace and understanding. We support this service avenue by sponsoring or volunteering on international projects, seeking partners abroad, and more.
  • Youth Service recognizes the importance of empowering youth and young professionals through leadership development programs such as Rotaract, Interact, Rotary Youth Leadership Awards, and Rotary Youth Exchange.