What is the Rotary Foundation?   As a novice Rotarian I was often quite mystified by the The Rotary Foundation.   Hearing Rotarians speak about the TRF---- I knew that it was important to who we are as Rotarians----but quite honestly, I just didn’t quite get it.   Now I do!

Call it age, wisdom, learning, or old fashioned appreciation….I now realize our Rotarian predecessors had a vision for how to create a Foundation ----a source of funds -----that could annually seed the work we do through our District and Global grants.   The Rotary Foundation Mission is “To enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.”  When ‘we’ contribute we pool our resources so that we can fund initiatives with other Rotary partners throughout the world-----initiatives that are sustainable, transparent, and accountable----initiatives that make a difference in one of six ‘Areas of Focus’ identified by Rotary International.   We are fortunate in District 5020 to have two remarkably dedicated Rotarians, Howard Svigals (Gig Harbor Midday) and Lorna Curtis (Oak Bay) who have been travelling to Rotary Clubs to increase understanding and awareness of The Rotary Foundation.   Their presentation is clear, engaging and sincere.   They have helped motivate and inspire many Rotarians.


How does Rotary recognize contributions?   I have always believed that the ‘design’ of The Rotary Foundation (TRF) is ingenious.  Each year Rotarians as individuals and/or through club efforts, contribute to the Annual Fund----these donations whether to the Annual Fund or Polio Plus contribute to membership as a Paul Harris Fellow.   A Paul Harris Fellow is someone who has contributed over U.S.  $1 000 or has earned contributing points (in lieu of dollars).   Each time a Rotarian contributes U.S. $1 000 …. another ‘+’ level as a Paul Harris Fellow is achieved.  As an example,  a Paul Harris + 2…..reflects a contribution of $3000 (in dollars, points, or combination).  


How are the Foundation dollars used?   The PolioPlus contributions are put right to work to support the End Polio Now Campaign.  The Annual Fund dollars collected annually are invested for three years.   In concert with the earnings from the Endowment (Permanent Fund), 50% of these dollars are returned to our District after three years to leverage our Global and District grant initiatives.   The other 50% is used by the Rotary Foundation World Fund to leverage Global Grants, Scholarships, the Rotary Peace Centers, and humanitarian efforts.   Quite literally,  the dollars are multiplied----often through matching world fund or government dollars----giving us a significant increase in our initial investment.  As a District Governor, I would love to see us be able to contribute $200 / per capita to the Annual Fund as Rotarians of District 5020 ---- in short about 20 / month.    Last year our Annual Fund per capita giving was U.S. $160.82.       


Why should we give to The Rotary Foundation? The best….most heartfelt…. answer to the question lies in the sustainable imprint these TRF dollars can have ---- the difference they make in lives.   Ask any individual or community that has benefited in some way and the answer to the ‘why question’ will be that it is life changing.   Our privilege enables us to ‘give through Rotary’ to truly make a difference.   It is our Public Image capturing images through video or photo and our repeated stories that become our best means of explaining and feeling ‘why’ it is important to support The Rotary Foundation.   Our dollars make our projects possible.    More hearts, more hands, more dollars give us greater ability to collectively initiate aid projects that support our local and global communities.  In the end it is a vivid reminder that we are united in ‘service above self’.  


How can we give to The Rotary Foundation?  ----just a few sample ideas

  • Sign up for ‘Rotary Direct’ ---- giving a certain amount at regular intervals that you determine…..   It becomes part of your budgeting.   Ask your Foundation Chair ‘how’!

  • Develop a collection system for your club----coin boxes, a regular Foundation desk…… whatever serves as a reminder

  • Become a Paul Harris ‘Society’ members who commits  U.S. $1 000 per year

  • Determine what is required to achieve the next level of Paul Harris ….and plan how to achieve that goal

  • Hold a celebration evening that honors Paul Harris Fellows----and honour what your dollars have achieved

  • Host a speaker who can provide information and answer questions----someone who ultimately inspires us in our recognition of what the Rotary Foundation is able to do

In short…..”move the needle forward”----in a way that works for you and benefits others.


Thank you for taking time to read or to share this bulletin.  And thank you for continuing to believe in the goals that we as Rotarians are able to set and to achieve.   


Congratulations to District 5020 Annual Fund (per capita giving) Award Winners!

1.  Gateway---- Thurston County ……   $652.57

2.  Gig Harbor North ……$600.00

3.  Lacey ……$492.10


District Governor Craig Gillis



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