On February 23, 107 years ago, four men met for the first time in a small Chicago office.

Little did they know that from their association an international organization would grow to over 1.2 million members and have clubs in almost every country on the planet.

But that’s exactly what happen: Happy Birthday Rotary.

I am often asked, "What does Rotary do?" My answer has been the same over the past 15 years: we are group of business men and women in the community making our neighborhood, city, state, nation and the world a better place. Basically that’s just a textbook definition. A simple answer to give if we were in line at Safeway. But Rotary is so much more.

The more I hear what Rotarians are doing around the world, the more overwhelmed I get with that question. What do we do? Really?

  • We are dedicated to ridding the world of polio and other diseases
  • We are determined to build a better future through educating children everywhere
  • We are serving our communities with hands-on projects
  • We are bringing hope to people in need

How do we do it: Well,.........


Well, we raise $200 million dollars (in five years) to continue fighting polio, give Mosquito nets to prevent malaria in the sub-Saharan Africa, we give free cleft-palette operations in Bangladesh, Philippines, actually around the entire world. Drill a water-well for a village in Niger, provide all third graders in this area with their very own dictionary.

Sorry, sorry: there I go again……..basically the list of what we do goes on for about 107 years.

To paraphrase Mahatma Gandhi: we are the change we want to see in the world. Rotary International sees these six areas of focus for the next 107 years:

  • Peace and conflict prevention/resolution
  • Disease prevention and treatment
  • Water and sanitation
  • Maternal and child health
  • Basic education and literacy
  • Economic and community development

The club I belong to? We work very hard to provide hope with all of the money, blood, sweat and tears we use. We are the best Rotary club this side of Chicago.