Program: The Rotary International Foundation
At the 1917 Convention, Arch Klumph proposed an idea for an endowment dedicated to doing good in the world. Thanks to his vision and staunch advocacy, and the extraordinary generosity of Rotary members worldwide, that fund has become one of the world’s leading humanitarian foundations. The Rotary Club of Kansas City, Missouri, made the first donation of $26.50. The International Society for Crippled Children (Easter Seals) received funds from Rotary in 1922.
One focus was Children’s Health. Rotary purchased polio vaccine for children in the Philippines. Soon we were involved in building the polio eradication program. In 1985 the PolioPlus program is launched.
GPEI, originally composed of Rotary, the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF, is created to coordinate polio eradication work. Over the years, others joined the effort, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and governments throughout the world.
Another focus is the Rotary Peace Centers and Ambassador Scholars. This program develops leaders who become catalysts for peace and conflict prevention and resolution in their communities and around the globe. Currently there are over 1,000 Peace Fellow Alumni.
This year celebrates 100 years of The Rotary Foundation, all the while fulfilling our promise to the children of the world. $4.1 billion has been raised for and invested in Preventing Diseases, Improved Health, Community Development, Fostering Peace, Providing Clean Water and Sanitation, and Providing Education. Our club has donated over $800K.
Here are a few facts: 2.5 billion children have been immunized; 15 million cases of polio prevented; 1.5 million deaths averted; and $1.5 billion raised by Rotarians with $11 billion invested overall.
Good news: the last case of polio was reported on December 22, 2016. But we need to wait at 36 months before we can say polio has been eradicated. Therefore, we need to keep working until June 2020.
The Rotary Foundation is #3 in the top ten charities in doing good in the world.
Paul A. Netzel is founder and chair of Netzel Grigsby Associates Inc., a leading management consulting firm specializing in work with nonprofit organizations and institutions throughout the western United States. He served as mayor of Culver City, California, and president of Culver City’s Board of Education. He has held leadership positions in numerous local and national professional societies and not-for-profit boards, including the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Boy Scouts, Goodwill Industries, United Way, YMCA, and the Auto Club of Southern California Advisory Board.