On 23 February 1905, a 37-year-old Attorney Paul Harris began to change the World. He conceived an organisation that has now spanned over 115 years.
So started the Rotary Club of Chicago. It was three years before the second Rotary Club in San Francisco was formed, and then other Clubs were started in cities across the United States before, in 1910, Rotary moved into Canada.
It was 1911 when Rotary crossed the Atlantic and moved into Dublin and in the same year the London Rotary Club was created. In 1917 the Cardiff Rotary Club became the first Club in Wales.
Since those humble beginnings Rotary International has become a global network of service volunteers. It is now the world's largest service organisation for Business and Professional people with some 1,180,000 members across 166 Countries. Rotary is an organisation for both men and women.
Within Great Britain & Ireland (Rotary GB&I) there are over 40,000 Rotarians in over 1,800 clubs helping those in need both locally and internationally and working towards world understanding and peace.
Rotary runs the largest non Government Scholarship Scheme in the world through the Rotary Foundation. This gives more than 21 million every year to educational and humanitarian programmes that promote international understanding.
Perhaps the greatest testimony to Rotary over the last 115 years is the continuance of its own historic principle that demands membership of Rotary is a privilege, an opportunity and a responsibility which demands honest and efficient service and thoughtfulness to ones fellow men and women around the world.
It is this declaration that will ensure that Rotary continues for another 100 years.
It’s a fulfilling role, and Rotarians can get involved as much or as little as their time will allow.
Our clubs are based in local communities where members meet on a regular basis to enjoy friendship, networking and to plan projects that will benefit the lives of others. Clubs utilise the skills, expertise and dedication of their members to help improve the lives of people in communities both at home and abroad.
Rotary clubs worldwide have been working with partner organisations since 1985 to End Polio in the world.