In 1912, seven years after the formation of a club in Chicago that founder Paul Harris called "Rotary", a group of Houston businessmen picked up the idea. Rotary, so-named because members would "rotate" meetings at each other's places of business, began in Houston with 19 members. Like other Rotary clubs, the Rotary Club of Houston was founded by business people working together to benefit their community under the mandate: Service Above Self. However, the Rotary Club of Houston impacted Rotary nationally and internationally from the start.

The present divisional plan of government for Rotary began with the Houston club. When the Rotary Club of Houston wanted to bring the Rotary National Association convention to the city in 1914, leadership enlisted the help of Rotary clubs statewide, forming the first State organization. National headquarters took note and at the Houston Convention, adopted the district form of government. Within the first five years of its existence, the Rotary Club of Houston helped organize more than 30 Rotary clubs nationwide, and through the years, organized more than 50 clubs in the greater Houston area. The Rotary Club of Houston was the first to spearhead the largest single fund drive in Rotary history to build the Jesse H. Jones Rotary House International, serving cancer patients and their families from around the world.

The Rotary Club of Houston has a history of breaking new ground from its beginning as one of the first 100 Rotary clubs in the world. A full-time staff supports our 300+ members, working together on many community service projects at one time. In this way, our members form ties that are solidified in service - the Rotary standard.

As the second century of Rotary dawns, the Rotary Club of Houston embarks on its' most ambitious project since the construction of Jesse H. Jones Rotary House International. The East End Initiative will address quality of life issues in one of Houston's poorest communities. In collaboration with local Rotary Clubs, Chambers of Commerce, and major Corporate Partners, the Rotary Club of Houston will seek to offer educational, economic and healthcare assistance to this historic neighborhood. We invite the Greater Houston Community to join us in this major initiative as we seek to serve those most in need.

We are excited that you are interested in joining the Rotary Club of Houston, because your contributions can help shape our future direction, even as the club broadens and expands yours. Remember, our mission is to improve the quality of human life through volunteer community service - Service Above Self.

Rick Olsen
2017-2018 President
Rotary Club of Houston