Thank you and keep dreaming big

Every June, we in Rotary look back at our accomplishments and plan for what’s next. For me, this month is the end of seven years in Rotary ­leadership that began as ­president-elect of RI.

It’s remarkable how far we have come during that time, and how much we’ve done through The Rotary Foundation. We wouldn’t be where we are without your support and without you dreaming big.

A few months back, I saw these big dreams when I visited a hospital in India where doctors perform 4,200 paediatric heart surgeries a year thanks to a global grant. I will never forget the hospital in Taiwan where ambulances funded by another Foundation grant have doubled the ­survival rate for heart patients. And these examples barely scratch the surface; your Foundation awarded 1,098 global grants during the 2022–23 Rotary year. Think about the scale of that work — the magnitude of our impact.

Our Programs of Scale initiatives around the world are more proof of how big dreams are becoming reality. We have grant recipients working to end malaria in Zambia, reduce the mortality rate of mothers and infants in Nigeria, and eliminate cervical cancer in Egypt. Soon, our fourth Program of Scale will get started, dedicated to sustainable farming in India.

Through your support, our dream of spreading peace is growing, with the Otto and Fran Walter Rotary Peace Center set to welcome its first students at ­Bahçeşehir ­University in Istanbul next year. And if we hadn’t ­envisioned a ­better world and supported PolioPlus, would it have been ­possible that Nigeria would be declared polio-free, as it was in 2020?

This is why your support of the Foundation is so ­critical. We set an ambitious fundraising goal of $500 million this year. We are well on our way to reaching the goal, and with the support of everyone reading this we’ll make it. I’m especially counting on Rotary members who have not yet contributed. Whatever you give, know that your gift will make a difference, whether it’s for polio eradication, literacy initiatives, peace education, or any other area in which Rotary excels.

These seven years have been a fantastic run for me. I have met so many passionate leaders in Rotary, Rotaract, Interact, and other members of our Rotary family. You have all inspired me with your drive and the big dreams you dare to dream.

All I can do is say thank you. I can’t wait to see how far those Rotary dreams will take us in the years ahead.

Barry Rassin
TRF Trustee Chair

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