Today we received an insightful presentation from Rotary veteran Ranjit Chakravorty. Ranjit gave us a detailed look at how the Rotary works and where it gets its funding.
First, Ranjit underscored the difference between Rotary International and the Rotary Foundation. Rotary International is an international service organization that seeks to promote humanitarian causes on a global scale. The Rotary Foundation serves to fund the various humanitarian projects that Rotarians engage in. We can take pride in the fact that Rotary is one of the best charities in the world and is ranked #4 by the “Charity Navigator”.
Rotary International was founded in 1905 by Paul Harris, while the Rotary Foundation was founded in 1917. The Rotary’s mission is to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through disease prevention, supporting education, and alleviating poverty both directly and indirectly by promoting growth-oriented economic tools. The Rotary Foundation make all this possible by transforming gifts into service projects that change lives close to home and around the world. Over the past 100 years Rotarians have spent $300 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects!
There are a variety of sources the Rotary Foundation relies on to obtain funding. First, there is the Annual Fund which distributes money to the various projects around the world. Next, there are tiered levels of contributions which Rotary members can engage in: Sustaining Membership, Paul Harris Fellow, Paul Harris Society, Major Donor ($10,000), Arch Klumph Society ($250,000). In addition to funding sources that address on-going projects, there are funds that are designed to meet future needs, thus, ensuring the health and vitality of Rotary. The Endowment Fund is one such funding tool. With the goal of accruing over $2 billion by 2025, the fund should ensure all future monetary needs are met. The Annual Fund Share system is another way to leverage investment for the benefit of the Rotary and its causes. In this case, a monetary gift is invested and the realized earnings are given back both to the local Rotary District and to the World Fund to promote projects around the globe.
In addition to the funding sources described above, the Rotary Foundation also confers various types of grants for targeted uses. For example, District Grants are used to fund local projects. Global Grants, on the other hand, are used to provide financial support for long-term projects around the world. Funding ranges from $15,000-$200,000. Our Diablo/Sycamore Valley Rotary club has obtained Global Grant Support for the following projects: water sanitation and hygiene, avoidable blindness, education training in computer technology, health (heart surgery), medical clinic, wheelchair assistance, and support for physically challenged children. The geographical outreach of these projects have included Mexico, India, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Malaysia and Bangladesh.
Finally, one of the crowning achievements for Rotary as an organization is the near elimination of polio from the face of the earth! In 1988 there were 350,000 cases and now only 11 remain thanks in large part to our efforts! As stated by Bill Gates: “Rotary is the heart and soul of polio eradication”.
On a final note, today we inducted our newest member Nick Sharma. Hailing originally from India, Nick shared with us his unique and fascinating life experiences which has fueled his passion to make a difference in peoples lives. Welcome Nick to our Rotary club!