What is Rotary?


Rotary International logo

Mission of Rotary International
The vision of Rotary International
The purpose of Rotary

The objects of Rotary
The 'Rotary four-way test

Rotary clubs
Rotary districts
Rotary zones
Rotary Foundation

Rotary Statistics

Rotary International, the world's first service organization, is made up of over 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas. Its members form a global network of business, professional and community leaders who volunteer their time and talents to serve their communities and the world.

Rotary's motto, Service Above Self, exemplifies the humanitarian spirit of the organization's more than 1.2 million members. Strong fellowship among Rotarians and meaningful community and international service projects characterize Rotary worldwide.

The mission of Rotary International

The mission of Rotary International, a worldwide association of Rotary clubs, is to provide service to others, promote high ethical standards, and to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional and community leaders.

Rotary is an organisation of business, professional and community 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 33,976 clubs and over 1.22 million members worldwide.

A person can contact a Rotary club to inquire about membership and can join if invited.

The vision of Rotary International

The vision is universal recognition for its commitment to 'Service above Self' (Rotary's best-known motto) to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace.

'They profit most who serve best' is rotary's secondary motto.

The purpose of Rotary

The purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.

Rotary is a secular organization open to all persons regardless of race, colour, creed, gender, or political preference. It is open to business and professional leaders of all ages (18 and upwards) and economic status.

The objects of Rotary

The objects of Rotary are to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

  • The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service
  • 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
  • The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian's personal, business, and community life
  • The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

The 'Rotary four-way test'

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The test sets a standard for ethics in business management that is used to see if a planned action is compatible with the Rotary objectives and spirit:

  • 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?

Rotary Clubs

The Rotary Club is the basic unit of Rotary activity, and each club determines its own membership. Find a Rotary Club

Each club usually meet weekly, usually for breakfast, lunch or dinner on a weekday in a regular location as a social event. At meetings, Rotarians can discuss club business, hear from guest speakers and use the opportunity to organize work on their service goals.

Each club conducts various service projects within its local community, and participates in special projects involving other clubs in the local district, and occasionally a special project in a "sister club" in another nation. Most clubs also hold regular social events.

The governing body of the club is the Club Board, consisting of the club president (who serves as the Board chair), a president-elect, club secretary, club treasurer, and several Club Board directors. In the majority of clubs, the immediate past president is also a member of the Board. The president usually appoints the directors to serve as chairs of the major club committees, including those responsible for club service, vocational service, community service, youth service, and international service.

Clubs elect their own president and officers among its active members for a one-year term.

Clubs enjoy considerable autonomy within the framework of the standard constitution and the constitution and bylaws of Rotary International.

Rotary Districts

Rotary districts comprise a nmuber of clubs.

Woden Rotary is part of Rotary District 9710, centred on Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory.

District 9710 website gives details of the District - role, administration, activities, clubs

Rotary District 9710 has 48 clubs - 17 Clubs in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and 31 others within the surrounding areas of southeastern New South Wales (NSW).

Rotary Zones

Rotary zones comprise and number of districts.

Rotary District 9710 is part of Rotary International Zone 8 covering Australia, PNG, Timor Leste and the South West Pacific.

Map of Rotary International Zone 8 showing districts

Rotary FoundationThe Rotary Foundation logo

The Rotary Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation that supports the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programs.

The Foundation is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.

The Foundation was created in 1917 as an endowment fund for Rotary 'to do good in the world'. It has grown from an initial contribution of US$ 26.50 only to more than US$ 55 million. It is one of the largest and most prestigious international fellowship programs in the world.

Last modified JW 22 December 2011Go to the top of the page