What Is Rotary?


Polio is more than 99% eradicated and the number of polio-endemic countries has been reduced from 125 to three. Rotary and its members have contributed $1.2 billion to the fight to End Polio Now.

Rotary club members are business and professional leaders who volunteer in their communities and promote world understanding and peace. Rotary’s 31,000 clubs in more than 165 countries and regions encourage high ethical standards and carry out humanitarian projects to address such issues as poverty, health, hunger, education, and the environment.

Through more than $95 million in Rotary Foundation grants each year, Rotary clubs support community projects at home and abroad. Known as the world’s largest private provider of international education scholarships, The Rotary Foundation funds more than 1,000 students annually to study overseas and act as cultural ambassadors. Rotary also partners with eight prestigious universities around the globe to educate midcareer professionals in peace and conflict resolution.

PolioPlus is Rotary’s flagship program. Rotary club members will contribute $600 million and countless volunteer hours to help immunize over two billion children against polio by Rotary’s centennial in 2005. Spearheading partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative include the World Health Organization, Rotary International, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF.

Founded in Chicago in 1905 as the world’s first volunteer service organization, Rotary quickly expanded around the globe. Clubs meet weekly for fellowship to discuss local and global topics. Clubs are nonreligious, nongovernmental, and open to every race, culture, and creed.