Rotary Fellowships

 Rotary Code of Policies - 2005

40.010.  Program Terminology

The following terminology and definitions shall be used for RI Programs:

Special Program of RI - PolioPlus is a special program of Rotary International and has highest priority over all other programs until the certification of eradication is achieved.

Structured Programs – organized activities recommended by the RI Board for clubs and districts that include a recommended framework and guidelines; 

Menu of Service Opportunities - issues and concerns identified by RI as recommended service priorities for clubs and districts for a specified period of time;  

Global Networking Groups – groups of individual Rotarians organized to focus on shared topics of interest on an international basis

43.010.  Rotary Fellowships

43.010.1.  Terms of Fellowships 

A Rotary fellowship is a group of Rotarians who unite themselves to pursue a vocational or recreational activity. The primary purpose of a fellowship shall be to further friendship and fellowship for those who share a common interest. Fellowship activities must be conducted independently of RI, but must be in harmony with RI policy, including the use of the Rotary Marks.  Fellowships may not be used to promote religious beliefs, political issues, or other organizations.  Recognition of a fellowship by RI in no way implies legal, financial or other obligation or responsibility on the part of RI, or any district or club.  A fellowship may not act on behalf of RI, or represent or imply that it has authority to act on behalf of RI.  A fellowship is not an agency of RI.  Fellowships must be self‑sustaining financially, administratively, and otherwise.  Fellowships may not exist or function in any country in violation of the laws of such country.  Individual Rotary Fellowships are not covered by RI insurance and are encouraged to assess their own risk and secure coverage as appropriate. 

43.010.2. Organization and Membership

A fellowship shall have a governing document (charter, constitution, bylaws or similar document) which must be consistent with RI policy.  All governing documents, and amendments thereto, must be reviewed by the fellowships committee, if practicable, and approved by the general secretary.  A fellowship shall be organized with at least three officers, one of whom shall be the chair (president or other administrative head) and serve as a non-voting member-at-large of the RI fellowships committee.  The chair must be an active Rotarian.  A fellowship's membership shall be open to all Rotarians and spouses of Rotarians.  Fellowships are encouraged to open their memberships to Rotaractors.  Only Rotarians, spouses of Rotarians, and Rotaractors may be members of fellowships. 

43.010.3.  Criteria for Recognition as a Rotary Fellowship

All fellowships are subject to approval by the Board for recognition.  The Board shall not recognize fellowships formed to promote, participate or be involved in religious or political activities, deal with subjects that negatively affect health or safety, or are not in accord with the Object of Rotary or the overall policy and program of Rotary International.  Applications for new fellowships shall be reviewed by the fellowships committee, if practicable, and the general secretary.  The recommendations of the committee and the general secretary shall be forwarded to the Board.  All applications shall be reviewed by the Board, regardless of such recommendations.

To be recognized as a fellowship, a fellowship must:

1)  Be a group of Rotarians representing at least three countries who share a common interest in a specific worthwhile activity which advances the Object of Rotary.  The Board may reduce or waive the number of countries represented.

2)  Be organized in accordance with RI policy;

3)  Not duplicate the purposes of an existing fellowship, unless approved by the Board.

Groups that are denied recognition may not reapply for a period of two years from the date of such denial. 

43.010.4. Termination of Recognition

The Board may terminate a fellowship's recognition by RI, with or without the consent of the fellowship's officers or members, for failure to function in accordance with RI policy.  Failure to respond to communications from the general secretary for a two-year period may result in termination of recognition of the fellowship.

To maintain its status as a fellowship, a fellowship must:

1)  Function in accordance with its recognized purpose and in accordance with RI policy;

2)  Publish a newsletter (which may be distributed solely by electronic means) for members of the fellowship in good standing, at least once during each Rotary year, and file the newsletter and other important fellowship communications and documents with the general secretary;

3)  Hold an annual forum by way of a newsletter, annual meeting, or other activity appropriate to the fellowship, through which fellowship members in good standing can interact;

4)  Respond to inquiries from members, potential members, and the general secretary. 

5)  Submit an annual report of activities, including cost of membership dues and a financial statement showing revenues and expenditures during the past Rotary year, and a statement of funds on hand at the time of the report to its members with a copy to the general secretary by 1 October in each year.

