I first discovered the value of service when I saw how a few simple acts can immeasurably change lives. It began when I joined others in my club for a project to bring toilets and clean drinking water to rural villages near our city. It moved forward when we promoted sanitation and provided opportunities for education across the country, thanks to generous gifts from supporters who believed in our projects as much as those of us on the ground did.
There is no better time of the year to be reminded of that generosity than November, which is Rotary Foundation Month.
As the charitable arm of Rotary International, The Rotary Foundation is the engine that powers so many Rotary projects throughout the world. The Foundation transforms your gifts into projects that change lives. It is the Foundation that helps us to get closer to our goal of eradicating polio, to show more people how we promote peace through tangible actions, and to demonstrate the impact our projects have in our areas of focus.
Consider some recent projects that were made possible by the Foundation:
- The Rotary clubs of Guatemala La Reforma, Guatemala, and Calgary, Alberta, received an $80,000 global grant to organize a comprehensive plan to train nurses and rural health care workers to prevent and treat cervical cancer and to implement a sustainable system of referrals in seven regions of Guatemala.
- More than two dozen hospitals in Honduras received personal protective equipment for their medical staff thanks to a $169,347 global grant sponsored by the Rotary clubs of Villa Real de Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and Waldo Brookside-Kansas City, Missouri.
- The Rotary clubs of Cotonou Le Nautile, Benin, and Tournai Haut-Escaut, Belgium, received a $39,390 global grant to provide agricultural training at an ecologically responsible permaculture mini-farm connected to a center for children in Sowé, Benin. This will help a new generation of farmers become economically self-sufficient.
I like comparing The Rotary Foundation to the Taj Mahal, a monument of one man’s love for a woman. The Foundation is a dynamic monument of our love for all of humanity.
This month I am asking all Rotary clubs to bring attention to the Foundation. It is what connects all Rotarians worldwide and transforms our collective passions into projects that change lives. Visit rotary.org/donate; once there, you will have an opportunity to give directly to the program you’re most passionate about.
Thank you for giving your all to Rotary. You are the reason that Rotary is able to do more and grow more. Let’s continue to represent that important legacy this month, this year, and beyond as we Serve to Change Lives.