About Rotary

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 We are 1.2 million neighbors, friends, and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world.



Our differing occupations, cultures, and countries give us a unique perspective. Our shared passion for service helps us accomplish the remarkable.

What makes us different?

Our distinct point of view and approach gives us unique advantages:

  • We see differently: Our multidisciplinary perspective helps us see challenges in unique ways.
  • We think differently: We apply leadership and expertise to social issues—and find unique solutions.
  • We act responsibly: Our passion and perseverance create lasting change.
  • We make a difference at home and around the world: Our members can be found in your community and across the globe.

How do we work?

Our impact starts with our members—people who work tirelessly with their clubs to solve some of our communities' toughest challenges. Their efforts are supported by Rotary International, our member association, and The Rotary Foundation, which turns generous donations into grants that fund the work of our members and partners around the world. Rotary is led by our members—responsible leaders who help to carry forward our organization's mission and values in their elected roles.

How did we get here?

We've been making history and bringing our world closer together for over 100 years. Since forming in 1905, we've taken on some of the world's toughest challenges and helped a wide range of international and service organizations—from the UN to Easter Seals—get started.

How do we use our funds?

Responsible leadership means more than just doing good work—it means making the most out of every donation we receive.


Our Structure

Rotary is made up of three parts: at the heart of Rotary are our clubs, that are supported by Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.

Rotary clubs bring together dedicated individuals to exchange ideas, build relationships, and take action.

Rotary International supports Rotary clubs worldwide by coordinating global programs, campaigns, and initiatives.

The Rotary Foundation uses generous donations to fund projects by Rotarians and our partners in communities around the world. As a nonprofit, all of the Foundation's funding comes from voluntary contributions made by Rotarians and friends who share our vision of a better world.

Together, Rotary clubs, Rotary International, and The Rotary Foundation work to make lasting improvements in our communities and around the world.

Our partners

When Rotary partners with other organizations, we multiply the impact made by either group on their own. We call this “the Rotary effect.” From local food banks to global humanitarian organizations, we work with a wide variety of partners, including:

Looking to partner with a local club, or even the global organization?

Our leadership

What does it take to be a leader with Rotary? Integrity, expertise, and a commitment to service—all the qualities that make Rotary members extraordinary. We look for these qualities in all our leadership positions, including our elected President and Board of Directors, who lead Rotary International, our appointed Trustee Chair and Board of Trustees, who run The Rotary Foundation, and our General Secretary and executive staff, who provide long-term oversight of the organization. Members of each Rotary club elect their own leadership.

Meet our president


Ron D. Burton - Rotary International President 2013-14

Elected for the 2013-14 term, our president, Ron D. Burton, has been a member of the Rotary Club of Norman, Oklahoma, USA, since 1979. Obviously, Burton is passionate about Rotary or he wouldn’t be where he is today. “Rotary isn’t like anything else in our lives. It offers incredible potential to change lives, to help others, to be better people.” Burton’s equally passionate about involving the family in Rotary. Early in his Rotary career, Burton and his wife, Jetta, took their two children to meetings and conventions. “It opened their eyes, it opened their minds, and it opened their hearts.” Burton believes that if you get your family involved in Rotary, “it expands to the world, that’s the family of Rotary—that’s community service.”

Meet our trustee chair


Dong Kurn (D.K.) Lee - Rotary Foundation Trustee chair 2013-14

Dong Kurn Lee serves as trustee chair of The Rotary Foundation for 2013–14. Lee, who is a member of the Rotary Club of Seoul Hangang, grew up in post-war Korea. He saw firsthand how international aid can help people who are suffering. And he wanted to return the favor. “Now our economy is booming, and we want to give back some of what was given us. That’s why Rotary in Korea is growing.” As trustee chair, Lee hopes to instill the same spirit of pride and giving he feels about Rotary and The Rotary Foundation in all Rotary members: “The greater our Foundation’s resources, the greater our ability to meet the needs of our communities.”

Meet our general secretary


John Hewko - Rotary International General Secretary

John Hewko has served as Rotary International’s general secretary since 2011. For many people, managing a staff of 800 in eight offices worldwide would be enough in itself. But Hewko, a charter member of the Rotary Club of Kyiv, Ukraine, is so committed to Rotary’s mission that he takes things a step further. He’s immunized children against polio in India, represented Rotary at the World Economic Forum, and bicycled 111 miles to raise money for polio eradication during both the 2012 and 2013 El Tour de Tucson in Arizona. Hewko and Rotarians raised $730,000 for polio eradication during this year’s ride, which was dedicated to Hewko. “It was an incredible honor to accept the 2013 Dedication Award on behalf of Rotary and friends.”




1,218,199 Rotarians, in 34,282 clubs, in more than 200 countries (as of 12-31-11) 


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.



 Rotarians worldwide are committed to high standards in their professional, community, and personal lives. 

 These high standards are best exemplified in the following:


THE FOUR-WAY TEST of the things we think, say or do

1.   Is it the TRUTH?

2.  Is it FAIR to all concerned?


4.   Is it BENEFICIAL to all concerned?

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With its motto of Service Above Self, Rotarians focus their activities in


 CLUB SERVICE - activities that support their club, building a strong club and contributing to a spirit of fellowship,    
VOCATIONAL SERVICE - activities that support excellence in their own vocations and recognize the value of all worthy business and professional endeavors
  COMMUNITY SERVICE - activities that respond to the needs of the local community and its residents, , INTERNATIONAL SERVICE  - activities that promote and support international understanding and peace.  NEW GENERATIONS -  activities that recognize the positive change implemented by youth and young adults through leadership activities, involvement in community and international service projects, and exchange programs that enhance and foster world peace and understanding.  

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Also see our "Joining Rotary" site page