What’s your Rotary moment — a time that strengthened your dedication to Rotary and confirmed you would be a lifetime Rotarian? I have had many such moments over the years, and they all had one thing in common: They showed me Rotary’s tangible power of turning our dreams of a better world into reality.
Rotary members are exceptional at it. I see that power in my own club in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and now, as Rotary Foundation trustee chair, in clubs and districts around the world. Rotary members from Austria, Germany, Nigeria and Switzerland are realising their dream to help mothers and children in Nigeria. In partnership with several organisations, they have launched a multiyear, large-scale project to reduce unwanted births and drive down rates of maternal and child mortality. This project, once a vision of a few members but now the recipient of Foundation global grants, is training doctors, nurses and midwives throughout all 36 states of Nigeria.
Every great project begins in the minds of our members. You are the ones who see schools that adolescent girls have stopped attending because of the lack of private bathrooms. You are the ones who see families facing food shortages, children who can’t read, and communities with health problems caused by mosquitoes. Not only do you see these things, because you are in Rotary, you also do something about them.
And because of your engagement, over the past decade, the amount of money the Foundation has awarded for global grants has grown by more than 100 per cent. As more and more Rotarians have become involved, to keep our grants going we have had to adjust and stretch those funds by reducing overhead and by other means. The reason is simple: While the need for these projects is increasing and grant participation is also on the rise, annual giving from Rotary members has stayed relatively static for years.
Quite simply, we need more clubs and individuals to give to the Annual Fund to help keep our district and global grant programmes thriving. This year, we set a goal of raising $125 million for the Annual Fund. We can’t realise your Rotary dreams or those of your fellow members without everyone’s support.
Remember: It’s not about the money, but about what our money can do. I am a firm believer that when we all give what we can, both as clubs and individuals, to the Foundation every year, we take another step toward making the world a better place. Imagine the Rotary dreams we could make real if every member and every club got together and made a gift to our Foundation today. That would be quite a Rotary moment — for all of us.
John F Germ
Foundation Trustee Chair