As the world's first service club, the Rotary Club of Chicago, was formed in 1905 by Paul P. Harris, an attorney who wished to capture in a professional club the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of his youth. The Rotary name derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among members' offices.

 

As Rotary grew, its mission expanded beyond serving club members' professional and social interests. Rotarians began pooling their resources and contributing their talents to help serve communities in need. The organization's dedication to this ideal is best expressed in its motto: Service Above Self.

 

Every Rotarian is given a pin that says, "Rotary International."  Every Rotarian is welcome - even encouraged - to attend any of the 31,603 clubs in 200 countries.  This means instant friends in both your local and world communities.

 

Around the world, practically in every religion, country, culture, race, creed, political persuasion, language, color and ethnic identity is found in Rotary.  It is a cross section of the world's most prominent citizens from every background.  Rotarians become aware of their cultures and learn to love and work with people everywhere. 

 

Founded on the principles of friendship and business development, Rotarians help each other and collectively help others.  There is no "Official Creed" in Rotary, no secret meeting or rituals.  It is an open society of honest men and women who simply believe in helping others.  Rotary provides the chance to do something for somebody else and to sense the self-fulfillment that comes in the process and return of that satisfaction to one's own life.