43.010.5.  Services and Suspension

The General Secretary may suspend services provided to a fellowship, with or without the consent of the fellowship's officers or members, for failure to function in accordance with RI policy.  These services include use of the Rotary Marks, listing in the Official Directory, program publications, and on the RI Web site, and provision of a booth at the International Convention, on a space available basis. 

43.010.6.  Incorporation of Fellowships

Fellowships are encouraged to incorporate.  The advisability of incorporation is a matter the members should determine in light of the fellowship's activities.  Applications for incorporation must be submitted to and approved by the general secretary.  The articles of incorporation, or equivalent corporate document, of a fellowship must include a statement to the effect that the fellowship is not an activity or agency of RI. 

43.010.7.  Fellowships at RI Conventions

An annual joint meeting of all fellowships should be held immediately preceding or during the convention.  An annual general meeting of each fellowship should be held immediately preceding or during the convention.  Fellowships are encouraged to arrange pre- and post-Convention activities in connection with the convention each year.  The convention committee should assist in organizing such convention-related events and publicizing fellowship activities at the convention.  Space should be provided at the International Convention for fellowship groups to meet, where possible, at no cost to the fellowships. 

43.010.8.   Fellowship Information in the Official Directory

The name, address and Web site of each fellowship, and the name, contact information and classification of the chair of each fellowship, shall be listed in the Official Directory each year, provided that such information is submitted by the date set by the general secretary.  No further descriptive information shall be included. 

43.010.9.  Promotion of Fellowships

Clubs and districts are encouraged to promote fellowships, especially during June, Rotary Fellowships Month.  Governors are encouraged to promote fellowship activities in monthly letters and to report at the district assembly or district conference on progress in fellowship activities for the year.  Fellowships are encouraged to hold recognition days to increase interest in their activities and in Rotary in general, and to maintain Web sites that promote their activities and inform their members. 

43.010.10.   Rotary Fellowships Logo

An official logo for the Rotary Fellowships Program has been adopted by the Board.  The general secretary shall include the logo on appropriate publications, and make the logo available on the RI Web site for downloading. 

43.010.11.   Statement in Publications

Fellowship newsletters, publications, brochures, and Web sites must prominently display the statement “This fellowship is not an agency of, or controlled by, Rotary International” or similar language approved by the general secretary.  Following is an approved example of how such language may be incorporated into a statement describing the fellowship.

“The International Golfing Fellowship of Rotarians is a group of Rotarians dedicated to promoting golfing as an opportunity for fellowship.  This fellowship operates in accordance with Rotary International policy, but is not an agency of, or controlled by, Rotary International.” 

43.010.12.   Agreements with Other Parties

Any agreement between a fellowship and other parties must clearly state that the fellowship is not an agency of, or controlled by Rotary International, an Illinois corporation, and that Rotary International is not liable for the activities of the fellowship.  Any such agreement must also clearly state that Rotary International is not a party to the agreement, and that Rotary International is not liable for the performance of, or any obligation under, the agreement.

A fellowship may not enter into cooperative relationships with other organizations on behalf of RI.

43.010.13  Fellowship Dues

Fellowship dues must be of a reasonable amount and limited to that necessary to cover administrative costs.  Each fellowship shall disclose how dues are used in their governing documents, and on their membership application materials. 

43.040.14.  Fellowships and Other Organizations

In order to ensure coordination and cooperation with Rotary Entities that may be involved in similar activities and avoid conflicts of interest, Rotary fellowships approaching other organizations for funds in excess of US$25,000 or other cooperative relationships shall notify the general secretary in advance of any applications. This provision also applies to funds that will be disbursed to a third party organization working with the group.

43.010.15   Fellowship Circularization Policy

A Rotary fellowship desiring to request the cooperation of districts, clubs or Rotarians outside of its own membership in connection with any matter whatsoever, shall first submit its purpose and plans to the respective governor or governors and secure his, her, or their approval.

No Rotary Fellowship shall solicit financial assistance or participation in commercial ventures from any Rotary district or club or from individual Rotarians other than its own members unless and until it first secures authorization from the Board.

Even within the limits described above, it is not permissible for a Rotarian to circularize other fellowship members on matters affecting his or her individual business interests. 

43.010.16.  Policy Compliance

Fellowships that are in not in compliance with RI policy are subject to termination of their fellowship status.