Ni hao, Rotarians!
As I write this message, the world is in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to dedicate this column to the ways that Rotary members, as people of action, have helped and can help, and share what we are doing at the Foundation to support you.
Rotary has long been a leader in fighting disease and advancing health. The polio infrastructure that Rotarians have helped build is being used to counter the new coronavirus, in addition to serving countless other health needs. In many countries, polio volunteers have been deployed to address COVID-19.
Rotary clubs and districts have mobilised quickly to curb the spread of the virus. In Italy, clubs in District 2080 are raising funds to purchase ventilators and protective gear for overcrowded hospitals. In Hong Kong, Rotary clubs have packed medical supplies, raised funds, and visited public housing buildings to distribute masks and hand sanitiser. Rotary clubs in Akwa Ibom state, Nigeria, conducted a COVID-19 awareness campaign.
At the Foundation, the Trustees took swift action to support your work. You can use district grant funds to support local activities, such as purchasing protective medical gear for health workers. You can repurpose previously planned activities as a COVID-19 response, or reimburse COVID-19 activities dating back to Mar 15 in your district’s 2020-21 district grant.
Due to your generosity to our Foundation, the Trustees were able to quickly approve millions of dollars for the Disaster Response Fund to make a multitude of disaster relief grants immediately available for club and district projects related to COVID-19 relief efforts.
As this Rotary year ends, our fight for the cause of public health is at a critical point. We must overcome COVID-19 and continue to build on the many decades of programmes and projects of our Foundation. If you have not already done so, please do whatever you can to help by making a year-end contribution to our Foundation. Your gift has never been so important.
When I think of Rotary members truly making a difference in their communities, I remember what the great Laozi once taught us about leadership: “A leader is best when people barely know he exists. When the work is done… they will say: We did it ourselves.” The world depends on us to lead, and for your leadership, I will be forever grateful. Thank you for your past, present, and future leadership and support of our Foundation.
Gary C K Huang
Foundation Trustee Chair