EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE ROTARY FOUNDATION
As the exclusive philanthropic arm of Rotary, The Rotary Foundation (TRF) leverages a worldwide network of Rotarians who dedicate their time, funds, and expertise to address key priorities aligned with our seven areas of focus. Through Foundation grants, Rotarians are empowered to tackle challenges like disease, poverty, illiteracy, and malnutrition with sustainable solutions that make a lasting impact.
Globally recognized for its outstanding financial stewardship and effective utilization of contributions, The Rotary Foundation has consistently earned the prestigious four-star rating from Charity Navigator every year since 2008. As the world's largest and most reputable charity evaluator, this accolade is granted to only one percent of charities, signifying TRF's exemplary commitment to the prudent management of donors' funds.
ABOUT THE ROTARY FOUNDATION
Established in 1917 by Arch Klumph, the sixth president of Rotary International, The Rotary Foundation (TRF) was conceived as an endowment fund with the purpose of generating a sustainable income for Rotary's mission to "do good in the world." Originating with a humble contribution of US$26.50 from the Rotary Club of Kansas City, the Foundation has burgeoned to an impressive sum exceeding US$1 billion. It disburses grants exceeding $1 million per day, supporting projects spearheaded by Rotarians. TRF currently boasts one of the world's largest and most esteemed international fellowship programs.
Since its inception, TRF has dedicated over US$4 billion to transformative, sustainable initiatives. The Foundation's core mission is to empower Rotarians to "advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty."
Distinguished by its enabling nature, our Foundation operates as a not-for-profit organization sustained exclusively by contributions from its members and allies. While TRF encourages donations akin to other charitable entities, it uniquely urges active involvement and the utilization of funds. The achievement of its mission relies on both generous financial support and the proactive engagement of its members.
A primary beneficiary of contributions to TRF is the Annual Fund, where half of the donations are allocated to the District Fund and the remaining half to the World Fund. This dual allocation plays a crucial role in facilitating Rotary projects, turning aspirations into reality through the disbursement of global and district grants.
THE FOUNDATION’S FOCUS
The Foundation takes the lead in spearheading global Rotary initiatives, notably the eradication of polio and the promotion of peace.
In 1930, the Foundation marked its inaugural grant of US$500 to the International Society for Crippled Children. Following the passing of Rotary's founder, Paul Harris, in 1947, the first significant program, focused on scholarships, was established, primarily as a tribute to Paul. Over the years, more than 350,000 scholarships have been granted, affording recipients the opportunity to pursue overseas studies.
Rotary's paramount philanthropic focus is the eradication of polio. The PolioPlus program, launched in 1985, gained momentum in 1988 when Rotary collaborated with partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative. At that time, over 125 countries grappled with 350,000 polio cases. Subsequently, nearly 3 billion children received polio immunization, resulting in a remarkable 99.9 percent reduction in polio incidence. As of 2021, Rotary's contributions to global polio eradication, complemented by matching funds from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, exceeded US$2 billion.
In 2002, TRF established the Peace Fellow Program, giving rise to the Rotary Peace Centers, which have trained over 1400 Fellows deployed across 115 countries. Many of these Fellows now hold leadership positions in government, NGOs, the military, education, law enforcement, and international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank.
Thanks to TRF's humanitarian projects, hundreds of thousands of individuals now benefit from improved access to clean water, healthcare, and education.
ROTARY FOUNDATION FAQs
WHAT IS THE ROTARY FOUNDATION?
The Rotary Foundation is Rotary's dedicated charity, providing support to Rotarians and their clubs for the charitable initiatives they choose and undertake independently.
- The mission of The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International is to empower Rotarians to foster world understanding, goodwill, and peace by enhancing health, supporting education, and alleviating poverty.
- Governed by a Board of Trustees, The Rotary Foundation operates with a commitment to effective leadership and strategic oversight.
- While headquartered in Evanston, Illinois, USA, The Rotary Foundation extends its impact globally through associate foundations in various countries, including the United Kingdom, Canada, India, and Brazil.
- Contributions to The Rotary Foundation directly or any of its associate foundations play a crucial role in securing and expanding Rotary programs worldwide.
- Over its century-long existence, The Rotary Foundation has dedicated $4 billion to transformative, sustainable projects globally. Currently, it allocates grants averaging around $1 million per day.
- These aspects collectively define The Rotary Foundation as a pivotal force in Rotary's global philanthropic endeavors.
WHERE CAN I GET CURRENT INFORMATION ON MY FOUNDATION GIVING?
- Log into your account on My.Rotary.org. Select My Account in the top right-hand corner and select “My Donations” from the drop down menu. From there you can generate a donor history report.
