The Otto and Fran Walter Foundation has pledged $15.5 million to The Rotary Foundation to start a Rotary Peace Center in the Middle East or North Africa. The new centre will offer a professional development certificate programme focused on peacebuilding and development issues in the region. This generous gift from the Walter Foundation, which is based in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, USA, will fund the centre’s startup costs and operating expenses, as well as an endowment that will provide peace fellowships in perpetuity for up to 40 students to study there each year.
TRF will select a partner institution to host the Otto and Fran Walter Rotary Peace Center in 2024, and the first Rotary Peace Fellows are expected to start studying there in January 2026.
Otto and Fran Walter established their family foundation to promote peace and other charitable causes, and their mission lives on even after their deaths. Otto was a member of RC New York City.
After Otto and Fran both died in 2003, Rtn Frank Helman, a law colleague and friend, became president and director of their Foundation. He and his wife, Martha, the current president of the foundation, helped shepherd the $15.5 million gift to TRF. The Helmans are both members of RC Boothbay Harbor.
“The Walter Foundation can imagine no better way to remember Otto and Fran and their legacy than through a Rotary Peace Center in the Middle East — a part of the world that has been torn by conflict,” says Martha, who also serves as chair of TRF’s Peace Major Gifts Initiative Committee.