The Rotary Foundation (TRF), an endowment fund created in 1917, has been funded since inception by members of Rotary Clubs throughout the world. Its assets currently exceed US$1billion.
TRF provides Rotarians with financial backing through a system of global grants that helps them support humanitarian or other sustainable worldwide projects that have a minimum budget of $30,000. Over $1million a day is currently expended on qualifying projects.
Rotary in Harpenden raise money from the public on our own account by running events such as Classics on the Common (www.classicsononthecommon.com). Some of that money is used to support projects that attract global grants, predominantly humanitarian causes overseas. Where we do not have sufficient financial resources to fund projects on our own we have successfully persuaded friends from within the greater Harpenden community to add their financial support. Here are some examples:
- Two cataract projects in India, funded with the help of another Rotary Club and a global grant.
- Three water and sanitation projects at children’s schools in Malawi. Each was supported with money raised by our local schools, both state and private, and increased overall through the global grant process by a factor of between 2.8 and 3.
- Two projects in Uganda to help refurbish hospitals. With support from our local schools the funds raised were again increased, though the global grant process, by a factor of 3.
- Currently underway is a third Ugandan project for equipping an operating theatre at Kyengera Women’s Hospital. We had the task of finding US$5,000 to get the $30,000+ project off the ground, spurred by the promise of a TRF global grant of $25,000 if we achieved that target. This we did. Almost half of that initial sum was raised with the support of our schools and a local charity. The balance was generously donated by The Developing World Group (DWG) of our Lady of Lourdes Church in Harpenden. Given the importance of this project, TRF has granted a further $9,000, enhancing our $5,000 “seed corn” to $39,000, a staggering 780% increase on the ground in Uganda, where it really counts. That is not all. DWG have asked for further specific proposals so they can consider offering more finance to help equip the hospital theatre.
TRF also helps us fund smaller projects up to £1,000, This has enabled us to reciprocate, in some small way, the support the schools have given us for over 20 years through the Rotary Shoebox Scheme (www.rotaryshoebox.org), buying them dictionaries, helping them to restock their libraries and, in the case of a senior school, providing advice on mental health issues (One Life Lost Is Enough “OLLIE” (www.theolliefoundation.org).
Over the past 12 years, working alongside friends in the local community, Rotary in Harpenden have invested £37,000 in overseas projects which, with TRF support, has been increased to £80,000. Working within the strict framework of the TRF process we would welcome proposals from the community that would enable us to continue to “do business” together on further, much needed, causes.
Find out more on the Rotary Foundation website.