Rotary was founded by Paul Harris, a lawyer, and three business associates in Chicago on 23 February 1905.
In his honour since 1957, Paul Harris Fellows have been recognised to express appreciation for contributions to the humanitarian and educational programs of The Rotary Foundation. Those programs include an array of projects that save and invigorate the lives of people around the world and enhance international friendship and understanding.  These projects are funded, implemented, and managed by Rotarians and Rotary clubs around the world.
Anyone who contributes* US$1,000 or more to the Annual Fund, PolioPlus, or an approved Foundation grant, or has that amount contributed in their name may be recognised as a Paul Harris Fellow.
Paul Harris Fellow recognition is both an award for exemplary work in community service or helping those in need, or a method of recognising a substantial donation to The Rotary Foundation.
Paul Harris Fellow recognitions in Australia have been awarded to Rotarians and others that have shown that they are prepared to go that extra mile in support of people in need.  It is an emphatic acknowledgement of the appreciation shown for tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among people of the world. These awards have been presented to many outstanding leaders in the community, as well as to “ordinary people doing extraordinary things“.  Paul Harris Fellow recognitions have been awarded to over 40,000 people in Australia, and more than 1.3m worldwide.

Each new Paul Harris Fellow receives a commemorative certificate, and a lapel pin.  The certificate states the person has been named a Paul Harris Fellow in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations between peoples of the world.
The Paul Harris Fellow pin is worn with pride to show that the wearer has contributed either substantial effort or funds to The Rotary Foundation - an organisation that strives to bring peace to our world through the programs it implements.  In recent years, close to US$60m a year  has been spent on humanitarian programs, US$17m on educational programs, and in excess of US$100m annually to achieve The Rotary Foundation's goal of completely eradicating polio world-wide.
A contribution to The Rotary Foundation (via The Australian Rotary Foundation Trust) is fully tax deductible.