About Rotary

Rotary is the world’s first service club established in 1905.


The main objective of Rotary is service in the community and throughout the world. Rotarians build goodwill and peace, provide humanitarian service, and encourage high ethical standards in all vocations. The Rotary motto is “Service Above Self.”



  • The second Avenue of Service has been integral to the spirit of Rotary ever since the first Rotary Club organized a committee on business methods.
  • Delegates at the 1912 Rotary Convention adopted the motto, “He Profits Most Who Serves Best”, introduced by Arthur Frederick Sheldon, a member of the Chicago Rotary club.
  • The Rotary Code of Ethics, adopted in 1915, signified Rotary’s leadership in fighting corruption and unfair business practices.
  • In 1943, Rotary International’s Board of Directors made “The Four-Way Test” an official component of the vocational service ideal.
  • Vocational service is also a key part of the Object of Rotary:
    • High ethical standard in businesses
    • Worthiness of all useful occupations
    • Each occupation an opportunity to serve society
  • For the first decades in Rotary’s history, the vocational service concept focused on Rotarian’s personal contributions in their own work places.
  • In the 1960s, Rotary clubs used the case study method to promote vocational service and explore business and ethical dilemmas in club meeting and assemblies.
  • Group Study Exchanges – combining vocational service and international understanding – were introduced in 1965 and remain one of the Rotary Foundation’s most popular programs.
  • In 1987, the Vocational Service Committee – reconvened after 40 years – made vocational service the individual and club’s responsibility within the workplace and the community.
  • The Declaration of Rotarians in Businesses and Professions, adopted in 1989, spells out the high ethical standards referred to in the Object of Rotary and emphasizes Rotarian’s obligation to use their vocations to improve the quality of life in their communities.
    A Century of Vocational Services (Continued)
  • Rotarians continue to put ideals into action as they help others in an ever expanding array of vocational service projects, including the advancement of literacy, the alleviation of poverty, and the improvement of health.