Definition of Rotary
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.
There are approximately 1.2 million Rotarians, members of 31,936 Rotary clubs in 166 countries.
Rotary is not a political organization, but all Rotarians are vitally concerned with everything pertaining to good citizenship and the election of good men and women to public office.
Rotary is not a charitable organization, yet its activities exemplify the charity and the sacrifices that one should expect from people who believe that they have a responsibility to help others.
Rotary is not a religious organization, but it is built on those eternal principles that have served as the moral compass for people throughout the ages.
A Brief History
Rotary's first day and the years that followed...
February 23, 1905. The airplane had yet to stay aloft more than a few minutes. The first motion picture theater had not yet opened. Norway and Sweden were peacefully terminating their union. On this particular day, a Chicago lawyer, Paul P. Harris, called three friends to a meeting. What he had in mind was a club that would kindle fellowship among members of the business community. It was an idea that grew from his desire to find within the large city the kind of friendly spirit that he knew in the villages where he had grown up.
The four businessmen didn't decide then and there to call themselves a Rotary club, but their get-together was, in fact, the first meeting of the world's first Rotary club. As they continued to meet, adding others to the group, they rotated their meetings among the members' places of business, hence the name. Soon after the club name was agreed upon, one of the new members suggested a wagon wheel design as the club emblem. It was the precursor of the familiar cogwheel emblem now worn by Rotarians around the world. By the end of 1905, the club had 30 members.
The second Rotary club was formed in 1908 half a continent away from Chicago in San Francisco, California. It was a much shorter leap across San Francisco Bay to Oakland, California, where the third club was formed. Others followed in Seattle, Washington, Los Angeles, California, and New York City, New York. Rotary became international in 1910 when a club was formed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. By 1921 the organization was represented on every continent, and the name Rotary International was adopted in 1922.
"Service Above Self"
The Rotary Club
Meets once each week for breakfast, luncheon or dinner.
Membership is formed on the unique plan of at least one active and representative person from each line of business and profession in the community.
Object of Rotary
The object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise. The ideal of service is fostered; through the development of acquaintance as the opportunity for service; the promotion of high ethical standards in business and professions; through service in one's personal, business, and community life; and the advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace.
Benefits of Rotary
Making the acquaintance of people you ought to know.
Genuine, wholesome good fellowship.
Developing true and helpful friends.
Enlightenment as to other people's work, problems and successes.
Education in methods that increase efficiency.
Stimulation of your desire to be of service to your fellow men, women and society in general.
Obligations of Rotary
To attend meetings regularly.
To pay membership dues.
To serve your club and community when called upon.
To be a big-hearted, broad-minded person - a person of energy and action - a Rotarian.
Four Way Test - the Heart of Rotary
One of the most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics in the world is the Rotary 4-Way Test. It was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy. Taylor looked for a way to save the struggling company mired in depression-caused financial difficulties. He drew up a 24-word code of ethics for all employees to follow in their business and professional lives. The 4-Way Test became the guide for sales, production, advertising and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company is credited to this simple philosophy.
The 4-Way Test was adopted by Rotary in 1943 and has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. Herb Taylor became president of Rotary International in 1954-55.
Of the things we think, say or do?
Is it the Truth?
Is it fair to all Concerned?
Will it build good will and better Friendships?
Will it be beneficial to all Concerned?
Declaration of Rotarians in Businesses and Professions
The Declaration of Rotarians in Businesses and Professions was adopted by the Rotary
Consider my vocation to be another opportunity to serve;
Be faithful to the letter and to the spirit of the ethical codes of my vocation, to the laws of my country, and to the moral standards of my community;
Do all in my power to dignify my vocation and to promote the highest ethical standards in my chosen vocation;
Be fair to my employer, employees, associates, competitors, customers, the public and all those with whom I have a business or professional relationship;
Recognize the honor and respect due to all occupations which are useful to society;
Offer my vocational talents: to provide opportunities for young people, to work for the relief of the special needs of others, and to improve the quality of life in my community;
Adhere to honesty in my advertising and in all representations to the public concerning my business or profession;
Neither seek from nor grant to a fellow Rotarian a privilege or advantage not normally accorded others in a business or professional relationship.