HOW DIFFICULT IS IT FOR A CLUB TO WITHDRAW FUNDS FROM THE FOUNDATION?
Accessing funds from The Rotary Foundation involves an application process rather than a direct withdrawal by clubs. Here's an overview:
Grant Application Process:
Clubs do not engage in a straightforward withdrawal of funds. Instead, they initiate the process by applying for grants.
District Grants are a key avenue, with funds being allocated annually to districts for the explicit purpose of supporting club projects. The administration of this process is handled at the district level.
Districts play a pivotal role in managing the allocation and distribution of funds. These grants, designed to bolster club projects, are known as District Grants.
These grants cater to local initiatives and are distributed at the discretion of individual districts.
Global Grants for Larger Projects:
For more substantial projects exceeding $30,000, clubs can apply for Global Grants.
International collaboration is a prerequisite for Global Grants, necessitating an international partner to participate in the project.
Districts can tap into District Designated Funds (DDF) from The Rotary Foundation to support projects, and these funds can also attract additional matching funds from the World Fund of The Rotary Foundation.
In summary, the process involves a structured application for grants, with District Grants supporting local projects and Global Grants facilitating larger initiatives with international cooperation. Access to funds is managed at both the district and global levels, ensuring a strategic and collaborative approach to project funding.
HOW DO I GIVE TO THE ROTARY FOUNDATION?
- You can visit rotary.org/donate to select The Rotary Foundation Fund where you would like to donate funds. From this site, you can choose to donate to Featured Causes, Areas of Focus, Endowments, or Named Funds via credit or debit cards.
- For additional payment options, visit https://my.rotary.org/en/check-draft-or-wire-payments
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PAUL HARRIS FELLOW AND THE PAUL HARRIS SOCIETY?
The Paul Harris Fellow (PHF) distinction is bestowed upon individuals who make a gift or accumulate donations totaling US $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation. Alternatively, a donor has the option to award a PHF to a third party in acknowledgment of their service, provided that the donor has contributed US $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation.
On the other hand, the Paul Harris Society (PHS) recognizes an individual's ongoing commitment to contribute US $1,000 annually to The Rotary Foundation, supporting any of its programs. This commitment is sustained every year the individual is able to make the contribution, signifying a continuous dedication to Rotary's philanthropic endeavors.
WHY DO DISTRICTS GET ONLY 50% BACK FROM THE FOUNDATION, OF THE DONATIONS THEY MAKE ?
- Districts receive only 50% back from The Rotary Foundation of the donations they make because a portion is allocated to cover administrative costs, ensuring the smooth functioning of operations. The majority of the other 50% is retained in the World Fund. This strategic decision allows clubs and districts to tap into the World Fund for supplementary financial support when undertaking Global Grant projects. By maintaining this balance, the Foundation ensures ongoing support for projects on a global scale while addressing essential operational needs.
WHERE CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
There’s a wealth of information on the Rotary website. However, start with this page for a better overview:
WHAT ARE GLOBAL GRANTS?
Global Grants provide substantial backing for significant international initiatives that yield sustainable and measurable outcomes within Rotary's designated areas of focus. Through collaborative efforts in addressing authentic community needs, both clubs and districts fortify their global partnerships, fostering a collective impact on a broader scale.
WHAT CAN GLOBAL GRANTS SUPPORT?
Global Grants can fund humanitarian projects, scholarships for graduate-level academic studies, and vocational training teams, which are groups of professionals who travel abroad either to teach local professionals about their field or to learn more about it themselves.
DO THESE HAVE TO BE BIG PROJECTS?
Yes, projects eligible for support through a Global Grant must have a minimum budget of US$30,000. This criterion is in place to prioritize larger projects with a substantial impact, ensuring they effectively address the needs of the community. The minimum budget also includes provisions for necessary elements such as training, emphasizing the importance of sustainability in project planning.
WHAT IS THE SOURCE OF THE FUNDS?
The funds originate from various channels, including the cash raised by you and your club. Additionally, your district's "DDF" (District Designated Fund), constituting a block grant allocated annually, contributes to supporting The Rotary Foundation's initiatives within your district. Moreover, The Rotary Foundation World Fund comes into play, matching 80% of the DDF contributions incorporated into the funding plans. This dynamic funding structure ensures a diverse and collaborative approach to supporting Rotary's impactful work.
IS COLLABORATION WITH PARTNERS NECESSARY FOR THE PROJECT?
Indeed, Global Grants are specifically structured for the collaboration of two or more clubs situated in different countries. This approach solidifies the broader community engagement inherent in Rotary's work, leveraging a diverse range of knowledge and skills to enhance the effectiveness of our projects.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
For more information visit: my.rotary.org/en/take-action/apply-grants/global-grants and check out the Resources and Reference documents or talk to the Rotary District 6910 Foundation Committee.
