Today, we all face continuing challenges caused by the pandemic. But when it comes to handling this pandemic, we are people of action: people who create lasting change. Equipped with the resources of the Foundation, we can make a difference in thousands of communities throughout the world. Our efforts include, but are not limited, to:
- Ensuring the equitable distribution of vaccines
- Combating vaccine misinformation
- Slowing down the spread of the Covid virus.
So far, over $46 million have been used through global grants in the fight against Covid-19. We know that by June 30, 2021, our Foundation has raised and invested more than $5.5 billion for programmes that will have lasting effects in our communities. They will empower Rotary members to continue promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies all over the world.
This past Rotary year, we set an ambitious fundraising goal of $410 million. Rotarians rallied together and helped the Foundation surpass the goal and raise over $440.9 million. These funds have boosted our efforts to eradicate polio, empower peacebuilders from around the world and support member-led project implementation across our areas of focus through district and global grants. Thanks to the generosity of Rotarians and friends of our Foundation, we awarded more than $143 million towards global grants in 2020–21. Grants for polio eradication totalled $152.9 million.
The most important thing that Rotary members can do to continue the fight to end polio is to sustain our commitment towards polio eradication and this year, we are aiming high with the Building TRF Endowment: 2025 by 2025, initiative to build an endowment of $2.025 billion by the year 2025, while also supporting Covid-19 response activities.
I would like to emphasise on the need to enhance our engagement and leveraging of technology across Interact, Rotaract and Rotary club members and other Rotary participants. We need to increase collaboration among all participants, particularly between Rotary clubs and Rotaract clubs. Our Rotaractors are growing up in the digital era, and we must utilise their talent in finding new ways to connect despite the constraint of social isolation. Now is the time to invite Rotaractors to shape our future. I am sure that some of you have found creative and innovative ways to connect and serve, which we should maintain in the post-Covid era. Some clubs may adopt a new mix of online and in-person meetings, and of course one has the flexibility to do this if it works for their members.
At its best, Rotary provides a cradle for grassroots change. Whether it be PolioPlus, or global grants, it takes just an idea from one member to make a real difference. While thanking you for your outstanding service, I appeal to you to give what you can to The Rotary Foundation so that we can push forward the remarkable progress we have made for global public health.
The writer is a trustee of The Rotary Foundation