What Is Rotary
What Does Rotary Do?

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The main objective of a Rotary club is service -- SERVICE ABOVE SELF --in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotary International (RI) has developed a broad range of programs designed to help clubs carry out this vital mission. Some of these programs have been underway for many years, while others have been developed more recently to meet emerging needs.

Rotary's community development programs address many of today's most critical issues - - hunger, the environment, literacy, to name a few. RI also offers programs that focus primarily on young people, including service clubs for high school students and young adults, leadership training workshops, and student exchanges. The international component of RI programs enables clubs and districts to assist Rotary efforts abroad and to share information and arrange exchanges with Rotarians in other countries. Vocational concerns figure in many club and district projects designed to promote high ethical standards in the workplace and to help young people and others become and remain productive members of society.

The vision of Rotary founder Paul Harris was of a club that would kindle friendship among members of the Chicago business community. He wanted to find in the large city the kind of friendly spirit and helpfulness that he had known in the small towns where he had grown up -- the spirit to reach out in service to others less fortunate. Through the subsequent spread of the Rotary movement, the spirit of friendship and service evolved quite naturally into a focus on helping to build goodwill and peace in the world.

It was also Harris's thought that the first club should represent a cross-section of the business and professional life of the community. From this idea developed Rotary's "Classification Principle".  Admission to Rotary club membership is by invitation, and accepting the invitation represents a personal commitment of the Rotarian to exemplify high ethical standards in one's own vocation or occupation.

As the entity representing the global association of all Rotary clubs, Rotary International's mission is to assist Rotarians and Rotary clubs to accomplish the "Object of Rotary", emphasizing service activities by individuals and groups that enhance the quality of life and human dignity, encouraging high ethical standards, and creating greater understanding among all people to advance the search for peace in the world.

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What is Rotary? - Information for the Non-Rotarian




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