This month, as we celebrate The Rotary Foundation, let’s recognise it for what it is: one of the world’s best humanitarian organisations.
Many charities, relief organisations and nonprofits do the same type of work, and the public associates them with the causes they work on. But I wonder how many people know that Rotary supports those same causes — seven of them in fact — which we call our areas of focus.
If they want clean water, good health and a sustainable future for our planet, they support what our Foundation does. If they envision a world where peace, full literacy and economic opportunities for communities to support themselves exist, they also believe in Rotary’s mission. And if they want to see mothers and their babies thrive, their vision aligns with the work we do.
And we have a lot of work in progress through the Foundation. Polio eradication is changing the world, one drop of vaccine at a time. Rotary Peace Centers are training peacebuilders to reduce violence and resolve conflict. And through Foundation global and district grants, we are improving lives in a real way.
The way we work also sets us apart. We have global reach, with more than 48,000 field offices in the form of Rotary and Rotaract clubs. We emphasise good stewardship of your funds and efficient implementation of your projects. And we always aim for sustainable solutions.
During the 2022–23 Rotary year, the Foundation awarded 1,098 global grants. If you think of what a single grant can do, you begin to grasp the scale of our work and the magnitude of our impact — an impact people can see and feel in their daily lives. Our district supported a global grant project that focused on basic education and literacy in Malawi, where we helped train 38 teachers who are responsible for 4,000 students. We also built two toilets and installed a pump, so they had water for drinking and hand washing.
I will never forget that when Esther and I visited the school, a young boy pointed to my Rotary pin, recognising it from other volunteers who wore their pins during the project. He said, “I know you helped me. I won’t be able to travel to thank the others who helped me, so please thank them for me.” So thank you, Rotary, on behalf of a child in Malawi whose future you made a little brighter, and on behalf of thousands of others you have helped by supporting TRF.
TRF Trustee Chair