On February 23rd, 1905, the first four Rotarians pictured above -- Gustavus Loehr, Silvester Schiele, Hiram Shorey, and Paul P. Harris, gathered in Chicago for what would become known as the first Rotary club meeting. The Rotary name is derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among members' offices.
Since Rotary International became the world's first service club organization, they have come along way with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas worldwide. Since the first donation of $26.50 in 1917, the Rotary Foundation has received contributions totaling more than $1 billion.
Rotary continues to flourish today with its primary motto being "Service above Self". The stated purpose of the organization is to bring together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world.