The Foundation and the power of an idea Message from the Foundation Chair - July 2017


It seems like yesterday that I was 26 and a brand-new member of Rotary. When I missed my third meeting and failed to do a makeup, my sponsor sat me down and for the first time really explained the values of Rotary. I took his words to heart and haven’t missed a makeup since. Now, 49 years later, almost to the day — as a proud member of the Rotary Club of Los Angeles (LA5) — I am honoured and humbled to serve as Chair of the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation this year.

The Foundation started with a simple idea: to do good in the world. One ­hundred years later, we know the story of what ­happened — as we have learned during this year’s ­celebration of the Foundation’s centennial.

During those years, Rotarians have raised and invested more than $4.1 billion in ­thousands of programmes, projects and ­scholarships. In short, the Foundation is a living history of the power of one idea.
A Rotarian shares an idea with his or her club, and — with the help of grant money from the Foundation — amazing things happen.

This is an exciting time to be a ­Rotarian. It’s the first year of The Rotary Foundation’s second century, and we are on the verge of participating in one of the most ­amazing accomplishments in human history: the eradication of polio. Thirty-two years ago, PolioPlus began and served as a catalyst that engaged Rotarians and partners worldwide. Today polio is on track to become the second disease eradicated in human history. CNBC, a leading global media outlet, recently ranked The Rotary Foundation third on its list of the “Top 10 Charities Changing the World.”

In the coming months I look forward to discussing our Foundation goals for the next year and beyond. Share your thoughts with me at Ask yourself, “What can I do to help tackle an issue that’s near and dear to me?” How will you engage the Foundation to help you? Remember, all it takes is one person with an idea — along with a great organisation — and those ­timeless Rotary values I learned way back when it seems like yesterday.


Paul A Netzel
Foundation Trustee Chair

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