Paul P. Harris

Founder of Rotary

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Service Above Self is the Motto of Rotary. We promote service and fellowship. Rotary clubs make a difference locally and internationally through service. By taking time to learn about local and international issues, we discover new opportunities for effective service projects.


The world's first service club, the Rotary Club of Chicago Illinois, was formed on February 23rd in 1905 by Paul P. Harris. Paul was an attorney who wished to recapture in a professional club the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of his youth. The name "Rotary" derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among members' offices.

Today, contributions to The Rotary Foundation total more than $80 million annually and support a wide range of humanitarian grants and educational programs that enable Rotarians to bring hope and promote international understanding throughout the world.


In 1985, Rotary made a historic commitment to immunize all of the world's children against polio. Working in partnership with non-governmental organizations and national governments thorough its PolioPlus program, Rotary is the largest private-sector contributor to the global polio eradication campaign. Rotarians have mobilized hundreds of thousands of PolioPlus volunteers and have immunized more than one billion children worldwide. By the 2005 target date for certification of a polio-free world, Rotary will have contributed half a billion dollars to the cause.

Following the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Rotary clubs were formed or re-established throughout Central and Eastern Europe. Today, 1.2 million Rotarians belong to some 31,000 Rotary clubs in 166 countries.


Our local branch, the Rotary Club of Magnolia works towards serving the goals of Rotary International but also identifies unique ways to serve the community of Magnolia.