Our founder

“Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves.”
—Paul P. Harris 

Food Bank Feb 2015

Our 1.2 million-member organization started with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member.

mission & vision

To provide business, professional, and community leaders an opportunity for service to others in order to benefit our community and to promote high ethical standards, fellowship, and goodwill worldwide.

recent programs

More than 21 million children qualify for free or reduced-price meals through the National School Lunch Program and the National School Breakfast Program. For many of these children, school meals may be the only meals they eat. What happens when they go home over the weekend?.

The BackPack Program has been helping children get the nutritious and easy-to-prepare food  they need to get enough to eat on the weekends. Today, bags of food are assembled at our local food bank and then distributed to local children at the end of the week. With your help, we can provide more food to more children in need

Our ongoing commitment

Rotarians have not only been present for major events in history—we’ve been a part of them. From the beginning, three key traits have remained strong throughout Rotary:

We’re truly international. Only 16 years after being founded, Rotary had clubs on six continents. Today we’re working together from around the globe both digitally and in-person to solve some of our world’s most challenging problem.

We persevere in tough times. During WWII, Rotary clubs in Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Japan were forced to disband. Despite the risks, many continued to meet informally and following the war’s end, Rotary members joined together to rebuild their clubs and their countries.

Our commitment to service is ongoing. We began our fight against polio in 1979 with a project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines. By 2012, only three countries remain polio-endemic—down from 125 in 1988.

Notable Rotarians
Rotarians are your neighbors, your community leaders and some of the world’s greatest history-makers:

Warren G. Harding, U.S. president
Jean Sibelius, Finnish composer
Dr. Charles H. Mayo, co-founder of Mayo Clinic
Guglielmo Marconi, Italian inventor of the wireless radio and Nobel laureate
Thomas Mann, German novelist and Nobel laureate
Friedrich Bergius, German chemist and Nobel laureate
Admiral Richard E. Byrd, American explorer
Jan Masaryk, foreign minister of Czechoslovakia
H.E. Soleiman Frangieh, president of Lebanon
Dianne Feinstein, U.S. senator
Manny Pacquaio, Filipino world-champion boxer and congressman
Richard Lugar, U.S. senator
Frank Borman, American astronaut
Edgar A. Guest, American poet and journalist
Sir Harry Lauder, Scottish entertainer
Franz Lehar, Austrian composer
Lennart Nilsson, Swedish photographer
James Cash Penney, founder of JC Penney Co.
Carlos Romulo, UN General Assembly president
Sigmund Sternberg, English businessman and philanthropist

Ready to make history with us? Get involved. .