A time to look forward

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“I have no fear of the future,” Winston Churchill once said. “Let us go forward into its mysteries, let us tear aside the veils which hide it from our eyes, and let us move onward with confidence and courage.”

Churchill used the phrase “let us go forward together” in some of his most famous speeches. He had no other choice but to look forward as he led his war battered nation with courage.

Each generation inherits its own share of challenges; we are living through ours, never once stopping in the face of this challenge. In a year when people were unable to meet, families stayed secluded, and businesses struggled to flourish, we still managed to go forward together in many areas. Through Rotary Foundation grants, clubs and districts brought creative solutions to their pandemic-hit communities. Since March 2020, the Foundation has awarded over $34 million in grants to initiatives related to Covid-19.

The demand for our global grants was high. They were so popular that we had to make adjustments to grant funding policy that will begin July 1 in a prudent effort to balance demand with resources, so that more districts can participate.

This year, The Rotary Foundation took bold steps forward, breaking new ground: The Foundation expanded its reach with recognition of the environment as an area of focus and awarded our first Programmes of Scale grant to a Rotarian-led programme that aims to greatly reduce malaria for severely affected communities in Zambia.

Even though our polio immunisation activities paused for a few months in 2020 because of the pandemic, they began to resume in midyear. We also were finally able to celebrate a huge step forward in our journey together to a polio-free world: the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaration that the African region is now free of wild poliovirus.

And the Otto and Fran Walter Foundation signed an agreement with us to fully fund the establishment of a Rotary Peace Center in the ­Middle East and North African region. This ­welcome development gives Rotary the opportunity to make a tangible contribution to an area where lasting peace has been so elusive.

Our accomplishments are a reminder that Rotary is a great force for good everywhere and that you are the reason we did not stop. At this writing, we’ve raised more than $282 million, putting us on track to reach our $410 million fundraising goal. The great work we have done this year, and the work we will do next year and in the years ahead, is all thanks to your support. On behalf of The Rotary Foundation Trustees, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping the Foundation — one of our greatest gifts to the world — thriving.

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K R Ravindran
Foundation Trustee Chair

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