Rotary is an international humanitarian service organization. Rotary clubs are 
nongovernmental nonreligious, and open to every race, culture and creed. The men
and women of Rotary are business and professional leaders who volunteer their
time and resources to help others in their local communities and throughout the 
world. Rotarians participate in local and international service projects designed 
to promote world understanding and peace. 

Founded in 1905, Rotary is the world’s first service organization.  The name 
Rotary was chosen because the original club met on a rotation basis at each 
member’s place of business. Individual clubs range from fewer than than 30 to more than 300 members. Today there are more than 32,000 clubs in 200 countries and geographical areas. Worldwide membership exceeds 1.2 million men and women who are committed to helping others.

The Rotary Foundation was created in 1917 as an endowment fund for Rotary "to do good in the world." It has grown from an initial contribution of $26.50 to more than $117,900,000 contributed in 2004-05. Its event-filled history is a story of Rotarians learning the value of service to humanity. 

The Foundation's Humanitarian Programs fund international Rotary club and district projects to improve the quality of life, providing health care, clean water, food, education, and other essential needs primarily in the developing world. One of the major Humanitarian Programs is PolioPlus, which seeks to eradicate the poliovirus worldwide. Through its Educational Programs, the Foundation provides funding for some 1,200 students to study abroad each year. Grants are also awarded to university teachers to teach in developing countries and for exchanges of business and professional people. Former participants in the Foundation's programs have the opportunity to continue their affiliation with Rotary as Foundation Alumni.

The Rotary motto is Service Above Self. Rotarians volunteer their time, skills, expertise and other resources toward improving the human condition. Regular weekly attendance is a vital part of Rotary and each Rotarian is expected to attend all regular meetings and is required to attend at least 60% of the club’s meetings. If for some reason a member should miss a weekly meeting, he or she is privileged to make-up the missed meeting at any Rotary Club in the world, including 17 other clubs in Hampton Roads. These make-ups afford Rotarians an opportunity to make important business and professional contacts in the area as well bring ideas and information back to their home clubs.

Object of Rotary
The Object of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and, in particular, to encourage and foster:

  • FIRST. The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
  • SECOND. High ethical standards in business and professions, the recognition of the worthiness of all useful occupations, and the dignifying of each Rotarian's occupation as an opportunity to serve society;
  • THIRD. The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian's personal, business, and community life;
  • FOURTH. The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service. 

Five Avenues of Service 
Based on the Object of Rotary, the Five Avenues of Service are Rotary's philosophical cornerstone and the foundation on which club activity is based:

  • Club Service focuses on strengthening fellowship and ensuring the effective functioning of the club. 
  • Vocational Service encourages Rotarians to serve others through their vocations and to practice high ethical standards. 
  • Community Service covers the projects and activities the club undertakes to improve life in its community. 
  • International Service encompasses actions taken to expand Rotary's humanitarian reach around the globe and to promote world understanding and peace. 
  • New Generations Service recognizes the positive change implemented by youth and young adults through leadership development activities, service projects, and exchange programs.

Declaration of Rotarians in Businesses and Professions
As a Rotarian engaged in a business or profession, I am expected to:

  • Consider my vocation to be another opportunity to serve; 
  • Be faithful to the letter and to the spirit of the ethical codes of my vocation, to the laws of my country, and to the moral standards of my community; 
  • Do all in my power to dignify my vocation and to promote the highest ethical standards in my chosen vocation; 
  • Be fair to my employer, employees, associates, competitors, customers, the public, and all those with whom I have a business or professional relationship; 
  • Recognize the honor and respect due to all occupations which are useful to society; 
  • Offer my vocational talents: to provide opportunities for young people, to work for the relief of the special needs of others, and to improve the quality of life in my community; 
  • Adhere to honesty in my advertising and in all representations to the public concerning my business or profession; 
  • Neither seek from nor grant to a fellow Rotarian a privilege or advantage not normally accorded others in a business or professional relationship. 

How Do Rotarians Benefit?
Rotary is service driven. Belonging to a Rotary club gives men and women the chance to do something for somebody else. Here, in their own words, is how some of our own members describe how they benefit:

  • “Being a Rotarian has helped me to develop leadership skills and know the value and pleasure of serving others.”
  • “When I help out on projects I feel like I am gaining more than the recipient.”
  • “I joined Rotary because the members were people I wanted to associate with, and the club stood for principles I think are excellent.”
  • “The best thing about Rotary is its reputation for service and the people who make up the organization.”
  • "I would encourage others to join Rotary because you can serve your fellow man, meet nice people and feel good about what you’ve done.”

How Can I Become a Menber?
Rotary membership is by invitation only. Members are chosen to represent their respective businesses or professions. The Classification Principle of club membership ensures that members will represent a broad range of the business and professional community. In this way, Rotary clubs reflect the makeup of their communities.

If you are interested in joining us, please send a note to:

Rotary Club of Portsmouth
PO Box 3
Portsmouth, VA  23705

What is Rotary?
For a colorful look at Rotary,
click on the image above.
The Four Way Test
of the things we think, 
say and do:

Is it the Truth?

Is it Fair to all concerned?

Will it build Goodwill and Better Friendships?

Will it be Beneficial to all concerned?