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 31,256 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, non religious, 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 Originally proposed to eradicate polio from the world by the year 2000. Due to the larger than expected scope of the program and the addition of immunizations to eliminate childhood diseases under the sponsorship of the United Nations, the program has still not met the goal of total eradication of polio, although only the four countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria remain with reported cases of polio. Rotarians have contributed over 600 million dollars and thousands of man hours by Rotarians to administer the immunizations and monitor the program and Rotary is in the process of a campaign to match a grant of $200 million from The Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and plans are in place for the final steps to finally complete the elimination of polio from the world.
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.