Why Rotary?

Prepared by George Moses


A True Rotarian is:

“not a builder of monuments of brick and stone. If we work upon marble it will perish; if we work on brass, time will deface it; if we erect temples, they will crumble into ruins. But if we work upon immortal minds, if we imbue them with the full meaning of the Spirit of Rotary as expressed in our Objects and with the fear of God an love and fellow men, we are engraving on those tablets something that will brighten all eternity and make Rotary an immortal force as long as civilization shall endure.”
Kumph, father of the Rotary Foundation and Rotary International President, 1916-17

“Service above Self”

“He Profits Most Who Serves Best”

History of Rotary

The first Rotary Club was organized in Chicago by a young lawyer named Paul P. Harris, and held its first meeting on February 23, 1905, with four business and professional men in attendance. The meeting was held in the Unity Building at 12 Dearborn Street, in the office of Gus Loehr, a mining engineer. In addition to Paul and Gus, the group consisted of Hiram Shorey, a merchant tailor and Silvester Schiele, a coal dealer. The men were trying to capture that sense of fellowship they had in the small towns from which they had originated. Soon they developed the higher purpose of service to others.

The men met in rotation at each other’s places of business, hence the name Rotary. To make the club a representative cross section of the business and professional community, only one representative of each business or profession was admitted. This was the beginning of the classification principle of membership.

By 1910, there were 16 Rotary Clubs and a couple of years later, the movement spread overseas. In 1922, the organization was officially named Rotary International. Today there are over 32,000 clubs with over 1,200,000 members in 200 countries.

The Object of Rotary

The Object of Rotary is to “encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise”
There are four areas by which this “ideal of service” is fostered:

First: The development of acquaintances as an opportunity of service.

Second: High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying by each Rotarian of his occupation as an opportunity to serve society.

Third: The application of the ideal of service by every Rotarian to this personal, business and community life.

Fourth: The advancement of international service, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

The Avenues of Service

The Four Avenues of Service represent the four elements of the Object of Rotary. They are:

  1. Club Service: Providing service to the Rotary club to enable it to run efficiently in the spirit of fellowship.
  2. Vocational Service: Putting high standards of conduct into practice in the business and professional lives of Rotarians.
  3. Community Service: Identifying needs in the Rotary Club’s community and addressing these needs with service projects.
  4. International Service: Working for international understanding and peace by promoting goodwill among all people.
  5. Youth Services: Need content here.

Each of these Avenues of Service is headed by a Director in each club, with various sub committees functioning in each area.Each member of the club should attempt to be a member of a committee or sub committee.