We are 1.2 million neighbors, friends, and community leaders who come together to create positive, lasting change in our communities and around the world.
We’ve been making history and bringing our world closer together for over 100 years. Since forming in 1905, we’ve taken on some of the world’s toughest challenges and helped a wide range of international and service organizations—from the UN to Easter Seals—get started.
Our commitment to service is ongoing. We began our fight against polio in 1979 with a project to immunize 6 million children in the Philippines. By 2012, only three countries remain polio-endemic—down from 125 in 1988.
How Does Rotary Work?
Our impact starts with our members—people who work tirelessly with their clubs to solve some of our communities’ toughest challenges. Their efforts are supported by Rotary International, our member association, and The Rotary Foundation, which turns generous donations into grants that fund the work of our members and partners around the world. Rotary is led by our members—responsible leaders who help to carry forward our organization’s mission and values in their elected roles.
Rotary is made up of three parts: at the heart of Rotary are our clubs, that are supported by Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.
Rotary clubs bring together dedicated individuals to exchange ideas, build relationships, and take action.
Rotary International supports Rotary clubs worldwide by coordinating global programs, campaigns, and initiatives.
The Rotary Foundation uses generous donations to fund projects by Rotarians and our partners in communities around the world. As a nonprofit, all of the Foundation’s funding comes from voluntary contributions made by Rotarians and friends who share our vision of a better world.
Together, Rotary clubs, Rotary International, and The Rotary Foundation work to make lasting improvements in our communities and around the world.
What Causes Does Rotary Support?
We have identified specific causes to target to maximize our local and global impact. At the same time, we understand that each community has its own unique needs and concerns.
Through global grants and other resources, we help clubs focus their service efforts in the following areas.
Today, 42 million people are displaced by armed conflict or persecution. Through our partnerships with several leading universities, Rotary Peace Fellows develop the skills to strengthen peace efforts, train local leaders to prevent and mediate conflict, and support long-term peace building in areas affected by conflict. We provide up to 100 peace fellowships per year at Rotary Peace Centers.
More than 100 million people are pushed into poverty each year because of medical costs. We aim to improve and expand access to low-cost and free health care in underdeveloped areas. Our members educate and mobilize communities to help prevent the spread of major diseases such as polio, HIV/AIDS, and malaria. Many of our projects ensure that medical training facilities are located where the workforce lives.
PROVIDING CLEAN WATER
More than 2.5 billion people lack access to adequate sanitation facilities. At least 3,000 children die each day from diarrheal diseases caused by unsafe water. Our projects give communities the ability to develop and maintain sustainable water and sanitation systems and support studies related to water and sanitation.
SAVING MOTHERS AND CHILDREN
At least 7 million children under the age of five die each year due to malnutrition, poor health care, and inadequate sanitation. To help reduce this rate, we provide immunizations and antibiotics to babies, improve access to essential medical services, and support trained health care providers for mothers and their children. Our projects ensure sustainability by empowering the local community to take ownership of health care training programs.
Sixty-seven million children worldwide have no access to education and more than 775 million people over the age of 15 are illiterate. Our goal is to strengthen the capacity of communities to support basic education and literacy, reduce gender disparity in education, and increase adult literacy.
GROWING LOCAL ECONOMIES
Nearly 1.4 billion employed people live on less than $1.25 a day. We carry out service projects that enhance economic and community development and develop opportunities for decent and productive work for young and old. We also help strengthen local entrepreneurs and community leaders, particularly women, in impoverished communities.