July is the most exciting month in Rotary, a time for fresh starts and new beginnings. For many, it’s an opportunity to take on new leadership roles. Rotarians brim with optimism, thinking about the good we can do for humanity in the 12 months ahead.
As I write this message, I recall a quote often attributed to Helen Keller, a renowned American activist for people with disabilities: “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.”
How profound that a woman who was blind taught us such a powerful lesson about the difference between sight and vision. Indeed, it is one thing to see the world as it is, but entirely another to envision it as it could be. The Rotary Foundation is all about envisioning possibilities — and making them happen.
As we begin this Rotary year, I ask: what is your vision for the next 12 months? Could a community or region you know benefit from a grant from the Foundation? One probably could, and, as you read these words, many people in that community are waiting for our help and leadership.
We are still reeling from the challenges of serving the world during Covid-19, but we cannot let that or anything else stop us. Many educational and healthcare needs have only been exacerbated by the pandemic. The world needs us.
Beginning July 1, you can apply for Foundation grants supporting Rotary’s new area of focus: the environment. July also brings changes, such as the financial restructuring of the World Fund, that have been implemented with an eye toward sustainability. We are just beginning a year when we will continue our first Programs of Scale grant in Zambia, seek a home for our next Rotary Peace Center, and plan and implement district and global grants that will make positive impacts for generations to come.
To paraphrase the ancient Chinese philosopher Laozi, today we begin the journey of a thousand miles by taking our first step. Let’s walk together, looking forward, not to the past. Rotarians love a good challenge, so here’s one for us all: let’s challenge ourselves to think bigger this year and enlarge our vision of what we can and will do.
Make the Foundation a part of your vision for a better world, and you will see the world, and yourself, change.
John F Germ
Foundation Trustee Chair