updated April 15, 2001


"Probus clubs serve a growing population of retired leaders. They have no formal ties to Rotary International and little name recognition in big swaths of the Rotary world. But Probus clubs comprise the fastest-growing Rotary club-sponsored organization today, attracting a burgeoning population of retired and semi-retired business and professional people."

The first Probus (professional and business) club was formed by an English Rotary Club in the mid-1960's to allow retired professionals to meet together for fellowship. (A sectarian Probus Service Club was formed in 1921 in Connecticut, USA, but is not related to the mainstream of Probus Clubs, see Origins .. Editor) The idea spread to other countries. Today, Probus clubs claim more than 300,000 members in thousands of clubs worldwide, the largest concentrations being in Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand.

Although sponsored by Rotary clubs, Probus clubs enjoy autonomy once they have been established. Clubs meet monthly but have no attendance or service requirements, and membership fees are nominal. Members may and do belong to other organizations, including Rotary. Some Rotary clubs retain ties with the Probus clubs they have sponsored, but the ties are informal.

"The Rotary International Board commends the formation of Probus clubs as a service activity for Rotary clubs. It urges Rotary sponsors to ensure that Probus club constitutions follow Rotary's principles."

"While Probus has minimal organization, centres in at least half a dozen countries staffed by volunteers provide advice on getting started and issue newsletters or directories to clubs. Rotary International commends the role of Probus centres in administering Probus clubs in their areas and encourages those centres to register with Rotary International. The Canadian Probus Centre operates a World Wide Web site (http://www.probus.org) with general information on Probus."

In 1905 Paul Harris , a young lawyer new to Chicago, organized a group of persons for companionship. They met in turn in each other's house or place of business, thus the term ROTARY. The friendship by persons actively involved in business, evolved into carrying out community service activities (including replacing the doctor's horse!). It further evolved into an organization of 28,000 clubs in 154 countries, with well over a million, two hundred thousand members,.... with the object of

There are now four main avenues to Rotary's service, and probably most notable is the large International nature of its activities, resulting in such vital assistance to the World Health Organization as eradicating polio, as well as measles from the world scene. In addition to the major support from each Rotary Club for such world endeavours, each club usually has some direct connection to a foreign land through another Rotary club. There are over 530,000 Paul Harris Fellows in the world, which indicates a minimum of half a billion dollars has been spent by Rotary Foundation on such beneficial areas as youth and group study exchanges around the world.

On the local scene a Rotary club is involved in vocational service, either in development of the responsibility in community for each life pursuit, or in the assistance to Youth in developing careers. Without question its work for Community Service is its largest effort locally, but the most important asset may be that after Rotary has started something it develops within a project the ability to manage itself. Rotary can then walk away to carry out another initiative.

It is no surprise therefore to see Rotary's response for the needs of all seniors for friendship, persons who have been actively involved in a lifetime of professional, management or other similar responsibilities. The founding of Probus was begun by Rotary sponsorship and thousands of Rotary Clubs worldwide have followed suit by a simple process of obtaining an HOW TO manual and acting as sponsor.


Click here to Start a Probus Club