otary International, theworld’s first service club orga-nization, is made up of 33,000clubs in more than 200 countriesand geographical areas. Its membersform a global network of business,professional, and community leaderswho volunteer their time and talentsto serve their communities andthe world.Rotary’s motto, Service Above Self,exemplifies the humanitarian spiritof the organization’s more than 1.2million members.Strong fellowship among Rotar-ians and meaningful community andinternational service projects charac-terize Rotary worldwide.Rotary enjoys a rich and some-times complex tradition and or-ganizational structure, with many programs that can be confusing tonew and even not-so-new members.The following pages offer a basicRotary education — the fundamen-tal knowledge that will make every member better informed aboutRotary and proud to be a Rotarian.
T Orgiztioof Rotr
Rotary is essentially a grassrootsorganization, with most of its serviceefforts being carried out at the clublevel. The district and internationalstructure is designed to support theclubs and help them provide moreservice in their local communitiesand abroad.
Rotarians are members of Rotary clubs, which belong to the globalassociation Rotary International (RI).Each club elects its own officers andenjoys considerable autonomy withinthe framework of Rotary’s constitu-tion and bylaws.
Clubs are grouped into 530 RI dis-tricts, each led by a district governor,who is an officer of RI. The districtadministration, including assistantgovernors and various committees,guides and supports the clubs.
The 19-member RI Board of Direc-tors, which includes the RI presidentand president-elect, meets quarterly to establish policies. Traditionally,the RI president, who is elected an-nually, develops a theme and serviceemphases for the year.
Rotary International is headquar-tered in the Chicago suburb of Evanston, Illinois, USA, with seveninternational offices in Argentina,Australia, Brazil, India, Japan, Korea,and Switzerland. The office for RIin Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI),located in England, serves clubs anddistricts in that region. The Secre-tariat’s chief operating officer is theRI general secretary, who heads a740-member staff working to serveRotarians worldwide.
Bfit dRpoibiliti of Clb Mmbrip
The club is the cornerstone of Rotary,where the most meaningful work iscarried out. All effective Rotary clubsare responsible for four key elements:sustaining or increasing their mem-bership base, participating in serviceprojects that benefit their own com-munity and those in other countries,supporting The Rotary Foundationof RI financially and through pro-gram participation, and developingleaders capable of serving in Rotary beyond the club level.What Rotarians get out of Rotary depends largely on what they putinto it. Many membership require-ments are designed to help membersbecome and remain active partici-pants in their clubs, and enjoy theirRotary experience.
All Rotary clubs share a key mission:to serve their community and thosein need throughout the world. By participating in club service projects,members learn about their club’s in- volvement in local and internationalprojects and can volunteer their
“Thanks to Rotary, myefforts to make theworld a better placeare multiplied. I’m nolonger alone.”
— Fernando AguirrePalacios, Ecuador