Rotary started in Chicago USA in 1905 and there are now (December 2001) 1,188,492 Rotarians in 30,149 clubs in 163 countries whose members include all political religious and cultural groups.
Rotary was not started as a fund raising organisation and members still try to give personal service wherever possible. Now that so many community needs are served by government and charity organisations we raise funds to help the experts.
The Aims and Objects of Rotary include;
Encouraging the highest possible standards in business and professions.
Using businesses to improve society both locally and internationally.
Serving society through personal service
Working for international peace through world understanding and service.
Rotarians should not use their membership to promote their business interests.
Rotary International has one of the largest charitable foundations in the world. Its main focus is on humanitarian projects in the following areas:
- Fighting disease and providing clean water
- Saving mothers & children
- Supporting education
- Growing local economies
- Promoting peace
While it provides grants for individual Rotary clubs, it particularly promotes:
Global Grants: These are made to Rotary Clubs in two or more countries one of which runs a humanitarian project in its country supported by the other clubs.
Packaged Grants are promoted directly by the Foundation in partnership with major organisations and working through Rotary Clubs. Polio Plus is the prime example in which RI, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organisation are all working to eradicate Polio from the world.