I remember the moment clearly. A President-Elect attending my first President-Elect Training Seminar (PETS) said in a provocative manner “Why should I donate to The Rotary Foundation, rather than my club’s foundation? I want to make a difference in my community, and use 100% of the contributions, not just a portion of the donations that are returned to the District.” I don’t recall the facilitator’s response, but I do know that the person that asked the question was not persuaded by the answer. I now have my own answer to the question. But first, let me give you a little background. I joined Rotary for the business networking opportunities, and to ‘give back’ to the community I now call home, a small, rather impoverished, rural town in central North Carolina. When I asked a seasoned Rotarian, what projects the club conducted, the response was tentative and not very satisfying. He said that we participated in bell-ringing for the Salvation Army, provided free drinks during festivals and a couple of other small projects. I must say, I wasn’t very impressed. After having learned about foundation grants during PETS, I garnered the support of the club’s Board of Directors to apply for a District Grant, the first application in several years. We were awarded the grant and conducted a project that included more than 100 community members and benefited residents of a developing country. I was hooked! A project supported through The Rotary Foundation brought my community together in a worthy cause, while helping others in a distant country.
But, the question remained. Why support the Foundation, when the need is so great at home? Why not just support local projects? The answer for me, has developed over time and can be summed up as ‘both/and’ rather than ‘either/or’. The need is great, both here at home and around the world and through my contributions to The Rotary Foundation, I can address both. I am supporting projects close to home and in far off lands. I am also comforted knowing that the Foundation does a superb job of managing the funds, with more than 90% of contributions supporting programs, projects which are determined to be both effective and sustainable.
Won’t you join me and support The Rotary Foundation, for the next 100 years of ‘Doing Good in the World’?