The beginnings of Rotary International

In 1896, Paul Harris went to Chicago to practice law. One evening, in the early 1900’s, Paul went with a professional friend to his suburban home. After dinner, as they strolled through the neighbourhood, Paul’s friend introduced him to tradesmen in their stores. This reminded Paul of his grandparent’s home in New England. “Why not have a fellowship composed of businessmen from different occupations, without restrictions of politics or religion?” he thought.

This re-enactment by members of the Willoughby Theatre Company was staged at the Rotary District 9685 Conference on 23 February 2014 – 109 years after Rotary became a reality.

Actors: Jeremy Curtain, Mike Curtain, Luke Davis, & Peter Meredity
Author: Carla Moore

There are over 31,000 Rotary clubs, in 164 countries, whose members carry on club, vocational, community and international service. The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International annually spends some $105 million on international education and humanitarian programs, providing grants which save lives and improve conditions throughout the world. Rotary also sponsors international ambassadors of good will through educational awards to university students and teachers, and through international exchange of business and professional people. Today the Rotary Foundation scholarship program is the world’s largest privately funded international scholarship program. 7Approximately 1,100 scholarships are awarded annually. Rotarians have raised some 438 million dollars for the PolioPlus program alone as well as provided thousands of volunteers to administer the vaccine around the world.