Programs & Initiatives
Rotary has been bringing the world closer since the very start. Chicago lawyer Paul P. Harris formed the Rotary Club of Chicago in 1905, with the vision of a service organization where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Sixteen years later, Rotary had clubs on six continents!
The strength and determination of Rotary members carried the organization through World War 2, when clubs in Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain, and Japan were forced to disband but continued to meet in secret. The size and influence of Rotary also helped in founding many service and international organizations, including the UN and Easter Seals. In 1979, Rotary committed to the fight against polio with a program to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines. By 2012, only three countries remained polio-endemic – down from 125 in 1988.
Ongoing passion and perseverance has created positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world. For 2016, the Rotary Foundation was awarded the title of World’s Outstanding Foundation by the Association of Fundraising Professionals