October 8th, 2011

Rotary International

Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 31,000 Rotary clubs located in 166 countries.

Rotary club membership represents a cross-section of the community’s business and professional men and women. The world’s Rotary clubs meet weekly and are nonpolitical, nonreligious, and open to all cultures, races, and creeds.

The main objective of Rotary is service — in the community, in the workplace, and throughout the world. Rotarians develop community service projects that address many of today’s most critical issues, such as children at risk, poverty and hunger, the environment, illiteracy, and violence. They also support programs for youth, educational opportunities and international exchanges for students, teachers, and other professionals, and vocational and career development. The Rotary motto is Service Above Self.

Although Rotary clubs develop autonomous service programs, all Rotarians worldwide are united in a campaign for the global eradication of polio. In the 1980s, Rotarians raised US$240 million to immunize the children of the world; by 2005, Rotary’s centenary year and the target date for the certification of a polio-free world, the PolioPlus program will have contributed US$500 million to this cause. In addition, Rotary has provided an army of volunteers to promote and assist at national immunization days in polio-endemic countries around the world.

The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is a not-for-profit corporation that promotes world understanding through international humanitarian service programs and educational and cultural exchanges. It is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and others who share its vision of a better world. Since 1947, the Foundation has awarded more than US$1.1 billion in humanitarian and educational grants, which are initiated and administered by local Rotary clubs and districts.

Objects 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:

  1. The development of acquaintance as an opportunity for service;
  2. 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;
  3. The application of the ideal of service in each Rotarian’s personal, business, and community life;
  4. The advancement of international understanding, goodwill, and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideal of service.

The Four-Way Test

From the earliest days of the organization, Rotarians were concerned with promoting high ethical standards in their professional lives. One of the world’s most widely printed and quoted statements of business ethics is The Four-Way Test, which was created in 1932 by Rotarian Herbert J. Taylor (who later served as RI president) when he was asked to take charge of a company that was facing bankruptcy.

This 24-word test for employees to follow in their business and professional lives 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. Adopted by Rotary in 1943, The Four-Way Test has been translated into more than a hundred languages and published in thousands of ways. It asks the following four 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 Four-Way Test Essay

South Hill Rotary Club
Matthew Jenkins, Winning Essay

These four questions make up the Rotary 4-way test. By
knowing and using this test, we could all become kinder
people, but first you must understand what each question

“Is it the TRUTH?”

When you ask yourself this question, you are asking
yourself if what you are about to say is honest. In many
instances, people stray from the truth in order to keep
themselves from getting into immediate trouble. I know
from experience that when you tell the truth, the
consequences are a lot better than if you lie. Sometimes,
the truth is not beneficial to others. In this case, it is best
to tell the person in private, or even write an anonomous
note. In any case, honesty is always the best policy.

“Is it FAIR to all concerned?”

When something is fair, it is free from bias, dishonesty,
or injustice. I always try to be fair to everyone because I
never know who I might see again in my future. I once
heard a quote that said, “People may not remember

exactly what you did, or what you said, but they will
always remember how you made them feel.” Even something
as small as not picking someone on a team
could make a difference in their lives. I still remember
recess in 5th grade. Whenever we played basketball, I
would either not be picked or be put on the losing team. I
would go home everyday and tell my mom how it wasn’t
fair. They never gave me a chance to prove that I could
play. Even though those kids and I are friends now, I will
never forget how they were unfair to me.


Goodwill and better friendships are basically the same
thing. They both have to do with making friends and
improving your relationships with friends. My mom has
always explained to me that I don’t have to be BEST
friends with everyone, but I do have to be nice and
friendly to everyone. To be a friend with someone, you
don’t have to spend every minute with them. Sometimes,
just smiling is enough.

“Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?”

When something is beneficial, it is helpful. The best
example of saying things that are beneficial to others is
to use the old phrase my kindergarten teachers would
say,” If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say
anything at all.”

This 4-way test is very helpful. By following it, you can
develop a life of high values and moral character, not
only professionally but also personally with friends and
family. I’d like to thank the Rotary Club for bringing this
test to my attention. I know it will change my life forever.

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