Rotary Club of Asheville South — History

Rotary International

On the 23rd February 1905, 37-year-old Attorney Paul Harris began to change the World. He conceived an Organization that has now spanned over 100 years.

Rotary is based upon Fellowship amongst Business & Professional men and women. So started the Rotary Club of Chicago. It was three years before the second Rotary Club in San Francisco was formed, and then other Clubs were started in cities across the United States before, in 1910, Rotary moved into Canada.

It was 1911 when Rotary crossed the Atlantic and moved into Dublin and in the same year the London Rotary Club was created.

Since those humble beginnings Rotary International has become a global network of service volunteers. It is now the World’s largest service organization for Business and Professional people with some 1,180,000 members across 166 Countries.

Rotary runs the largest non Government Scholarship Scheme in the World through Rotary Foundation this gives more than 21 million every year to educational and humanitarian programs that promote international understanding.

Perhaps the greatest testimony to Rotary over the last 100 years is the continuance of its own historic principle that demands membership of Rotary is a privilege, an opportunity and a responsibility which demands honest and efficient service and thoughtfulness to ones fellow men and women around the world.

It is this declaration that will ensure that Rotary continues for another 100 years.

The 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.

Avenues of Service

We channel our commitment to service at home and abroad through five Avenues of Service, which are the foundation of club activity.

  • Club Service focuses on making clubs strong. A thriving club is anchored by strong relationships and an active membership development plan.
  • Vocational Service calls on every Rotarian to work with integrity and contribute their expertise to the problems and needs of society. Learn more in PDF Icon An Introduction to Vocational Service and the PDF Icon Code of Conduct.
  • Community Service encourages every Rotarian to find ways to improve the quality of life for people in their communities and to serve the public interest. Learn more in PDF Icon Communities in Action: A Guide to Effective Projects and this Community Service presentation (PPT).
  • International Service exemplifies our global reach in promoting peace and understanding. We support this service avenue by sponsoring or volunteering on international projects, seeking partners abroad, and more.
  • Youth Service recognizes the importance of empowering youth and young professionals through leadership development programs such as RotaractInteractRotary Youth Leadership Awards, and Rotary Youth Exchange.

The Four-Way Test

The test, which has been translated into more than 100 languages, asks the following questions: Of the things we think, say or do

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?


The mission of Rotary International is to provide service to others, promote integrity, and advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through its fellowship of business, professional, and community leaders.

Diversity and Rotary

Rotary International recognizes the value of diversity within individual clubs. Rotary encourages clubs to assess those in their communities who are eligible for membership, under existing membership guidelines, and to endeavor to include the appropriate range of individuals in their clubs. A club that reflects its community with regard to professional and business classification, gender, age, religion, and ethnicity is a club with the key to its future.