Have you ever wondered – Why is November our Rotary Foundation Month?
It is well-established that The Rotary Foundation is the focus of attention in the month of November, and we try our best to publicise our Foundation programmes and to raise money to fund the programmes during the entire month! But why November?
The idea started in May 1956 when the RI Board designated the week of 15 November as Rotary Foundation Week. The designation was firmly in place by 1961 when I was a Rotary scholar in South Africa, and most of the southern African clubs featured programmes about the Foundation that week. I also observed the same focus when I returned home and joined the Rotary club in my hometown of Unionville, Mo.
Many of our clubs at that time scheduled low-cost meals at their meetings during Rotary Foundation Week and donated the savings to the Foundation. It was a good way to produce Foundation funds at a time when most contri- butions were still made by clubs, not by individual Rotarians. But why did the RI Board select the week of 15 November in 1956 and then expand it in 1982 to the whole month of November, starting in 1983–84?
My speculation is that the initial decision in 1956 was based on the realisation that many clubs in the Northern Hemisphere, particularly the large clubs, were not fully active during their summer months of June, July and August. Therefore, it was best to wait and give time for the clubs to educate their members each year about the Foundation. And since the Foundation contributions were coming from the clubs, it gave the clubs time to raise the money, but still send it to the Foundation in the first half of the Rotary year for investment purposes. It was a win-win situation for both the clubs and the Foundation!
Regardless of whether my speculation has merit, Rotary Foundation Month has been, and will continue to be, a critical factor in the success of our Foundation. It is the month that our clubs and districts continue the
tradition of educating our Rotarians about the amazing quality of our Foundation
programmes and seeking the needed contributions to make the world a
Our Foundation is a premier organisation, and it owes its success to the support of Rotarians, many of whom have gained their appreciation of Foundation programmes during the traditional emphasis on such programmes in November. The importance of Rotary Foundation Month should not be discounted, and I hope that all of our clubs will feature the Foundation
during the month of November. It is a significant and productive tradition, and
I encourage all Rotarians to take the time to attend their club and district
Foundation events this month. Embrace the tradition! Celebrate the Foundation!
Foundation Trustee Chair