San Diego County Rotary Links

Rotary International


  • 1.2 million business, professional, and community leaders
  • More than 200 countries and geographical areas
  • Providing humanitarian service
  • Building goodwill and peace in the world

Rotary is a global network of community volunteers. Rotary members are business, professional, and community leaders who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.  Over 32,000 Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas initiate service projects to address today’s challenges, including illiteracy, disease, hunger, poverty, lack of clean water, and environmental concerns.


Rotary clubs participate in a broad range of humanitarian, intercultural, and educational activities designed to improve the human condition. Rotary’s humanitarian grants support club projects that provide health care and medical supplies, clean water, food, job training, youth develop¬ment, and education to millions of people in need, particularly in the developing world. In addition, Rotary provides more than 200 grants each year to fund the work of Rotary volunteers, who travel to parts of the world where their technical expertise and knowl¬edge are most needed to alleviate hardship and solve problems.


Rotary builds understanding through international scholarships, exchange programs, and humanitarian grants. The Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution is an innovative program designed to educate tomorrow’s peacemakers.  Hosted at seven leading universities around the globe, the program funds 60 Rotary World Peace Fellows for graduate studies in international relations, conflict studies, and negotiation — providing promising leaders the tools to further the cause of peace.

The Rotary Peace and Conflict Studies Program in Thailand offers mid- to upper-level professionals a short-term alternative for training in conflict resolution and mediation strategies.  Since 1947, some 35,000 students from 110 countries have studied abroad as Rotary Ambassadorial Scholars. Rotary’s Group Study Exchange has helped more than 45,000 young professionals explore their career fields in other countries. And each year, some 9,000 secondary-school students experience life in another country through Rotary Youth Exchange.

Polio Eradication

In 1985, Rotary launched PolioPlus, an ambitious program to immunize the world’s children against polio. Rotary’s grassroots leadership, vol¬unteer support, and initial funding for vaccine provided the catalyst for the World Health Assembly’s resolu¬tion in 1988 to eradicate polio worldwide. Spearheading partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative are the World Health Organization, Rotary International, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF.
As a result of this partnership’s efforts, polio cases have dropped by 99 percent since 1988 and the world stands on the threshold of eradicating the disease. Rotary members have given more than US$650 million and countless hands-on volunteer hours to this critical effort.
The savings to be realized from polio eradication is potentially as high as $1.5 billion per year — funds that could be used to address other public health priorities. The savings in human suffering will be immeasurable.


Paul P. Harris formed the world’s first service club, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905. More than a century later, Rotary remains dedicated to improving communities, relations between peoples, and world peace and understanding. Rotary’s principal motto is Service Above Self.  During World War II, Rotary members became increasingly involved in promoting international under¬standing. A Rotary conference held in London in 1942 was a precursor to the development of UNESCO, and 49 Rotary members served as delegates and consultants at the founding of the United Nations in 1945.  Today, Rotary holds the highest consultative status given by the United Nations to nongovernmental organizations. In this capacity, Rotary has a voice within the UN system, allowing access to its people and resources worldwide.


Belonging to a Rotary club gives men and women an enjoyable and organized way to make a contribution to their community. Rotary members meet weekly to plan club, community, and international service activities. By using their skills and expertise globally, members also enhance their professional network, career development, and cross-cultural understanding.  Rotary clubs are nonreligious, nonpolitical, and open to every race, culture, and creed. Members represent a cross-section of local business, professional, and community leaders.

To learn more about a Rotary club in your community, visit or contact your local club.