District 5280 Celebrates RI Foundation Centennial

The Rotary International Foundation is the $1 billion charitable arm of Rotary. To mark the centennial, Rotary aims to raise $300 million by July 2017 for its campaign to eradicate polio and for service in communities around the world. The District has completed many project through the assistance of the Foundation including a mobile mammogram truck in India, clean water in Niger, dental services in Colombia, and 1,000 stoves with proper vents in Guatemala.
The Foundation was established in 1917 with a donation of $26.50 and is dedicated to advancing world understanding, goodwill, and peace. Arch Klumph (photo: below left) is called the father of the Foundation because he had the vision of a Rotary endowment fund and the dedication to bring this dream to life.
As president of the Rotary Club of Cleveland, Ohio, in 1913, he advocated for the club to build a reserve that would ensure its means to do future good work. As president of Rotary International in 1916-17, he proposed this idea to a larger audience.
In his speech to the 1917 convention in Atlanta, he said: “It seems eminently proper that we should accept endowments for the purpose of doing good in the world, in charitable, educational or other avenues of community progress …”
Arch’s vision of an endowment would eventually become The Rotary Foundation, and his call for “doing good in the world” was to become the Foundation’s motto. But it would take some time for all of that to happen.
Through grants and other resources, Rotary members develop sustainable projects that promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, support education, save mothers and children, and grow local economies.
Rotary’s top priority is the global eradication of polio. Rotary launched its polio immunization initiative, PolioPlus, in 1985 and in 1988 became a leading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative along with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and more recently, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Rotary has contributed more than $1.5 billion and countless volunteer hours to eradicate polio. Through 2018, every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication will be matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, up to $35 million a year. Since the initiative began, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to less than 71 confirmed in 2015.
Through the Foundation, Rotary members find satisfaction in serving others. The Foundation offers countless opportunities for all members, alumni, and their friends to do good in their communities and in the world — and to make a real, life-changing difference for people in need.
And because of the Foundation, people around the world recognize Rotary as an agent of positive change in the world.
There are many ways that you can improve lives today and build a better future though Rotary:
  • Work with an international partner club to develop a project in one of Rotary’s six areas of focus and apply for a global grant
  • Participate in or support your club or district’s grant projects
  • Contribute to the Foundation to ensure it can continue to do good in the world for many years to come