Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Become a Rotarian?

Professionals today juggle career, family, friends and personal interests. Little time is left over for community involvement and the satisfaction of volunteerism. You can make the most of the time you give to your community by belonging to a Rotary Club. Rotarians achieve together what individuals can not accomplish alone-and have fun doing it! While Rotary Clubs make a real difference in communities around the world, they also offer unparalleled opportunities for individual growth:

  • "Hands on "experience dealing with issues affecting our local and world communities.
  • A forum for developing and fine-tuning business and leadership skills.
  • Membership in a diverse international network of business and professional leaders.
  • A sense of accomplishment gained from working with your peers on a variety of valuable community and international service projects.
  • The opportunity to meet Rotarians of other clubs in nearby communities-or anywhere you travel around the world-and have friends in all corners of the globe.

Through club activities, members develop and use business skills that can be applied at work-such as leading meetings, developing budgets, spearheading fundraising efforts, and organizing service projects. Club leadership changes annually so that more people can have the benefit of such leadership training.

Membership is gained by recommendation of an active member. If you have interest in knowing more, or would like to visit a meeting please contact us at the Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary Club.

  • ROTARY is a service association of business and professional leaders united worldwide, who conduct humanitarian projects, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and work toward world understanding and peace.
  • ROTARY is more than 1.2 million service-minded leaders belonging to over 35,000 Rotary Clubs in 172 countries and geographical regions. Membership is by invitation.
  • Rotarians meet weekly to enjoy each other's fellowship and discuss ways to serve others.
  • ROTARY is compassion for the underprivileged, the ill and the disabled, many of whom are the beneficiaries of over 50,000 service projects conducted by Rotary Clubs in the world each year.
  • ROTARY adds fulfillment each year to the lives of some 9,000 young people of secondary school age as they study in countries other than their own.
  • THE ROTARY FOUNDATION spends more than US$40 million on a variety of educational and humanitarian programs to provide international understanding.
  • ROTARY sponsors INTERACT, nearly 7,000 service clubs for young people of secondary school age in more than 90 countries.
  • ROTARY sponsors ROTARACT, nearly 5,000 service clubs for young adults between 18 and 29 in 100 countries.
  • ROTARY began in 1905 in Chicago. The international headquarters is in Evanston, Illinois, U.S.A., and there branch offices in 9 countries on 5 continents

History of Rotary

Rotary's first day and the years that followed...

February 23, 1905. The airplane had yet to stay aloft more than a few minutes. The first motion picture theater had not yet opened. Norway and Sweden were peacefully terminating their union. On this particular day, a Chicago lawyer, Paul P. Harris, called three friends to a meeting. What he had in mind was a club that would kindle fellowship among members of the business community. It was an idea that grew from his desire to find within the large city the kind of friendly spirit that he knew in the villages where he had grown up.

The four businessmen didn't decide then and there to call themselves a Rotary club, but their get-together was, in fact, the first meeting of the world's first Rotary club. As they continued to meet, adding others to the group, they rotated their meetings among the members' places of business, hence the name. Soon after the club name was agreed upon, one of the new members suggested a wagon wheel design as the club emblem. It was the precursor of the familiar cogwheel emblem now worn by Rotarians around the world. By the end of 1905, the club had 30 members.

The second Rotary club was formed in 1908 half a continent away from Chicago in San Francisco, California. It was a much shorter leap across San Francisco Bay to Oakland, California, where the third club was formed. Others followed in Seattle, Washington, Los Angeles, California, and New York City, New York. Rotary became international in 1910 when a club was formed in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. By 1921 the organization was represented on every continent, and the name Rotary International was adopted in 1922.

The Object of Rotary


The Object of Rotary can be considered the foundation stone on which the Rotary house is built. This brief statement, 106 words in its current form, is a key element of the Rotary International Constitution. It states the essential purpose of the organization -- "to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise" -- and then lists four areas by which this "ideal of service" can be fostered. They are: through the development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service; the promotion of high ethical standards in business and professions; through service in one's personal, business and community life; and the advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace.


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.

