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What is Rotary?

Rotary International is the world’s first service club. Founded more than 100 years ago, Rotary’s membership now exceeds 1.2 million.  There are more than 34,000 clubs in over 200 geographical regions worldwide.  The men and women of the Montgomery/Rocky Hill Rotary Club are your friends, neighbors and business associates.

Rotary’s goals are to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations and help build goodwill and foster peace in the world.

Through generous volunteer efforts, Rotarians work to improve the lives of members of communities in their hometowns, in their nation and overseas by providing disaster relief, promoting clean water projects, eradicating polio and other diseases, combating hunger, offering job training, and supporting educational and literacy programs.

Founded by Chicago lawyer Paul P. Harris, nearly 100 years ago, Rotary International (RI) is a worldwide organization of 28,531 clubs in 158 countries with a membership of nearly 1.2 million men and women. They are joined together to provide service both in their local community and in the international community. Rotarians, who have embraced the organization’s motto, “Service Above Self,” represent a cross section of all types of businesses, vocations and professions.

The name “Rotary” came from the practice of the early clubs of “rotating” their meetings from business-to-business each week. Rotary’s gearwheel symbolizes the name and represents the “meshing” of Rotary with other organizations for useful purpose. Rotary works to bring together people of all races, faiths and political views. Membership is based upon one representative for each business or profession to ensure a wide representation for community projects. Since its charter, the Rotary Club of Princeton has been a member of Rotary International. Rotary International has had a special relationship with the United Nations for more than a half century.

Today, Rotary has consultative status with UNICEF, UNESCO, the World Health Organization and the UN Economic and Social Council. Rotary maintains representatives at UN headquarters in New York, Geneva and Vienna and with UNESCO in Paris. These representatives provide information to Rotary International on the relevant activities of the United Nations and its affiliated agencies. Rotarians are members of their clubs and the clubs are members of the global association known as Rotary International. Clubs are grouped into Rotary districts, each led by a district governor who is an officer of Rotary International and represents the RI board of directors in the field.