For more than 110 years, Rotary members have been addressing challenges around the world.
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.
Paul Harris, Gustavus Loehr, Hiram Shorey, and Silvester Schiele
At the 1917 convention, outgoing Rotary president Arch Klumph proposed setting up an endowment "for the purpose of doing good in the world." That one idea, and an initial contribution of $26.50, set in motion a powerful force that has transformed millions of lives around the globe.
The Rotary Foundation transforms your gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world. During the past 100 years, the Foundation has spent $3 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects. With your help, we can make lives better in your community and around the world.
Why should I donate to The Rotary Foundation? Your donation makes a difference to those who need our help most. More than 90 percent of donations go directly to supporting our service projects around the world.
How does The Rotary Foundation use donations? Our 35,000 clubs carry out sustainable service projects that support our six causes. With donations like yours, we've wiped out 99.9 percent of all polio cases. Your donation also trains future peacemakers, supports clean water, and strengthens local economies.
What impact can one donation have? It can save a life. A child can be protected from polio with as little as 60 cents. Our partners make your donation go even further. For every $1 Rotary commits to polio eradication, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $2.