This articulation of Rotary ideals began with the first constitution of 1906 which had three objects: promotion of business interests, promotion of good fellowship and the advancement of the best interests of the community. By 1910 there were five objects in the statement and by 1915, six. The document went through several further revisions until a final revision in 1951 which made it a single "Object" which is manifested in four separate ways. The "ideal of service" is the key phrase, expressing an attitude of being a thoughtful and helpful person in all of one's endeavors.


Membership in a Rotary club is by invitation and was based on the founders' paradigm of choosing one representative of each business, profession and institution in the community. What is called the "classification principle" is used to ensure that the members of a club comprise a cross section of their community's business and professional life.

A Rotarian's classification describes either the principal business or professional service of the organization that he or she works for or the individual Rotarian's own activity within the organization. The classification is determined by activities or services to society rather than by the position held by the particular individual. In other words, if a person is president of a bank, he or she is not classified as "bank president" but under the classification "banking."..The classification principle fosters a fellowship for service based on diversity of interest, and seeks to prevent the predominance in the club of any one group.

The 4-Way Test

Of the things we think, say or do:

1. Is it the Truth?
2. Is it Fair to all concerned?
3. Will it build goodwill and better friendships?
4. Will it be beneficial to all concerned?

One of the most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics in the world is the Rotary 4-Way Test. It was created by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor in 1932 when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy. Taylor looked for a way to save the struggling company mired in depression-caused financial difficulties. He drew up a 24-word code of ethics for all employees to follow in their business and professional lives. The 4-Way Test became the guide for sales, production, advertising and all relations with dealers and customers, and the survival of the company is credited to this simple philosophy.

Avenues of Service

The term "Four Avenues of Service" is frequently used in Rotary. The "Avenues" refer to the four elements of the Object of Rotary: club service, vocational service, community service and international service. They describe the primary areas of Rotary activity.

Club service involves all of the activities necessary for Rotarians to make their club function successfully. Vocational service is a description of the opportunity each Rotarian has to represent the dignity and utility of one's own vocation to other members of the club. Community service pertains to those activities which Rotarians undertake to improve the quality of life in their community. It frequently involves assistance to youth, the aged, the handicapped and others who look to Rotary as a source of hope for a better life. International service describes the many programs and activities which Rotarians undertake to advance international understanding, goodwill and peace. International service projects are designed to meet humanitarian needs of people in many lands.


Rotary's Foundation

The Rotary Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation that supports the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programs.

The Foundation's Humanitarian Programs fund international Rotary club and district projects designed to improve the quality of life. Providing health care, clean water, food, education, and housing are a few of the basic goals that these projects work toward -- primarily in the developing world. One of the key humanitarian programs is Polio Plus, which seeks to eradicate the polio virus worldwide by the year 2000.

Through its Educational Programs the Foundation provides funding for about 1200 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. In all cases, recipients are expected to act as ambassadors of goodwill, furthering international understanding and promoting friendly relations between their host and sponsoring countries. Former participants in the Foundation's educational programs often continue their affiliation with Rotary as Foundation Alumni.

The Rotary Foundation is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world. Contributions to the Foundation's Annual Programs Fund are invested for three years, with interest being used to cover all administrative costs. Fully 100 percent of every dollar donated goes directly to humanitarian and educational program expenditures three years later. Gifts to the Foundation's Permanent Fund are invested, with only the earnings being used to support programs.

The Rotary Foundation is governed by 13 Trustees -- four of whom are past RI Presidents -- who were appointed by the current President of RI and confirmed by the Board of Directors.

The Foundation was conceived as an endowment fund in 1917 by Rotary's sixth president, Arch C. Klumph, "for the purpose of doing good in the world." Although The Rotary Foundation was formally established in 1928, significant contributions were not received until 1947, when the death of Rotary founder Paul Harris generated an outpouring of support. Since that time, The Foundation's nine programs have been established, and cumulative contributions have reached about US$825 million.


The enthusiasm with which Rotarians embraced the ideal of service is evidenced by Rotary's principal motto, "Service Above Self" and its other official precept, "He Profits Most Who Serves Best." The roots of both of these adages, adopted as official mottos at the 1950 RI Convention, can be traced back to the first decade of Rotary's existence, when "He profits most who serves his fellows best and Service not self were both put forth as slogans. In 1989, the RI Council on Legislation designated "Service above Self" as the principal motto.