Rotary In The World
Rotary started in 1905 as Attorney Paul Harris and three of his friends -Coal Merchant Silvester Schile, Mining Engineer Gustavus Loehr and Merchant Tailor Hiram Shorye- came together in the evenings and developed ideas.
In these initial meetings, they intended to help each other feel less alone, know each other, establish good relations and help with each others’ personal development.
In fact, there was great diversity among these four initial members of Rotary in terms of nationality and religious beliefs. These were people of British, German, Swedish and Irish origin who had migrated to the US. In terms of religious beliefs, they were Protestant, Catholic and Jewish.
Accordingly, Rotary’s future principle of embracing all regardless of race, religion, language and gender came to formation automatically.
The Chicago Rotary Club was founded on February 23, 1905 with the addition of Printer Harry Ruggles and Real Estate Broker Will Jenson to this group.
Schile was elected the first President of the Club. Paul Harris, who first came up with the idea of a club would become president only two years later.
This first Rotary Club created by these six people was founded for friendship, fellowship, mutual assistance.
Since the meeting were held in each member’s office, members suggested the word ‘Rotary’, which in English means rotation around a main axis, as a name for the Club.
Rotary, in essence, is the largest non-governmental organization in the world where more than 1.2 million members, who are professionals and executives from different professions, come together to exchange ideas and experiences and to start, join or contribute to social responsibility projects of various sizes.
Internationally renowned for its Polio project which eradicated the disease from the face of earth, Rotary International has many donors and contributors. Bill Gates, who has donated USD 300 million to the project to end Polio, is one of these supporters.