As a global network that strives to build a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change, Rotary values diversity and celebrates the contributions of people of all backgrounds, regardless of their age, ethnicity, race, color, abilities, religion, socioeconomic status, culture, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Resources to help you build diversity, equity and inclusion into your club and your lives:

Rotary International Statement on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion: 


At its June meeting, the RI Board of Directors, with guidance from the DEI Taskforce, took additional steps to ensure our organization values and lives the principals of diversity, equity and inclusion by revisiting and strengthening Rotary's 2019 DEI statement. The result is a new Commitment to Diversity Equity and Inclusion adopted in June 2021:

At Rotary, we understand that cultivating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture is essential to realizing our vision of a world where people unite and take action to create lasting change.

We value diversity and celebrate the contributions of people of all backgrounds, across age, ethnicity, race, color, disability, learning style, religion, faith, socioeconomic status, culture, marital status, languages spoken, sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity as well as differences in ideas, thoughts, values, and beliefs.

Recognizing that individuals from certain groups have historically experienced barriers to membership, participation, and leadership, we commit to advancing equity in all aspects of Rotary, including in our community partnerships, so that each person has the necessary access to resources, opportunities, networks, and support to thrive.

We believe that all people hold visible and invisible qualities that inherently make them unique, and we strive to create an inclusive culture where each person knows they are valued and belong.

In line with our value of integrity, we are committed to being honest and transparent about where we are in our DEI journey as an organization, and to continuing to learn and do better.

The Board of Directors convened the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Taskforce in 2020 and tasked it with assessing the current state of DEI within Rotary and developing a comprehensive plan of action with achievable, measurable, and meaningful outcomes for Rotary. This plan is currently in development and will be presented to the Board of Directors in October 2021.

Additionally, the Board agreed to:

  • Provide DEI training for incoming, current, and past RI officers
  • Promote the Rotary Code of Conduct
  • Establish protocols to report Code of Conduct violations

More information about these decisions, and our ongoing focus on DEI, will be available on in the coming weeks.

The Board thanks the taskforce for its ongoing commitment to creating a more just, open, and welcoming Rotary experience during this past year. The taskforce's work is critical to the organization's long-term success. The Board also extended the work of the DEI Taskforce through June 2023.

If you witness or experience someone acting in a way that violates Rotary's DEI statement, email


Conversations with Rotary's DEI Task Force:

Our club members are dedicated people who share a passion for both community service and friendship. Below, please find resources for speakers, reading materials and videos that your club and members can use to help build bridges in our communities during these divisive times.

Editor’s Note: In September 2020, Rotary formed a task force charged with assessing the current status of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in Rotary and shaping a comprehensive action plan to help us further value and live those principles throughout the organization. This is the second in a series of blog posts from DEI Task Force members reflecting on their work on the committee and why it is critical for the organization.

Valarie Wafer, task force chair, is 2021-22 Rotary International vice president, and a member of the Rotary Club of Collingwood-South Georgian Bay, Ontario, Canada. She has served as an RI training leader, 2018 Toronto Convention Host Organization Committee member, assistant regional Rotary Foundation coordinator, and RI president’s representative. (Read her full bio).

Q. The business you own (a Tim Horton’s franchise) has been recognized for its inclusive hiring practices. You’ve had first-hand insight into how businesses/organizations develop a competitive advantage when they prioritize inclusion. What long-term benefits can an organization like Rotary derive from making DEI even more a part of our culture and approach to operating?

Valarie: Our operation was recognized for hiring people with disabilities of all types in every position from front line to management. We built a culture of inclusion by having an intentional and committed conversation with each employee to ensure that they had the tools they needed to succeed. Our customers told us that they came out of their way to do business with us because we represented the community.

I quite often make the comparison between Rotary and a franchise operation. Each franchise operates in a community and while the main product offerings at each of those locations comply with the corporate brand, they are nuanced to the demographics. And this is really true of Rotary clubs. We have a strong recognizable brand, but our culture and our Rotary experience can be different even in a club across town. Representing your community is good for business, and it’s good for our Rotary clubs because when you walk through the door and feel like you can be yourself and feel valued, you’re more likely to stay.

Check back often as we will continue adding resources as new opportunities arise.
The Seven Paths to Peace - Rotary International
Social Dominance Theory - Jim Sidanius and Felicia Pratto
The Warmth of Other Suns - Isabel Wilkerson
Stamped from the Beginning - Ibram X Kendi
White Fragility - Robin DiAngelo
White by Law - Ian Haney Lopez
The New Jim Crow - Michele Alexander
Slavery by Another Name - Douglas Blackmon
Sundown Towns - James Loewin
The Color of Law - Richard Rothstein 
I am my brother’s keeper. I am my sister’s keeper. I am destined for greatness. On the night of November 11, 2012, Leon was pulled over in a case of mistaken identity. He was shot, thrown on the ground, and handcuffed while an officer of the law hissed at him that he hoped he died.

As is expected, anger consumed Leon for years. He became comfortable in that pain and he didn’t want to let it go. The officers had not only taken away his ability to walk; but something even deeper than that– his sense of self-worth.

After spending a lot of time avoiding having to deal with what he’d been through, Leon finally filled his heart with a deep desire to influence change. He stopped holding on to what he had planned for his life before he got shot and started looking towards the future and what he
wanted to create.
with Matthew McConaughey
with NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell, and Emmanuel Acho 
with host Soledad O’Brien and Wes Moore, CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation, one of the largest anti-poverty organizations in the U.S.

If you’d like to see some of your own blind spots, head to

Panel Discussion about criminal justice reform - Rotary Clubs of Harlem and Bronxville
Guest Speakers:
Daniel Hahn, City of Sacramento Police Chief
Other Resources: