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Rotary

Our history.

For more than 110 years, Rotary members have been addressing challenges around the world.

Grassroots at the core, Rotary links 1.2 million members to form an organization of international scope. It 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, form meaningful, lifelong friendships, and give back to their communities.

Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of its members.

Rotary Guiding principles

"Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves." - Paul Harris


Object of Rotary

  • The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service
  • 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
  • The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian's personal, business and community life.
  • The advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace thorough a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

The Four-Way Test

The Four-Way test is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships.

Of all the things we think, say or do

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

The Presidential Theme
for the Rotary Year 2019-2020

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Rotary is built on connection. When Paul Harris came to Chicago as a young lawyer, he formed Rotary for one compelling reason: to help him connect to others in a new city.

Through its distinct mission and structure, Rotary International provides a way to connect to our communities, to network professionally, and to build strong and lasting relationships.Our membership connects us to a global community through our countless projects and programs. Our service connects us to people who share our values, who want to take action for a better world; it connects us to people we would never otherwise meet, who are more like us than we could have imagined; and it connects us to people who need our help, allowing us to change lives in communities around the world.

When our Rotary clubs are warm, welcoming places where service and family go hand in hand, we give family-oriented young professionals the opportunity to embrace Rotary service and model positive civic engagement.

In 2019-2020, it will be our challenge to strengthen the many ways that Rotary Connects the World, building the connections that allow talented, thoughtful, and generous people to unite and take meaningful action through Rotary service.

Mark Daniel Maloney
President, Rotary International, 2019-20