Rotary International Foundation is the backbone of Rotary. The Foundation has taken on global projects such as End Polio Now, to eliminate polio in the world. It also makes it possible for our club to do more in the international community to provide shelter, clean water, and literacy to people in emerging countries through grants and partnerships.
The Rotary Foundation of RI is a not-for-profit corporation whose 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.
In the year ended 30 June 2009, The Rotary Foundation received contributions totaling US$223.8 million and spent $187.8 million in support of humanitarian and educational programs implemented by clubs and districts and global polio eradication activities. Contributions go into one of three main funds:
• Annual Programs Fund, which provides grants and awards through Foundation programs
• Permanent Fund, an endowment from which only a portion of the earnings are spent in support of Foundation programs, ensuring the long- term viability of the Foundation
• Polio Plus Fund, which supports Rotary’s goal of a polio-free world
Every dollar contributed to the Foundation funds the humanitarian, educational, and cultural programs and program operations. Clubs and districts apply for and receive Foundation grants to carry out many worthy projects worldwide. The Every Rotarian, Every Year initiative, designed to encourage worldwide annual per capita giving of $100 or more, supports vital Foundation programs.
These programs promote international understanding by bringing together people from different countries and cultures.
• Ambassadorial Scholarships, an international program for university level studies, sends about 500 students each year to serve as ambassadors of goodwill while abroad.
• Rotary Peace Fellowships are awarded to individuals for study in master’s degree and professional certificate programs at one of the six Rotary Centers for International Studies in peace and conflict resolution.
• Group Study Exchange is a short- term cultural and vocational exchange program between districts in different countries for non-Rotarian professionals ages 25-40.
• Humanitarian Grants Program Humanitarian grants enable Rotarians to increase their support of international service projects that provide water wells, medical care, literacy classes, and other essentials to people in need. Rotarian participation is key to the success of these projects.
• Matching Grants assist Rotary clubs and districts in carrying out humanitarian projects with clubs and districts in other countries.
District Simplified Grants enable districts to support service activities or humanitarian endeavors that benefit local or international communities.
Eradicating polio is Rotary’s top priority. The Polio Plus program provides funding for mass immunization campaigns and support for social mobilization, surveillance, and laboratories to help carry out the final stages of global polio eradication. Rotarians have raised funds that will amount to more than $1.2 billion in support by the time the world is certified polio-free and have provided hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours. Rotary is a spear- heading partner with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in this initiative. As a result of their efforts, over two billion children under age five have received the polio vaccine, five million people who might otherwise be paralyzed are walking today, 500,000 new cases of polio are prevented each year, and the number of polio cases has declined by 99 percent worldwide.