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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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