What Is Rotary?
Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. In more than 200 countries worldwide, approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 33,000 Rotary clubs.
Rotary club membership represents a cross-section of the community's business and professional men and women. The world's Rotary clubs meet weekly and are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds.
The main objective of Rotary is service - in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians develop community service projects that address many of today's most critical issues, such as children at risk, poverty and hunger, the environment, illiteracy, and violence. They also support programs for youth, educational opportunities and international exchanges for students, teachers, and other professionals, and vocational and career development.
The Rotary motto is Service Above Self. See www.Rotary.org for more information. Current service efforts are directed toward our 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
Although Rotary clubs develop autonomous service programs, all Rotarians worldwide are united in a campaign for the global eradication of polio. To date, Rotarians worldwide have contributed more than $1 billion toward the eradication of polio, a cause Rotary took on in 1985.
In 1988, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention joined Rotary as spearheading partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. More recently, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has become a major supporter of our efforts. In 2007, the Gates Foundation gave Rotary a $100 million challenge grant for polio eradication, increasing it to $355 million in 2009. Rotary agreed to raise another $200 million in matching funds by 30 June 2012, a goal achieved on January 17, 2012, with Rotary having raised more than $202.6 million.
In addition, Rotary has provided an army of volunteers to promote and assist at national immunization days in polio-endemic countries around the world. As a result of the efforts of Rotarians worldwide, since 1988, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99 percent, from about 350,000 cases annually to fewer than 650 cases reported for 2011.