Rotary International was founded in 1905 by Paul P. Harris – a man with a vision of professionals from diverse backgrounds meeting to exchange ideas and form lifelong friendships. He brought this vision to life and started the Rotary Club of Chicago, and since then his small group of professionals has grown to over 1.2 million members all over the world.

From the very beginning, Rotary has had a strong commitment to banding together in order to continue forming connections and making changes for the better. Even during some of the most difficult moments in our world’s history – wars, disasters, and epidemics – rotarians have continued to meet together and bring Harris’s original vision to life.


Rotary is made up of three main parts – Rotary International, Rotary Clubs, and the Rotary Foundation.

Rotary International is the main governing body and coordinates international initiatives, programs, and campaigns. They also support and equip individual clubs to do the work of Rotary in their communities and around the world.

Rotary Clubs are the heart and soul of Rotary. Clubs like the Washington Rotary Club meet on a regular basis to bring together professionals to share ideas and offer creative solutions in order to help make their community a better place.

The Rotary Foundation ensures that all of the generous donations given by rotarians and raised at their events are being used and distributed for maximum impact. As a non-profit, Rotary Foundation uses funds to support projects all around the globe.