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Who We Are

Rotary is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who come together to make positive, lasting change in communities at home and abroad.

Solving real problems takes real commitment and vision. For more than 110 years, Rotary members have used their passion, energy, and intelligence to take action on sustainable projects. From literacy and peace to water and health, we are always working to better our world, and we stay committed to the end.

Learn more about our structure and our foundation.

Our motto: Service Above Self

For more than 110 years, our "Guiding Principles" have been the foundation of our values: service, fellowship, diversity, integrity, and leadership.

What we do

Rotary members believe that we have a shared responsibility to take action on our world’s most persistent issues. Our 35,000+ clubs work together to:

  • Promote peace
  • Fight disease
  • Provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene
  • Save mothers and children
  • Support education
  • Grow local economies 
  • Guiding Principles

These principles have been developed over the years to provide Rotarians with a strong, common purpose and direction. They serve as a foundation for our relationships with each other and the action we take in the world.

Object of Rotary

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.

The Four-Way Test

The Four-Way Test is a nonpartisan and nonsectarian ethical guide for Rotarians to use for their personal and professional relationships. The test has been translated into more than 100 languages, and Rotarians recite it at club meetings:
Of the things we think, say or do

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

Avenues of Service

We channel our commitment to service at home and abroad through five Avenues of Service, which are the foundation of club activity.

  • Club Service focuses on making clubs strong. A thriving club is anchored by strong relationships and an active membership development plan.
  • Vocational Service calls on every Rotarian to work with integrity and contribute their expertise to the problems and needs of society. Learn more in An Introduction to Vocational Service and the Code of Conduct.
  • Community Service encourages every Rotarian to find ways to improve the quality of life for people in their communities and to serve the public interest. Learn more in Communities in Action: A Guide to Effective Projects.
  • International Service exemplifies our global reach in promoting peace and understanding. We support this service avenue by sponsoring or volunteering on international projects, seeking partners abroad, and more.
  • Youth Service recognizes the importance of empowering youth and young professionals through leadership development programs such as RotaractInteractRotary Youth Leadership Awards, and Rotary Youth Exchange.

What Does a Rotary Club Do?


Someone asked me that question once,

And I stood there feeling like a dunce!

What do our Rotarians do!

I hemmed and hawed a time or two,

Then said, "We gather for a meal

And ask each other how we feel. 

Get our food and have some fun,

Chattering till the meal is done. 

We get club business out of the way

And have the program for the day,

Some are good.and some are great!

And. some run on till fairly late,

"But then my friend, he turned to go,

"That wasn't," he said, "What I wanted to Know."


I've thought a lot about this since.

What could I possibly say to convince

My Friend that Rotary does more than meet..

Greet.Take a Seat.then.Eat? 

Well, this is how I would  make amends

B y explaining Rotary to my friends.


5 million children are healthy today

In lands both near and far away

Who otherwise might be lame.or dead

From polio.that childhood dread!

And hungry children are being fed

Through better ways to grow their bread.

Rotarians in many lands are teaching,

And doctors of all kinds are reaching 

Out to heal the sick and lame

With little thought for wealth or fame,

And men and women are meeting the need 

To teach little children how to read. 

Youth come here from every land   

In answer to our outstretched hand

To learn to know us and know our ways

Bringing peace and friendship to all our days.

And clubs are formed in every nation,

For fellowship and conversation,

For education and information,

And practicing the cultivation

Of peace on earth, good will to all

And a speedy end to every wall

Which separates the folk of earth

And keeps us from seeing each other's worth.


A hundred things there are to say

About what  Rotarians do each day,

In every land and every town

To lift someone when they are down

And help each other along the way.

Service Above Self.What more can I say.


Well, if my Friend should ask again,

I'll have an answer for him  then!



Jack Matrow, Ellinwood Rotary Club

Ellinwood , Kansas

February 10, 1997