What would it take to change the world? Rotary International is the world's first service club organization, with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide. Rotary club members are volunteers who work locally, regionally, and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, provide education and job training, promote peace, and eradicate polio under the motto Service Above Self.
Throughout Rotary’s history, several basic principles have been developed to guide Rotarians in achieving the ideal of service and high ethical standards.
Object of Rotary
First formulated in 1910 and adapted through the years as Rotary’s mission expanded, the Object of Rotary provides a succinct definition of the organization’s purpose as well as the club member’s responsibilities.
The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:
FIRST The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
SECOND High ethical standards in business and professions; the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations; and the dignifying of each Rotarian’s occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
THIRD The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life;
FOURTH The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.
By assigning each member a classification based on his or her business or profession, this system ensures that the club’s membership reflects the business and professional composition of its community. The number of members holding a particular classification is limited according to the size of the club. The goal is professional diversity, which enlivens the club’s social atmosphere and provides a rich resource of occupational expertise to carry out service projects and provide club leadership.
Avenues of Service
Based on the Object of Rotary, the Avenues of Service are Rotary’s philosophical cornerstone and the foundation on which club activity is based:
- Club Service focuses on strengthening fellowship and ensuring the effective functioning of the club.
- Vocational Service encourages Rotarians to serve others through their vocations and to practice high ethical standards.
- Community Service covers the projects and activities the club undertakes to improve life in its community.
- International Service encompasses actions taken to expand Rotary’s humanitarian reach around the globe and to promote world understanding and peace.
- New Generations reflects: Rotary’s commitment to young people. This includes Interact Clubs high school) Rotaract Clubs college) Youth Exchange high school student going abroad and coming to the US) and Ambassadorial Scholarships college students studying abroad)