"Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves."
—Paul P. Harris
Solving real problems takes real commitment and vision. For more than 110 years, Rotary's people of action have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to take action on sustainable projects. From literacy and peace to water and health, we are always working to better our world, and we stay committed to the end.
Our global, 1.2 million-member organisation began with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organisations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals from diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.

What we do 

Rotary members are community leaders who provide service to others, act with integrity, and advance understanding, goodwill, and peace. Rotarians believe that we have a shared responsibility to take action both in our own local communities, and on our world’s most persistent issues. Our 46,000+ clubs work together to:
  • Promote peace
  • Fight disease
  • Provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene
  • Save mothers and children
  • Support education
  • Grow local economies
  • Protect the environment

Our ongoing commitment

Rotarians have not only been present for major events in history—we’ve often been an active part of them. From the beginning, three key traits have remained strong:
Our commitment to service. Driven by dedicated local clubs, and supported by the collective work of the Rotary Foundation, Rotary has been at the forefront of global health and development efforts. Foremost, has been our fight against polio, which began in 1979 with a project to immunise 6 million children in the Philippines. By 2012, only three countries remain polio-endemic—down from 125 in 1988.
We persevere in tough times. During WWII, Rotary clubs in Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Japan were forced to disband. Despite the risks, many continued to meet informally and following the war’s end, Rotary members joined together to rebuild their clubs and their countries.
We’re truly international. Only 16 years after being founded, Rotary had clubs on six continents. Today we’re working together from around the globe both digitally and in-person to solve some of our world’s most challenging problems.