The Rotary Foundation


The Rotary Foundation is the charitable organisation of Rotary.

It is such an important part of what Rotary does that it has been described as:

the Engine of Rotary and also the Heartbeat of Rotary

The mission of The Rotary Foundation is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.

The Foundation is a non-profit corporation supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.

It is managed so that programs are funded from the interest earned on a very large sum that is invested, which through careful management, has been growing since the Foundation was established in 1917.

The Foundation works in a number of ways, some of the main programs are:

  • Polio Plus – an ongoing program to eliminate polio from the world
  • Humanitarian Grants Program
  • Educational Programs
  • Disaster Recovery

Although the Foundation is an international organisation, there is considerable scope for members of local Rotary Clubs to participate in the programs.

Some recent words from a recent Rotary International President:

“There are many ways to describe our Rotary Foundation. But I think of our Foundation literally – as the foundation for all of Rotary.

We do not often think about the ground beneath our feet. We do not often thonk about the walls that are holding up our house. We take them for granted. We think about them only when they are not there.

Not long ago in Japan, the ground fell out from under our feet. On Friday, 11 March 2011, a magnitude 9 earthquake shook Japan to its very core.

More than 15,000 people died, nearly 6,000 were injured and another 4,000 are still missing.

The total losses of the disaster are estimated at over US$300 billion.

In a matter of hours, half a million people in one of the world’s wealthiest and most developed countries lost everything. They went from living in comfort and security to facing an uncertain future in school gymnasiums, tents and ruined buildings.

In Japan we are used to earthquakes. We thought we were ready for anything. But no one ever expected anythong like this. But what happened on that day changed Japan and everyone who lives there. It has made us realise how fragile our lives are. And it has made me realise how little separates me from the people I help through Rotary.

It is easy to look at the people we help through our Foundation as somehow different from ourselves . They live far away. We do not know there language or their culture. We do not know what it is like to have no running water, no sanitation, no health care, no education. We look at pictures and we read stories in the news about poverty, wars and disasters. We see, from so far away, the people who are living through such terrible times. But it is hard to put ourselves in their place.

Today, I tell you that there is nothing at all separating us from the people we help.

We are all the same. Only the circumstances surrounding us are different.

Through our Foundation, we have the power to live the words of our Foundation’s motto:

Doing good things in the world

Through it, we can do so much more good than we could ever do alone. And it matters so much – to people just like us.”


Sukuji Tanaka – President Rotary International 2012-2013





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