Paul Harris Fellowship

Paul Harris is the founding father of Rotary (see “The Rotary Foundation” page, and subpage “Who was Paul Harris?”).

In 1917, R.I. President Arch C. Klumph (a funny name, but a handsome, energetic, successful, wealthy & philanthropic man) proposed that an endowment be set up “for the purpose of doing good in the world.”

In 1928, when the endowment fund had grown to more than US$5,000.00, it was renamed The Rotary Foundation, and it became a distinct entity within Rotary International.

Five trustees, including Klumph, were appointed to “hold, invest, manage and administer all of its property… as a single trust, for the furtherance of the purposes of RI.”

Two years later, the Foundation made its first grant of $500.00 to the International Society for Crippled Children. The organization, created by Rotarian Edgar F. “Daddy” Allen, later grew into the Easter Seals.

The Great Depression and World War II both impeded the Foundation’s growth, but the need for lasting world peace generated great postwar interest in its development.

After Rotary’s founder, Paul P. Harris, died in 1947, contributions began pouring into Rotary International, and the Paul Harris Memorial Fund was created to build the Foundation.

Since the first donation of $26.50 in 1917, the Foundation has received contributions totaling more than $1 billion. More than $115 million was donated in 2012-2013 alone. To date, more than one million individuals have been recognized as Paul Harris Fellows (having contributed at least $1,000.00 to The Rotary Foundation).

Such strong support, along with Rotarian “hands-on” involvement worldwide, ensures a secure future for The Rotary Foundation as it continues its vital work for international understanding and world peace.


Donors of US$1,000.00 or more to the Annual Fund, PolioPlus, the Permanent Fund (formerly the Endowment Fund), or people who have that amount contributed in their name, can be recognized as Paul Harris Fellows. Each new Paul Harris Fellow receives a commemorative certificate and a pin to wear proudly.

For contributions of US$2,000.00 or more, a Paul Harris Fellow is eligible for:

  • Recognition as a Multiple Paul Harris Fellow
  • Option to honor someone else as a Paul Harris Fellow with their Foundation Recognition Points (one point for every one dollar of contribution)
  • Multiple Paul Harris Fellow pin with additional stones. Recognition levels are based on the following guidelines:
    • US$2,000.00 to 2,999.99 one sapphire
    • 3,000.00 to 3,999.99 two sapphires
    • 4,000.00 to 4,999.99 three sapphires
    • 5,000.00 to 5,999.99 four sapphires
    • 6,000.00 to 6,999.99 five sapphires
    • 7,000.00 to 7,999.99 one ruby
    • 8,000.00 to 8,999.99 two rubies
    • 9,000.00 to 9,999.99 three rubies

Other Examples of Contribution Recognition

SUSTAINING MEMBER: Anyone who contributes US$100.00 or more per year to the Annual Fund is automatically recognized as a Rotary Foundation Sustaining Member.

BENEFACTOR: You may become a Benefactor by making the Permanent Fund a beneficiary in your estate plans or by donating $1,000.00 or more to the fund outright.

BEQUEST SOCIETY: Couples or individuals who have made commitments of $10,000.00 or more in their estate plans, such as in a will, living trusts, or through whole or universal life insurance, can become BEQUEST SOCIETY members.

MAJOR DONOR: The Rotary Foundation recognizes couples or individuals whose combined personal outright or cumulative giving has reached $10,000.00 or more. All outright contributions made to the Foundation are included in this total, regardless of the gift designation.

ARCH C. KLUMPH SOCIETY: Donors whose cumulative gifts total $250,000.00 or more will become members of the Arch C. Klumph Society and have their photos displayed permanently in the Arch C. Klumph Gallery at R.I.

If you have questions, please contact AHRC President and Foundation Chairman Tracey Clark (  Or, you may direct your questions to the donor recognition specialist in the Foundation’s Contact Center at 1-866-9ROTARY (1-866-976-8279) or

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