Rotary Fun Facts


First Project of World's First Service Club

The first service project of the first Rotary Club was the installation of public toilets in Chicago in 1917. This project made Rotary the World's First Service Club.

Rotary's primary motto is "Service Above Self."

There's a secondary motto: "One profits most who serves best."

There are more than 1.2 Million Rotarians all over the world in more than 35,000 Rotary Clubs in more than 200 countries in all geographic areas.

The first women joined Rotary in 1987. Today, more than 196,000 women are members of Rotary International.

The Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarships are the world's largest, privately-funded scholarships.

The first Rotaract Club was formed in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Rotarians in the United States make up 28 percent of all Rotarians worldwide.

The country of Nauru has the least number of Rotarians of any country in the world, 11. Formerly known as Pleasant Island, Naura is in Micronesia in the South Pacific. Its nearest neighbor is Banaba Island in Kiribati, 182 miles to the east.

The Rotary emblem was printed on a commemorative stamp for the first time in 1931, at the time of the Vienna Convention.

Rotary became bilingual in 1916, when it organized a non-English-speaking Club in Cuba.

Arch Klumph established the "Rotary Endowment Fund" in 1917, when the Kansas City, MO Club donated $26.50.  In 1928, it became The Rotary Foundation.

In 1929, The Rotary Foundation made its first gift, $500, to the International Society for Crippled Children.

Rotary first adopted the name "Rotary International" in 1922, when the name was changed from the International Association of Rotary Clubs.

Rotary first established Paul Harris Fellowships in 1957, for contributors of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation.

In 1968, the first Rotary Club banner to orbit the moon was carried by astronaut Frank Borman, a member of the Houston Space Center Rotary Club.

The first Rotary convention was in Chicago in 1910. There were 16 Rotary Clubs.

The first head of state to address a Rotary convention was President Warren G. Harding in 1923, in St. Louis.

In 1979, Rotary began a project to immunize six million children against polio in the Philippines. This led to Rotary making polio eradication its top priority.

In 1988, Rotary began the PolioPlus campaign with an initial fundraising pledge of $120 million.

Providing vitamin A supplements during polio immunization has averted an estimated 1.5 million childhood deaths since 1998 – the "plus" in PolioPlus.

Rotary's fiscal year began the day after its conventions until 1913.  Starting in 1913, it begins on July 1st.

The first Rotary Boys' Week was held in New York City in May 1920, by the Rotary Club of New York.

In 1934, Boys' Week became known as Youth Week, and in 1936, Boys' and Girls' Week.

In 2010, Youth Service became Rotary's fifth Avenue of Service.

During the 1920s and 1930s, Paul Harris traveled extensively, ceremoniously planting trees to symbolize goodwill and friendship.

January of 1911 was the first issue of The National Rotarian.  The name was changed to The Rotarianin 1912, when Clubs were organized in Canada.

The largest Rotary Club is the Oklahoma City Downtown Club with over 600 members.

The fifth Rotary Test: Is It Fun?