Rotary is an organization
of business and professional leaders united worldwide, who
provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards
in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the
There are approximately 1.222 million Rotarians,
members of more than 32,596 Rotary clubs in 529 districts in 168 countries. (July 31, 2006)
the auspices of Rotary
International and The
Rotary Foundation, Rotarians around the world participate
in and administer a broad range of humanitarian and educational programs and
activities designed to improve the human condition and
advance the organization's ultimate goal of world understanding
For more information about the Rotary Club of Welland, check out our brochure.
February 23, 1905. The airplane had yet to stay aloft
more than a few minutes. The first motion picture theater
had not yet opened. Norway and Sweden were peacefully terminating
their union. On this particular day, a Chicago lawyer, Paul
P. Harris, called three friends to a meeting. What he had
in mind was a club that would kindle fellowship among members
of the business community. It was an idea that grew from his
desire to find within the large city the kind of friendly
spirit that he knew in the villages where he had grown up.
The four businessmen didn't decide
then and there to call themselves a Rotary club, but their
get-together was, in fact, the first meeting of the world's
first Rotary club. As they continued to meet, adding others
to the group, they rotated their meetings among the members'
places of business, hence the name. Soon after the club name
was agreed upon, one of the new members suggested a wagon
wheel design as the club emblem. It was the precursor of the
familiar cogwheel emblem now worn by Rotarians around the
world. By the end of 1905, the club had 30 members.
The second Rotary club was formed
in 1908 half a continent away from Chicago in San Francisco,
California. It was a much shorter leap across San Francisco
Bay to Oakland, California, where the third club was formed.
Others followed in Seattle, Washington, Los Angeles, California,
and New York City, New York. Rotary became international in
1910 when a club was formed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
By 1921 the organization was represented on every continent,
and the name Rotary International was adopted in 1922.
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
FOURTH. The advancement of international
understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship
of business and professional persons united in the ideal
Declaration of Rotarians
in Businesses and Professions was adopted by the Rotary International Council on Legislation
in 1989 to provide more specific guidelines for the high ethical
standards called for in the Object of Rotary:
As a Rotarian engaged in a business or
profession, I am expected to:
- Consider my vocation to be another
opportunity to serve;
- Be faithful to the letter and to the
spirit of the ethical codes of my vocation, to the laws
of my country, and to the moral standards of my community;
- Do all in my power to dignify my vocation
and to promote the highest ethical standards in my chosen
- Be fair to my employer, employees,
associates, competitors, customers, the public and all those
with whom I have a business or professional relationship;
- Recognize the honor and respect due
to all occupations which are useful to society;
- Offer my vocational talents: to provide
opportunities for young people, to work for the relief of
the special needs of others, and to improve the quality
of life in my community;
- Adhere to honesty in my advertising
and in all representations to the public concerning my business
- Neither seek from nor grant to a fellow
Rotarian a privilege or advantage not normally accorded
others in a business or professional relationship.
The main objective of Rotary is service
- in the community, the workplace, and throughout the world.
Rotarians foster and encourage the ideal of "service above
self" through the betterment of business and professional
ethics, promote international understanding and goodwill,
and provide humanitarian service.
Rotary International has a decentralized
structure, with local clubs that are autonomous and community-based.
Each service club works to improve the quality of life at
home and around the world.
Rotary members have the collective
expertise and skills to implement dynamic and sustainable
programs in the areas of hunger, poverty, and illiteracy,
with particular emphasis on children, the aging, and the disabled.
The 4-Way Test was adopted
by Rotary in 1943 and has been translated into more than a
hundred languages and published in thousands of ways...
"Of the things we think, say or do:
1. Is it the truth?
2. Is it fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?"