—PAUL P. HARRIS, Wisconsin native

Rotary was started by Paul Harris in Chicago in 1903.  What started with a few businessmen has grown into a group of over 1.2 million people around the world.  What started with the simple idea that people should act honestly and in ways that will benefit others is now an organization built upon those simple ideas that works to do good for our communities, locally, nationally and globally.
Rotarians around the world are committed to make the world better than we have found it.  We focus on the areas of 
  • Peacebuilding and conflict prevention
  • Disease prevention and treatment
  • Water, sanitation and hygiene
  • Maternal and child health
  • Basic education and literacy
  • Community economic development.
Rotary is committed to making sure polio never strikes down another person.  When the effort began, with a Rotary club in Ohio, polio was a major problem in over 125 countries.  As of 2019, it only exists in two countries.  
Because Rotary is not political and not associated with any government, we can get things done quickly and efficiently.  There is a level of trust in Rotary that just does not exist in many other organizations.  When Rotarians show up to help, everyone knows we are there to help and that we won't stop until the job is done.
Rotary has grown over the years because we have changed with the times.  When it began, Rotary did not include women.  Since that changed in 1989, women have become a moving force in Rotary.  Rotary began in the United States.  Over the years, we have grown to include people of all nations, all religions and all ethnicities.  Rotary has a place for everyone.  We have groups for people as young as high school and college and as old as - well, as old as you are!!  

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

As a global network that strives to build a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change, Rotary values diversity and celebrates the contributions of people of all backgrounds, regardless of their age, ethnicity, race, color, abilities, religion, socioeconomic status, culture, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.


Rotary welcomes people of all backgrounds,  cultures, experiences, and identities.


Rotary strives for the fair treatment, opportunity, and advancement of all Rotary participants.


Rotary is working to create experiences where all people feel welcomed, respected, and valued.


A top priority for Rotary is growing and diversifying our membership to make sure we reflect the communities we serve.

We're creating an organization that is more open and inclusive, fair to all, builds goodwill, and benefits our communities. We want people with differing perspectives and ideas who will help Rotary take action to create lasting change in communities around the world.

Through Rotary, you'll find unique opportunities to get involved. Everyone is welcome in Rotary.



Rotarians are your neighbors, your community leaders and some of the world’s greatest history-makers: 
  • U.S. Presidents: Warren G. Harding, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Gerald Ford
  • Neil Armstrong, first man to walk on the Moon
  • Dr. Charles H. Mayo, co-founder of Mayo Clinic
  • Guglielmo Marconi, Italian inventor of the wireless radio and Nobel laureate
  • Harlan "Colonel" Sanders, founder of KFC
  • Sam Walton, founder of Walmart
  • Admiral Richard E. Byrd, American explorer
  • Dianne Feinstein, U.S. senator
  • Manny Pacquaio, Filipino world-champion boxer and congressman
  • Winston Churchill, former Prime Minister of Englad
  • Thomas Edison, inventer
  • James Cash Penney, founder of JC Penney Co.
Ready to make history with us? Get involved.