Posted by Wes Bradford on Jan 16, 2018
Dave Moyers presented a history of Rotary, started by attorney Paul Harris with the first Club of 4 business and professional members in Chicago in 1905. They began meeting weekly (rotating their meetings among the members’ offices) and decided to organize service projects in the community.
The San Francisco earthquake occurred the next year. A Chicago member transferred to San Francisco and organized business and professional people into a new Rotary Club there for service to the devastated community. Soon there were also Rotary Clubs in Oakland, Seattle and Los Angeles. In 1910 a Rotary Club was founded in Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada, and then in Dublin and London. Many more Clubs were founded during World War I.
In 1945 after the end of World War II, almost 50 Rotarians were among the participants in the UN Charter Conference in San Francisco that founded the United Nations. They focused on maintaining international peace, developing friendly international relations, solving economic, social and humanitarian problems, and promoting human rights, which had already been Rotarian objectives for many years.
In 1985, building on a polio vaccination program in the Philippines sponsored by Los Angeles Rotarians, Rotary launched its worldwide PolioPlus program to eradicate polio, a disease that had crippled millions of children. The World Health Organization and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are now partners with Rotary in polio eradication, which is almost complete worldwide except for a handful of new cases in war-torn areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Rotary’s motto is “Service Above Self”. The Rotary Foundation was founded in 1917; its motto is “Doing Good in the World”. Rotary has raised $3.5 billion for humanitarian projects around the world. Rotary International has 1.2 million members in 34,000 Clubs.