|Today Rotary International is a world-wide movement devoted to community and
humanitarian service. There are currently 31,610 clubs and over 1.2 million members
globally. The first club in Australia was established in Melbourne in 1921. Originally
an organisation for men, Rotary has admitted women as members since 1989.|
The Rotary movement began on the 23 February 1905 in Chicago by founder Paul
Harris, a lawyer. The name was derived from rotating meetings among members' offices.
Rotary's commitment to community service began with its first project - a public lavatory.
Rotary International is one of the world's largest charitable foundations. This work
began with the Rotary Foundation in 1928. The Foundation promotes humanitarian
grants and educational programs offering hope and understanding for people around
the world. The organisation also has strong ties with UNESCO.
Rotary International is the largest private sector contributor to the world polio
eradication program. An initiative called PolioPlus was launched in 1985.
The organisation also continues its role in international peace keeping activities which
began immediately after World War II and its members act as delegates and advisers to
the United Nations. The motto of Rotary International is "service above self".