November is Rotary Foundation month and the powers that be decided we needed to recognize it


In 1917 the RI World President, Arch Klumph, had $26.50 left over from his world convention and he decided to set up an endowment fund "for the purpose of doing good in the world".  By 1928 it had grown to more than $ 5000 and RI decided to rename it The Rotary Foundation        To this day it is the only official charity of Rotary International and is now one of the world's largest philanthropic trusts.  It is in fact probably Rotary's greatest achievement.


The great depression and the second world war impeded the Foundation's growth but after the war the need was there, more than ever,  for world peace and the Foundation became the ideal forum for Rotary's part in that goal.


The mission of The Rotary Foundation was then created to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.


With death of our founder, Paul Harris, in 1947 the concept of the Foundation took off in leaps and bounds and contributions began pooring into the fund from all around the world.  Upon his death some clever marketing created the "Paul Harris Fellow' recognition and the idea was soon embraced by all Rotarians.    For the donation of $1000 you can be named as a Paul Harris Fellow


In Australia clubs started using this as a great way to recognize and highlight the efforts of particular Rotarians, but in other countries, particularly USA, Japan and Korea, Rotarians started buying them as if there was no tomorrow - and they are still doing it!


Today there are more than 1.1 million Paul Harris Fellows around the world - and the smart marketing continued as you can purchase a sapphire pin for your PHF for an extra $ 1000 up to a maximum of five, and now they even have ruby pins for $ 1000 up to a maximum of three.


In the last 90 years the Foundation has received contributions to the staggering total of more than one billion US dollars


But of course it does not only derive its funds from Paul Harris Fellow recognitions - it has many other  ways in which contributions are made -


Firstly Direct club contribution is the greatest source of funding as most clubs around the world make an annual donation from its allocation of fund raising activities.


Then there are the Major Donors - individuals or families donating more the $ 10,000 receive a diamond pin, $ 25,000 a 2 diamond pin, $ 50,000 a 3 diamond pin,$100,000 a 4 diamond pin,  $500,000 a 5 diamond pin and $1 million receive a 6 diamond pin



Today there are 10,336 major donors - many in the higher categories


Incidently all the figures quoted in this address are in US dollars


There arealso Benefactors - people who bequeath more than $ 1000 in their will - many of these are done anonymously and quite often the Foundation receives unexpected surprises


And then there are Sustaining Members - Any one who contributes $ 100 per year  - this is the one we recently were urged by the District to take up as a club - there is a serious push in our District for clubs to become 100% sustaining member clubs


And finally Arch Klumph Society Members - any one who contributes $ 250,000 or more becomes a member of this exclusive club and his/her photo is displayed permanently in the halls of RI headquarters - believe it or not there are currently 210 photos hanging on the walls


Before we leave the funding side of the Foundation it is important to remember that the funds  donated now to the Foundation are not used  for three years.    After three years they are used half as District Designated Funds to be controlled by the Districts around the world and  the other half stays in the world fund to provide the funding for the programs we are familiar with and I will outline those shortly.


The Rotary Foundation is one of the few charitable organizations where none of the funds donated are used to meeting the running costs of the organization, including fund development.

These costs are met by the interest earned through the investment of the funds for that three year period.   This means that when you donate to the Foundation every single $ of your funds is going to invest in the needs of "doing good in the world"


Mention investment these days and you become jittering.  With millions invested has Rotary and its Foundation lost anything during the global meltdown.    As a PDG I have received the following statement  from the RI General Secretary and I quote:


"Both the Rotary Foundation and RI investment portfolios have only minor exposure to the companies that were taken over by the US Government (ie Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG)

or Lehman Bros who went broke.


Although RI has some insurance coverage placed with AIG ,  AIG's insurance businesses are safe in that they are separate legal entities closely regulated both state and federal agencies.

Both The Foundation and RI have strong cash balances and year to date revenues from sources other than investments are ahead of last year.


All monies in the Polio Plus Fund is invested in US treasuries, the safest securities available.

Both RI and the Foundation have adequate reserves to operate without having to sell investment securities at a loss" - end of quote.


So much for the funding of the Foundation - now lets look at what it does with all that money                                                                                                                                                      


Through Foundation grants and programs Rotarians can help change the world.  They can finance a well for a village that lacks clean water, or provide scholarships to educate the next generation.

The grants and programs available to Rotarians allow them to realize Rotary's humanitarian mission throughout the world including its number one goal of eradicating polio.


Polio Plus is probably Rotary's biggest ever challenge and the Foundation's greatest effort and did you now it came from a vision of an Australian Rotarian - Past World President Clem Renouf in 1979 asked if Rotary could rid the world of a disease and so it began.   By 1985 it was up and running after every club around the world raised the initial funds to start.  To date over 2 billion children have been vaccinated and there are only four endemic countries remain - Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.  


