A HISTORY OF ROTARY
The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is a not-for-profit corporation that promotes world understanding through international humanitarian service programs and educational and cultural exchanges. It is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and others who share its vision of a better world. Since 1947, the Foundation has awarded more than US $1.1 billion in humanitarian and educational grants, which are initiated and administered by local Rotary clubs and districts.
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.
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. 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. The world's Rotary clubs meet weekly and are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds.
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.
Although Rotary clubs develop autonomous service programs, all Rotarians worldwide are united in a campaign for the global eradication of polio. In the 1980s, Rotarians raised US$240 million to immunize the children of the world; by 2005, Rotary's centenary year and the target date for the certification of a polio-free world, the PolioPlus program will have contributed US$500 million to this cause. In addition, Rotary has provided an army of volunteers to promote and assist at national immunization days in polio-endemic countries around the world.
FIVE AVENUES OF SERVICE
The Object of Rotary is to “encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise.”
Rotary is a service organization.
Since 1910, the Rotary Motto has been “Service Above Self.”
Rotary strives to achieve it’s objective of “Service Above Self” through activities in four primary areas. These are often referred to as the Four Avenues of Service.
This “Avenue” promotes the development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service. It involves the activities necessary to make the Club function successfully and achieve its goals.
This area represents the opportunity that each Rotarian has to represent the dignity and utility of one’s vocation as an opportunity to serve society. Rotarian's promote and foster high ethical standards in business and professions and promote the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations.
This “Avenue” relates to the activities that Rotarian's undertake to improve the quality of life in their community. Particular emphasis is given to helping children, needy families, the aged, the handicapped, and those most in need of assistance. Rotarian's strive to promote the ideal of service in their personal, business, and community lives.
In this area, Rotarian's strive for the advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service. International Service Projects are designed to meet the humanitarian needs of people in many lands, with particular emphasis on the most underprivileged children and families in developing countries.
New Generations refers to the youngest generation in the family of Rotary. Many are
participants in Rotary’s youth and young adult programs: Interact, Rotaract, Rotary
Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), and Rotary Youth Exchange. Others are service minded
young people involved in Rotary club and district activities.