What is Rotary

Rotary is an organisation of socially committed people with different professional backgrounds, gender, age, religion and ethnicity, making humanitarian efforts and works to promote understanding, goodwill and peace in the world.

  • Promote peace
  • Fight disease
  • Provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene
  • Save mothers and children
  • Support education
  • Grow local economies
  • Protect the environment

Rotary International, formerly (1905–12) Rotary Club of Chicago and (1912–22) International Association of Rotary Clubs, byname Rotary, civilian service club founded as the Rotary Club of Chicago in 1905 by American attorney Paul P. Harris.


For having created the organization, Harris is credited with initiating the idea of a civilian service club, an organization of men or women from varied business and professional backgrounds that is dedicated to fellowship among its members and to voluntary community service. The name Rotary was originally proposed by Harris because meetings were to be held in rotation in members’ offices.

Still making history

With every project, we’re changing the world for the better. The following stories trace our evolution as an organization through historical documents, artifacts, and images that show the people and events that shaped Rotary.

"Rotary is made up of three parts: our clubs, Rotary International, and The Rotary Foundation. Together, we work to make lasting change in our communities and around the world."

The Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Foundation transforms your gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world.