99% of the the job is done, but we must continue with our efforts to the end and now with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation  with its  "$ 100 million Challenge" in which it will provide that amount if Rotary does the same by December 2010, I believe the Foundation has the mechanism in place to achieve the ultimate success.     The Foundation's investment in this activity alone is in excess of $ 700 million.   It is interesting to note that in 1988 at the start of Polio Plus there were 350,000 known cases of polio in the world - today it is just 1300    However we must continue with the immunization of the children of the world  to stop it gaining a hold again.



There are basicallytwo categoriesof Foundation Grants Humanitarian Grants and Educational Grants


Humanitarian Grants include


Disaster Recovery - which allows Rotarians to donate money in response to specific disasters.  Funds are distributed to local committees to support recovery efforts.  The Foundation currently administers several recovery accounts including Hurricanes in USA, Guatemala and Mexico, Earthquakes in India and Pakistan - total contributions to these accounts is currently $ 6.4 million


Health Hunger and Humanity Grants (3H Grants) - again an Australian initiative - they fund large scale, two to four year projects that improve health, alleviate hunger, or promote human development.  Since 1978 more than 280 projects in 75 countries have been funded through this program at a cost of $ 74 million.


District Simplified Grants are basically District grants where a District can apply to use up to 20% of its District Designated Fund to support projects both local or international        Since this program began in 2003 more than 1160 grants have been awarded in 60 countries at a total cost of

$ 17 million.


Matching Grants are a popular scheme which supports international humanitarian service projects.  They enable Rotary Clubs and/or Districts from two countries to work together to implement a project.  Australian clubs have supported projects both in Australia and overseas.

Since its beginning in 1965 more than 24,000 Matching Grants in 167 countries have been funded at a total cost of more than $ 257 million.


Volunteer Service Grants - again these are basically District orientated where support is given

for  the international travel of qualified Rotarians and their spouses to provide a needed service or plan a necessary project in a community.   This program only started in 2006 and already more than 200 projects in over 40 countries have been funded to the tune of just over $ one million


The other activities are the ones we probably are more familiar with and that is the Educational Grants - these include:


Group Study Exchange is one of our most popular.   This is a unique cultural and vocationalopportunity for business and professional people between 25 and 40 who are in the early years of their professional lives.  The program provides travel grants for four to six weeks for teams of professionals to exchange visits between paired Districts in different countries.  Each team, usually 4 or 5, is composed of non-Rotarians and led by a Rotarian      This program is close to our club as we have had in the past, team members sponsored by our club, a team leader to France in Howard Randall and now a District Committee member in John McDonald.


Since its inception in 1965 more than 57000 individuals (almost 12000 teams) from 100 countries have participated at a cost of more than $ 92 million.


You may wonder how the countries of exchange are selected.  It is a bit like the AFL trade week.

When the DG goes to the International Assembly for his training week he tries to pick up with the country of his choice - but it does become a bit of a frenzy as each District only gets one go.

I was lucky enough to get my third choice of Sweden.


Ambassadorial Scholarships .  The Foundation sponsors one of the largest international scholarship programs in the world.   Scholars study in a different country, where they serve as unofficial ambassadors of goodwill.  Their expenses are met by the Foundation in conjunction with the Rotary District where they are studying.  This was the first program of the Foundation way back in 1947 and since then more than 47,000 scholars from 110 countries have received scholarships of more than $ 476 million.  These scholarships are usually for an academic year

although some Cultural Scholarships are for three to six month periods


As an aside during my year as DG I had a delightful young lady in Christy Parker studying at Deakin.   Two years later we went to Washington and Christy traveled three hours by car early in the morning to meet our plane. She spent the day showing us the sights of Washington until quite late when she dropped us back at the airport for her three hour trip back to Virginia.  She said it was a small sacrifice for the outstanding year she had in Geelong.


My talk tonight has produced a lot a figures and I make no apology for this - it is necessary so that the full magnitude of the Foundation can be realized.


In closing let me make a couple of points:


Many Rotarians feel all the money we as Australians give to the Foundation goes to the USA and never comes back to benefit our region.

This is totally wrong as 100% of  our monies remain in the region.  All our donations go through the Australian Rotary Foundation which is an arm of the main fund ( administered by Australian trustees) and in fact quite often we ask the world headquarters for additional funds.     I think this misconception is the reason behind the Australia becoming one of the few countries that saw a decrease in contributions in 07/08.      Our donations fell by 3.5 % or adjusted for the exchange rate we fell close to 10 %.     For all the good we gain from the Foundation as I have outlined it is imperative that we always put the Foundation high on our list of club donations and not just wait until we appoint someone as a Paul Harris Fellow.   After all we get back more than we give.


And the final point I wish to make is simply this -


Many Rotarians associate Rotary Australia World Community Service or RAWCS as it is commonly known as a Rotary Foundation program  - this is totally incorrect as it is a completely separate program run by Australian Rotarians.    Monies donated to the Foundation may be used for RAWCS projects, as a matching grant for example, but RAWCS itself is not a Foundation program.


Thank you for listening and continue to support our Foundation.


Presented by PDG Barry Lange