The Rotary Foundation works towards the Eradication of Polio throughout our world, it works to bring about Peace and International Understanding, it helps young people to explore vocations, culture and study in other countries, it gives grants to help build projects in communities. Are we aware of how much The Rotary Foundation is helping to make our world a better place?
The mission of The Rotary Foundation is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.
The Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.
I n 1917, RI President Arch C. Klumph 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, 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 Rotary International.”
Two years later, the Foundation made its first grant of $500 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.
That year, the first Foundation programmme – the forerunner of Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarships – was established. In 1965-66, three new programmes were launched: Group Study Exchange , Awards for Technical Training, and Grants for Activities in Keeping with the Objective of The Rotary Foundation, which was later called Matching Grants .
The Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) Grants programmme was launched in 1978, and Rotary Volunteers was created as a part of that programmme in 1980. PolioPlus was announced in 1984-85, and the next year brought Rotary Grants for University Teachers . The first peace forums were held in 1987-88, leading to the Foundation’s peace and conflict studies programmes .
Throughout this time, support of the Foundation grew tremendously. Since the first donation of $26.50 in 1917, it has received contributions totaling more than $1 billion. More than $70 million was donated in 2003-04 alone. To date, more than one million individuals have been recognized as Paul Harris Fellows – people who have given $1,000 to the Annual Programmes Fund or have had that amount contributed in their name.
Such strong support, along with Rotarian involvement worldwide, ensures a secure future for The Rotary Foundation as it continues its vital work for international understanding and world peace. (Information from The Rotary International website, see below link for visiting it yourself.)
This article can only give you a flavour of what The Rotary Foundation achieves, click on the script in blue to be taken to Rotary International’s pages about this fantastic contribution to making our world a better place.
Within our forming District 1100 eClub one of the forums will be to support the work of The Rotary Foundation. All members will be asked to get involved and help fund raise for the different Rotary Programmes which are paid for through these charitable funds. Would any of our membership be willing to act as the Lead for this Forum Group?
For visitors to this page we hope you have enjoyed learning more about how 1.2 Million Rotarians in 200 countries are helping to make a better world by ensuring The Rotary Foundation can continue to do this important work. We invite you to join us in the District 1100 eClub, are you the missing piece?
To view more about The Rotary Foundation Ambassador Scholar Programme see an earlier post The World-wide Rotary Family, where Galina talks with Emma about her experience as a Scholar from Russia in London. In April Tim and Janice will be hosting visitors on a Group Study Exchange visit, we hope some eClub members will have the opportunity to meet them.
Finally what ideas can members and visitors suggest for District 1100 eClub’s The Rotary Foundation forum to do to make a World of difference?