Rotary History

Paul P. Harris , an Attorney, wanted to create a professional group with the same friendly spirit he felt in the small town of his youth. On 23 February 1905, Paul Harris and three of his professional friends met in Room 711 of the Unity Building in downtown Chicago and this became the first Rotary Club meeting. They decided to call the new club ‘Rotary’ due to the practice of rotating meeting locations amongst all the members offices.
 
In 1910 , Rotarians held their first convention in Chicago with 16 clubs attending and they united to form the National Association of Rotary Clubs.
 
The name Rotary International was adopted in 1922 to reflect the establishment of Rotary Clubs in other countries.
 
By July 1925, Rotary had grown to over 200 clubs with estimated 108,000 members. By 2015, this number has grown to 34000 clubs with over 1.2 million members.
 
The World of Rotary:  At a Glance (End June 2014)
 
Rotarians                   1,218,000
Clubs                          35,076
Districts                      537
Rotaractors                201,342
Rotaract Clubs           8,754
Interact Members      441,278
Interact Clubs             19,186
RCCS Members          199,732
RCCS (Corps)             8,684
 
In addition, Rotary supports Youth Exchange Programs involving thousands of students from over 70 countries and Youth Leadership Training Programs which attract over 25,000 young adults every year.