Rotary International was founded by Paul Harris in Chicago in 1905 as a professional networking association but quickly expanded its purpose to include community service. The name “Rotary” comes from these origins: meetings were “rotated” to each member’s place of business throughout the year. (Today, most clubs hold meetings weekly at a regular location.) It also quickly became an international organization and today boasts over 1.2 million members in over 200 countries. Rotarians are neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who see a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change – across the globe, in their communities and in themselves. The Rotary Foundation has spent decades working to eradicate polio across the globe through its Polio Plus program.
The Rotary Foundation, Clubs, and Rotarians throughout the world are committed to six areas of focus:
- Peace and Conflict Prevention/Resolution
- Disease Prevention and Treatment
- Water and Sanitation
- Maternal and Child Health
- Basic Education and Literacy
- Economic and Community Development