THE ROTARY FOUNDATION FUNDING
The annual disbursement of funds by The Rotary Foundation through Global Grants has exhibited remarkable growth, more than doubling from $47.3 million in 2013/14 to an impressive $130 million in 2021/22. However, the soaring demand for Global Grants has surpassed the contributions to the Annual Fund, creating a situation where not all deserving Global Grant requests can be accommodated with funding.
In response to this challenge and to ensure that The Rotary Foundation can maximize its support for Global Grants in the future, the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation implemented policy changes effective July 2021. These policy adjustments, coupled with subsequent modifications, enhance the Foundation's capacity to sustainably back a greater number of large-scale projects for years to come.
OUR EVERY ROTARIAN, EVERY YEAR FUNDS:
The Annual Fund, also referred to as SHARE, stands as the primary financial backbone for a diverse array of local and international activities facilitated by the Rotary Foundation. The "Every Rotarian, Every Year" (EREY) initiative encourages each Rotarian, regardless of the amount, to contribute to the Annual Fund annually.
Contributions to the Annual Fund are channeled into two distinct sub-funds: the World Fund and District Designated Funds. Utilizing the SHARE system, these contributions are then transformed into grants.
The World Fund serves as the financial engine for our most critical initiatives worldwide. Approximately 47.5% of Annual Fund-designated contributions are allocated to the World Fund. This fund supports a range of opportunities available to all Rotary districts, including initiatives like PolioPlus, Rotary Peace Centers, Programs of Scale grants, Global Grants, and more.
District Designated Funds (DDF) provide districts with the flexibility to finance Foundation, club, and district projects of their choosing. Up to half of the DDF can be used for District Grants, while the remaining portion may be directed toward Global Grants or donated to causes such as PolioPlus, the peace centers, or another district.
The Endowment Fund, sustained by cash gifts and bequests from Rotary members and their families, secures the Foundation's long-term sustainability and the continuity of its grants and programs. Earnings generated from the Endowment fund enable the Foundation to expand existing initiatives and support new ones. Contributions to the Endowment Fund are invested indefinitely, and a percentage of the fund's total value is annually directed toward Foundation grants and programs.
ROTARY’S DISASTER RESPONSE FUND
The Rotary Foundation extends support for disaster relief and recovery endeavors through grants sourced from the Rotary Disaster Response Fund. Districts affected by natural disasters can utilize Rotary Disaster Response Grants to initiate their projects or collaborate with established relief organizations, contributing to the recovery of their communities. Grant funds are versatile, addressing fundamental needs such as water, food, medicine, and clothing. Districts collaborate closely with local officials and groups to ensure that the funding aligns with specific community needs.
ROTARY’S POLIOPLUS FUND
The Rotary Foundation also extends support for the PolioPlus fund by oversee the efforts to eradicate Polio. In recent years, the funds donated to the PolioPlus fund have been matched
To 1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in an effort to expedite the fight against this cause.
The Rotary Foundation contributes to PolioPlus, Rotary's global initiative to eradicate polio, through a multifaceted approach that involves fundraising, advocacy, and partnership with key organizations. Here's how The Rotary Foundation contributes to PolioPlus:
Fundraising Campaigns: The Rotary Foundation plays a crucial role in raising funds for the PolioPlus program. Rotary clubs and individual Rotarians worldwide contribute to the Foundation, specifically earmarking their donations for polio eradication efforts. The Foundation then allocates these funds strategically to support vaccination campaigns, research, and infrastructure to combat polio.
Grant Programs: The Foundation provides grants to support immunization campaigns and other initiatives aimed at eradicating polio. These grants are instrumental in funding activities such as the procurement of vaccines, operational support, and community outreach efforts.
Partnerships: The Rotary Foundation collaborates with other organizations, governments, and health agencies as part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI). This partnership involves organizations like the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The combined resources and expertise of these partners amplify the impact of Rotary's efforts.
Advocacy and Awareness: The Foundation contributes to advocacy efforts to garner support for polio eradication on a global scale. By raising awareness about the importance of immunization and the ongoing fight against polio, Rotary aims to mobilize support from governments, communities, and individuals.
Monitoring and Evaluation: The Foundation is involved in monitoring and evaluating the progress of polio eradication initiatives. This includes tracking the number of polio cases, assessing the effectiveness of vaccination campaigns, and adapting strategies as needed to address challenges.
Through these coordinated efforts, The Rotary Foundation plays a pivotal role in the ongoing global mission to eradicate polio, bringing us closer to a polio-free world.