It is good to see so many AKS members and major donors in the district. I’d also encourage individual Rotarians to give to the Foundation every year. TRF transforms your gifts into service projects that change lives around the world,” said trustee chair Ian Riseley at the TRF dinner hosted in Chennai by RID 3232. RI director A S Venkatesh, TRF trustee Bharat Pandya, PRID C Basker and DG N Nandakumar were also present. PDG Juliet accompanied Riseley on the India tour.
Increasing the number of Bequest Society members and generating contribution for the Polio Fund are two other aspects on his agenda. “Include the Foundation when you write your will. We are in no hurry to collect the funds. We want you to live a long, happy, healthy life. But it will be wonderful if you can leave a bequest for your Foundation,” he said.
He complimented Rotary India for its role in making the country polio-free. “RI is enormously proud of you. Back then people thought that India will be the last to eradicate polio, as with its huge population it would be difficult to manage immunisation.” Referring to Pakistan and Afghanistan, the last two polio endemic countries, he said, “We will have to finish up fast. I am tired of saying ‘this close’,” gesturing with his thumb and index finger.
TRF has spent $434 million during the last Rotary year for welfare projects, he disclosed. “This was made possible because of the generosity of donors.”
Earlier in the day Riseley inaugurated a dialysis centre, and visited an eyecare centre installed as part of the district’s ongoing Project Orange launched two years ago by PDG S Muthupalaniappan. Last year IPDG J Sridhar had initiated the setting up of 135 dialysis centres across 16 hospitals in Chennai. “These are fine examples of how funds from TRF can improve the world,” said the trustee chair, appreciating the facilities.
Ten of the district’s 12 AKS members were honoured. Riseley recognised PDG J B Kamdar, also an AKS member, with RI’s Distinguished Rotarian Award. Three Rotarians —DRFC B Dakshayani, Mahaveer Bothra and Devender Dev — committed to join the elite society with their generous contributions this year. The district will also see five new endowment gifts, one pooled endowment gift where 25 presidents of 2013–14 will pool in $1,000 each, four directed gifts and 10 major donors. Two Rotarians received the newly formulated End Polio pin for their individual contribution of ₹1 lakh.
Trustee Pandya recalled Rtn Ravishankar Dakoju and his mega contribution of $14.7 million to TRF in 2019, and Harshad Mehta, the first Indian to give $1 million to TRF when Pandya was DG in 2006–07. “Such Rotarians are so passionate about the Foundation that they not only give their money but also convince their friends and relatives to donate to TRF. It requires a heart to give, and the conviction that we are giving it to the right organisation,” he said and thanked the major donors and AKS members for their generosity.
An interesting fundraiser was organised for Polio Funds. Reputed artist A V Ilango’s two paintings were auctioned for ₹13 lakh and M S Dhoni’s helmet, which he wore when India won the World Cup in 2011, and a cricket ball autographed by Muttiah Muralidaran, Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble were both auctioned for ₹11 lakh.
DRFC B Dakshayani said that RID 3232, with its contribution of $2.52 million last year under the leadership of IPDG Sridhar, ranked third highest in TRF giving in the world.
RRFC John Daniel, EMGA advisor Madhav Chandran and EPNC Chinnadurai Abdullah also attended the meet.
TRF Dinner in Delhi
The TRF dinner organised in Delhi in honour of trustee chair Riseley’s visit had 325 delegates, including 35 AKS couples and 135 Major Donors. Trustee Pandya was the event convenor and PDG Deepak Gupta, the chairman. RIDEs T N Subramanian and Anirudha Roychowdhury, and governors from nine districts attended the event. Dakoju pledged to create an endowment of $1 million (₹8 crore) through RC Ghaziabad Sapphire, RID 3012, and promised to contribute $250,000 as part funding for environment-related global grant projects through the club.
Trustee chair Riseley congratulated the AKS members, many of whom were upscaling for a higher level, and greeted the new members. There was significant commitment from the Mohindru family. Inspired by AKS couple Amita, past president, RC Delhi City, and Anil Mohindru, his brother Sanjeev Mohindru (RC Delhi Ashoka) and son Siddharth (RC Delhi Regal) signed the pledge to become AKS members and gave the initial cheque for $150,000 each to TRF. Enthused, their friends Poonam and Ramesh Juneja of Mankind Pharma too committed to become AKS members.
Rajesh Gupta (RC Delhi Rajdhani) signed up to join the Foundation Circle with a commitment to contribute $1 million. Amita and Navdeep Chawla of the Psychotropics India, and RID 3110 DG Pawan Agarwal, entered the Chair’s circle by pledging $500,000.
The event saw 12 new Major Donors and creation of new endowments by AKS member Mukesh Sahu (RC Sagar Phoenix, RID 3040). AKS member Uday Pilani was recognised for inspiring his club RC Lake District Moinabad, RID 3150, to become the world’s first Promise Club with all its members signing up for TRF’s Pooled Endowment of $1,000 each.
Vidhi and Nidhipati Singhania of the J K Group, Nagma and Dr S Farooq (Himalaya Wellness), Sangeeta and Harish Agarwal (G R Infra and Suncity Sheets), and Anita and Sumit Goyal (RDS Projects) were the other philanthropists to join the elite society.