How a simple school project in India became a global grant
Two years ago, U.S. Rotary members in Maine set out to improve the education system in Bikaner, Rajasthan, an Indian city near the border of Pakistan. The Rotary Club of Kennebunk Portside chose Bikaner because club member Rohit Mehta was originally from the area and had connections there. Mehta put the club in contact with Rotarians in India to provide desks for four government-run schools. But when community leaders returned with a request for more desks, the Maine Rotarians decided they had to think bigger. The Rotary Foundation had rolled out its new grant model, which required that the...
Korean sailor makes waves for End Polio Now
Enjoying calm winds and peaceful Pacific waters, Seung Jin Kim dove off his 43-foot sailboat, the Arapani, to swim with some dolphins nearby. The serenity that day near the equator was a stark contrast to the 60 mph winds and 23-foot waves he had to fight around Cape Horn, the southern tip of South America. But Kim, a veteran sailor and member of the Rotary Club of Seokmun, in Chungcheongnam, Korea, expected such challenges when he set out in mid-October on a 25,600-mile journey around the world. In addition to fulfilling a lifelong dream, Kim is using the trip to raise awareness and funds...
Monrovia club’s Ebola fight not finished
After the first cases of Ebola reached Liberia's capital, Monrovia, last June, local Rotary members feared that the city's limited health care system wouldn't be able to contain the highly infectious, often-deadly disease. Those fears were realized when infections quickly multiplied, underscoring the speed with which Ebola can spread in an urban center. It was the first time the hemorrhagic fever had threatened a major city since it erupted in West Africa last March. Now, after months of crisis-level response, and with the number of new cases declining, club members are looking to the long...
What's Happening Now!
on Mar 10, 2015
The Rotary Foundation: Why It’s Special
Teree Bergman, Past Rotary Governor (District 6580)
Assistant Regional Rotary Foundation Coordinator
As is true of nearly all Rotarians, I have belonged to and served on the boards of many worthy organizations: Big Brothers/Big Sisters, United Way, community foundations. I had only one rule in my service to those worthy causes: I am not good at raising money, so don’t put me in charge of fundraising. I served as a Big Sister, I donated time and talent to the others. But somehow, I have never been troubled by asking for donations to The Rotary Foundation. After some reflection, I think I know what the differences are between those other organizations and The Rotary Foundation.
The primary difference is that it is OUR Foundation. Why would you join a Rotary Club and not donate to our charitable arm? It’s different from asking outsiders for money (although I’ve done that, too, for The Rotary Foundation). If you ask a person the reason for belonging to Rotary, it is likely that the answer will contain some element that is related to The Rotary Foundation. She belongs because Rotary is eradicating polio. He belongs because Rotary is bringing clean water to a village and saving lives. She belongs because Rotary is giving the gift of literacy to children in the US and in other countries. He belongs because his club provided a playground for special needs children in his own community, using a District Grant.
Another difference for me is that the Rotary Foundation’s activities are personal. I got the opportunity to go to West Africa and put the precious drops into the mouths of babies and know that because of MY effort, those babies would not get polio. I have housed Group Study Exchange team members from Nigeria, from Brazil, from New Zealand in my home. I could see how their horizons were broadened, how their perceptions of the United States were changed by their experience. I have met team leaders who went to other countries and saw themselves as people empowered to solve local problems through Rotary Foundation grants. I was able to host Monica Kinyua in my home. She is involved with a wonderful peace initiative to bring together warring tribes in Kenya by helping the children to see that they are more alike than they are different.
Those experiences are powerful examples of how the Foundation touches lives. It is really clear to me that even if I can afford only $100 or $200 in a given year, my gift is multiplied into something really meaningful. The Rotary Foundation gives me the chance to make my small contributions turn into something much bigger, to be a part of an enormous humanitarian effort. Recently, I listened to Marilyn Fitzgerald tell her story of changing thousands of lives in Indonesia. Rotary enabled her to use her considerable skills in ways she never could have imagined had she not led that GSE team to Bali. Now, through our Vocational Training Teams, we are bringing even more concentrated resources to solve problems in places with great need.
The final difference I see is that unlike most large charities, The Rotary Foundation lets me help decide how my money is spent. I can apply for a grant through my Rotary Club for a project either at home or abroad. I can go to Africa and inoculate children against polio. I can house extraordinary people who are doing good in the world, cook them dinner, and learn about their work.
So, reluctant fundraiser that I am, I will gladly ask anyone to support The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. It is my charity of choice, and I believe strongly in its work.
Posted by Brenda Cressey
on Mar 03, 2015
Several members have begun to serve on the 2015-16 Committees for the Rotary Golf Tournament and the Winemaker's Cookoff. If you have an interest in getting involved please contact the chairs.
Rotary Golf Tourney: Rick Goree
Rotary Winemaker's Cookoff: Sharon Ross or Vicki Silva