Rotary’s main objective is service — in the community, in the workplace, and around the globe. The 1.2 million Rotarians who make up more than 34,000 Rotary clubs in nearly every country in the world share a dedication to the ideal of Service Above Self. Rotary clubs are open to people of all cultures and ethnicities and are not affiliated with any political or religious organizations.proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.”
What is Rotary?
Rotary is an international humanitarian service organization. The men and women of Rotary are business and professional leaders who volunteer their time and resources to help others in their local communities and throughout the world. The main objective of Rotary is service – in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians develop community service projects that address many of today’s most critical issues, such as children at risk, poverty and hunger, the environment, illiteracy, and violence. They also support programs for youth, educational opportunities and international exchanges for students, teachers, and other professionals, and vocational and career development. The Rotary motto is Service Above Self.
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: 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 through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.
From the earliest days of the organization, Rotarians were concerned with promoting high ethical standards in their professional lives. One of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is The 4-Way Test, which was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor (who later served as RI president) when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy. This 24-word code of ethics for employees to follow in their business and professional lives became the guide for sales, production, advertising, and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company is credited to this simple philosophy. Adopted by Rotary in 1943, The 4-Way Test has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. It asks the following four questions:
Of the things we think, say or do:
Is it FAIR to all concerned?
Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”
Rotary International is organized at club, district, and international levels to carry out its program of service. Rotarians are members of their clubs, and the clubs are members of the global association known as Rotary International. Each club elects its own officers and enjoys considerable autonomy within the framework of the standard constitution and the constitution and bylaws of Rotary International. Clubs are grouped into 530 Rotary districts, each led by a district governor who is an officer of Rotary International and represents the RI board of directors in the field. Though selected by the clubs of the district, a governor is elected by all of the clubs worldwide meeting in the RI Convention. A 19-member board of directors, which includes the international president and president-elect, administers Rotary International. These officers are also elected at the convention; the selection process for choosing directors and the nominating committee for president are based on zones, each of which comprises approximately 15 districts. The board meets quarterly to establish policies. While the Rotary International president is chief executive of the organization, the active managing officer is the general secretary, who heads a staff of about 600 persons working at the international headquarters in the Chicago suburb of Evanston , Illinois , USA , or in one of seven international offices around the world.
In more than 160 countries worldwide, approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 30,000 Rotary clubs. Rotary club membership represents a cross-section of the community’s business and professional men and women. Rotary members meet weekly to plan service activities. Rotary clubs are autonomous and determine their own service projects based on local needs and the interests and abilities of members. Rotary clubs are nonreligious, nongovernmental and open to every race, culture and creed. Club membership represents a cross-section of local business and professional leaders. Rotary clubs carry out a variety of service projects that address critical issues including poverty, hunger, illiteracy, substance abuse, and pollution.
The Rotary Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation that supports the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programs. It is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world. The Foundation was created in 1917 by Rotary International’s sixth president, Arch C. Klumph, as an endowment fund for Rotary “to do good in the world.” It has grown from an initial contribution of US$26.50 to more than US$73 million contributed in 2000-01. Its event-filled history is a story of Rotarians learning the value of service to humanity. The Foundation’s Humanitarian Programs fund international Rotary club and district projects to improve the quality of life, providing health care, clean water, food, education, and other essential needs primarily in the developing world. One of the major Humanitarian Programs is PolioPlus, which seeks to eradicate the polio virus worldwide. Through its Educational Programs, the Foundation provides funding for some 1,200 students to study abroad each year. Grants are also awarded to university teachers to teach in developing countries and for exchanges of business and professional people. Former participants in the Foundation’s programs have the opportunity to continue their affiliation with Rotary as Foundation Alumni.