Today, Rotary is the most international of all the world's service club associations.
Rotary is an organization of some 1.2 million business and professional men and women united worldwide that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build good will and peace in the world. Rotary International is the association of nearly 27,000 Rotary clubs worldwide. The organization is non-political (non- governmental) and non-sectarian. "Service Above Self" is the Rotary motto.
Whatever Rotarians do through Rotary, they do as volunteers.
Rotary clubs meet weekly to build friendships and discuss service goals. Membership is by invitation and is on the basis of one representative from each type of business, profession and institution to ensure a cross section of community leadership.
Each club determines its own service activities. Currently, Rotary International is encouraging clubs to focus community activities on fighting hunger, environmental concerns, illiteracy, drug abuse prevention, child-hood immunization, and helping youth and the elderly.
Preserve Planet Earth: This program focuses Rotary's attention on critical ecological issues. Clubs are increasing the number of environmental projects in their communities, regions and countries.
World Community Service:World Community Service links Rotary clubs needing help to complete a community service project with clubs in other countries willing to provide materials, technical and professional support, and funds. Rotary established the Donations in Kind Information Network to provide a list of goods, supplies and services donated by Rotarians and Rotary clubs for use by other clubs and districts to implement service projects.
Youth Exchange: Rotary clubs and districts sponsor more than 7,000 people of secondary school age annually for travel abroad and homestay with a Rotarian host family either for an academic year, during which the student lives with several host families, or during an extended holiday of several days to several weeks.
Interact and Rotaract Clubs: Interact, for secondary school students, and Rotaract for young adults 18-30, are Rotary club-sponsored service clubs. In addition to social activities, Interact and Rotaract clubs carry out at least one local and one international service project each year.
Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA): RYLA is a program of seminars, conferences and camps to develop and recognize good citizenship and leadership qualities in young people. Those selected meet with Rotarians and others to discuss important current topics.
Rotary Volunteers: This program matches individual Rotarian volunteers, Rotary Foundation program alumni and Rotaractors with projects in which their specific skills can be put to use. Centered primarily in the community at the club level, the program also identifies volunteer opportunities within the club's district and elsewhere in the world.
Rotary Village Corps and Rotary Community Corps: An innovative program in which Rotary clubs sponsor organizations of service-minded non-Rotarian men and women who work to improve their community's quality of life in both urban and rural areas.
Friendship Exchange: Through Friendship Exchange, Rotarians and their families carry out reciprocal visits, living in the homes of Rotarians and their families in other countries. There are both club-to-club programs for individuals and district-to-district programs for larger groups. In addition, Rotarians living in or near the country hosting the Rotary International Convention offer Pre- or Post-Convention Homestay to Rotary families from other countries.
Rotary Recreational and Vocational Fellowships:These groups offer Rotarians the opportunity to share their interests in a wide variety of recreational areas such as golfing, flying, computers, music, yachting, stamp collecting and short-wave radio. Also, Rotarians within the same business, profession or vocational field associate with each other to further international fellowship and service.
The Rotary Foundation
The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International provides humanitarian grants to improve the quality of life throughout the world. In addition, it supports international ambassadors of good will through educational awards to university students and teachers and through international exchanges of business and professional people. These programs are directed at furthering international understanding and friendly relations.
The Foundation is supported by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of Rotary. In the 1993 ranking of the top 100 U.S.-based charitable organizations, The Rotary Foundation ranked as the 6th lowest in administrative costs as a percent of total revenue (NonProfit Times Special Report - 1993). Rotary Foundation awards and grants are made in conjunction with Rotary club and district international service activities. Applications for funding must be initiated by a Rotary club or district.
Rotary Foundation programs
International Ambassadorial Scholarships: The Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship program is the world's largest and most international privately-funded scholarship program. The Foundation awards both one-year and multi-year ambassadorial scholarships, and three- or six- month cultural scholarships. Scholars have a responsibility to speak to Rotary clubs in their home and host countries. Through Grants for University Teachers, Rotary districts may also provide a Foundation grant to a university teacher to teach in a developing nation.
PolioPlus Program: Rotarians raised more than US$241 million to purchase vaccine and support "social mobilization," the motivation of public and private sectors and thousands of volunteers to campaign for immunization. PolioPlus supports expanded programs of immunization against other vaccine-preventable diseases in developing countries in cooperation with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and national and regional health authorities. Encouraged by Rotary's work, WHO member nations resolved in 1988 to eradicate polio worldwide by the year 2000. In 1993, 141 countries reported no new cases of polio - up from 74 in 1985
Health. Hunger and Humanity (3-H) Program: The 3-H Program marshals Rotary resources to accomplish large-scale, international humanitarian projects that emphasize self-help and improve health, alleviate hunger and enhance human and social development 3-H grants normally range from US$100,000 to US$300,000 and last from three to five years.
Group Study Exchange: Under this program, teams of non-Rotarian business and professional people venture abroad for four to six weeks to study the social, economic, business and cultural conditions of their host countries and stay with Rotarians and their families.
Matching Grants: Grants are made for educational or humanitarian projects sponsored and partially funded (at least 50 percent) by Rotary clubs or districts in two or more countries.
Grants for Rotary Volunteers: This program provides grants for travel and living expenses of Rotarians, Foundation program alumni and Rotaractors to perform humanitarian service in another country. Through this program Carl P. Miller Discovery Grants are administered. The grants are named for the past Rotary International President whose gift created the program. They provide funds to Rotary clubs or districts to carry out preliminary travel and planning necessary to develop international service projects.
Rotary Peace Programs: This program offers
a variety of activities including international seminars designed
to examine the role Rotary and other non-governmental organizations
can play in the achievement of peace and to support the efforts
of other peace-oriented groups. The seminars, called Peace Forums,
seek to increase knowledge of the issues behind conflict resolution
and stimulate local club and district activities to promote peace.
The Foundation also supports peace initiatives at a Rotary club
or district level. The first "local" peace program was
held in conflict-ridden Northern Ireland. Several projects to
build a brighter future in Ireland emerged from the meeting, which
was amended by more than 100 people representing 42 Rotary clubs
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