In November each year, Rotarians throughout the world take time to reflect on the work of The Rotary Foundation, the charity that sets us apart from other service organizations.
It is worth reminding ourselves of what the Foundation is all about – doing good in the world.  The key focus of The Rotary Foundation (TRF) for over 100 years has been around peace, health, education, poverty, community economic development, and supporting the environment. Through its unique funding model and its sheer scale, The Rotary Foundation enables 1.4 million Rotarians and Rotoractors around the world to imagine and implement local projects addressing global issues.

Why support Rotary’s charity?  Well, it delivers projects on a scale otherwise not possible. The Rotary Foundation’s District Grants enable Club projects to deliver greater impact and Global Grants to support critical causes around the world. These projects not only inspire yourselves as Rotarians but also in your community attract people who want to make a difference.

There’s no better time to celebrate last year’s clubs’ accomplishments than during Foundation month.  Friday, November 11, 2022, as a part of our Service Symposium weekend, we will be acknowledging the accomplishments of our clubs and club members at our Foundation dinner. 

Every now and then, it seems beneficial to explain a little about TRF as there is some confusion amongst District Rotarians as to the purpose of TRF. Some of this is due to the fact that many of our clubs have their own foundations, separate from TRF.  Many of these club foundations serve specific purposes; possibly to fund scholarships or for members to make donations to their clubs and possibly benefit from a tax deduction as most of the club foundations are 501c3s. 

TRF is the financial giving arm of Rotary International.  It is a Charity Navigator four-star charity; the highest rating they give charities. TRF has many programs including Polio Plus and Disaster Response that are supported by our donations. Specifically, the Annual Fund is what I will be referring to now.

The Annual Fund is the fund that club members may donate to that, partially, is returned to District clubs.  Of the money that is donated to the annual fund by a District's members in a specific Rotary year, one half of those funds are returned, in three years, directly to the District. Our District uses half of those returned funds to distribute back to clubs as District Designated Funds (DDF) for club-specific grant requests, either individually by club, or grouped together with other clubs for larger projects. 

Clubs are awarded funds based on certain criteria, including, but not limited to, the total budget of the project, the percentage of the total cost the club is asking for, and the total funds available and how much clubs are requesting. The remaining half is used by the District for contributions to Global Grants and other Rotary programs.  I hope that has helped with your understanding of how clubs interact with TRF.

DG Larry Palant