The Rotary Club of Lexington was chartered October 1, 1915, as Club #182. The first club president was George T. Graves. Over the years the club has raised over $1,000,000 for a variety of community and international service projects. There are 34,000 Rotary clubs in the world. The 365-member Lexington club is the 23rd largest club in the world and is a part of Rotary International District 6740, which covers the eastern section of the state and contains forty-four clubs with some two thousand Rotarians. The club meets weekly at noon on Thursdays at Fasig-Tipton on Newtown Pike.
The mission of Rotary is to encourage and foster the ideal of service as a basis of worthy enterprise and in particular to encourage and foster: the development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service; the application of the ideal of service by every Rotarian to his or her personal, business and community life; and the advancement of international understanding, good will, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional men and women united in the ideal of service.
What is Rotary?
Rotary is the world?s first service club organization and can be described in many ways.
Functionally, Rotary is an association of local clubs gathered into a larger organization called Rotary International. The individual Rotarian ? the heart and soul of Rotary ? is a member of a local club, and all clubs are members of Rotary International, which is headquartered at Evanston, Illinois, U.S.A.
Officially, Rotary is defined as ?an organization of business and professional men and women united worldwide, who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build good will and peace in the world?.
Specifically, a Rotary club is composed of business and professional men and women in a community who have accepted the ideal of service as a basis for attaining fulfillment in their personal, professional, and community lives. In fact, the ideal of service, exemplified in the motto ?Service Above Self?, is the thread that runs throughout the Rotary world and unites like-minded men and women in thought and action, no matter in what part of the world they live.
At present over 1.2 million service-minded individuals belong to 32,000 Rotary clubs in 200 countries. Clubs meet weekly, usually for lunch or dinner, sometimes breakfast, so that all members may enjoy each other?s fellowship as they get down to the business of running the club and discussing its service goals. Membership is by sponsorship only and is based on choosing representatives of each business, profession and institution in the community. The purpose of this ?classification? system is to ensure that the members of each club comprise a true cross-section of their community?s business and professional life.
The earliest meetings of Rotarians were held in the name of acquaintance and good fellowship. They were designed to provide increased business for each member. However, the founders soon realized that this would not be enough to keep businessmen and businesswomen interested and involved on a continuing basis. Thus, as the organization expanded, it deepened its purpose and developed its ideal of ?Service above Self?, which it expects its members to carry into the marketplace, the office and factory, the community at large, and into other lands. Official policy now specifically prohibits any attempt to use the privilege of membership for commercial advantage.
Rotary works to bring together, in a friendly, impartial atmosphere, men and women of all races, religious faiths, and political beliefs. Its bond is fellowship toward the common end of service, despite individual differences regarding the means of reaching that end.
Thus Rotary cultivates understanding and cooperation by emphasizing common interests, while avoiding commitment on partisan measures or activities on which men and women are so often divided.
Besides work in the club, each Rotarian is encouraged to serve as an individual in whatever ways and places he or she finds opportunity. For example, because Rotarians are business or professional men and women, they are urged to make their business not merely the basis of their livelihood, but also their way of living a good life ? of serving their fellow men and women competently and unselfishly.
Moreover, each Rotarian strives to make use of the opportunities for service in his/her business and residential community. Since business is interdependent, each Rotarian has an opportunity, in cooperation with other Rotarians, to improve conditions through the advancement of understanding and good will and the creation of higher ethical standards, where necessary, in the business community. Likewise the Rotarian has the opportunity as a member of an international fellowship to seek to better conditions in general for all humankind. .