The year 2012 is nearly gone, and we have reached the midpoint of this Rotary year. It is time to take stock of the goals we have set for ourselves, and the progress we have made toward them. Are we on track to achieve what we set out to accomplish?
I am a great believer in the importance of setting goals that are high but realistic. A worthwhile goal should be within your reach but still require you to stretch. Opening yourself to a new challenge helps you find out what you are really capable of – which may well be more than you think.
On 1 July, we will embark on our newest challenge as an organization: the full rollout of the Future Vision Plan, the new grant model for our Rotary Foundation. We in Rotary have set for ourselves a simple and vital goal: to do the most good we can with all the resources we have. To do this, we will be working to reduce overhead; to improve accountability, transparency, and local control; and to focus our service more intensely in the areas where we know we can have the most impact.
With Future Vision, we will implement a simplified grant structure that will encourage Rotarians to serve in our six areas of focus: peace and conflict prevention/resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, and economic and community development. These are areas in which Rotarians around the world have already been working for many years, and in which we have experience and a track record of project sustainability.
Sustainability will be a major focus under Future Vision, as we shift our emphasis to long-term, high-impact projects. Simply put, a sustainable project is one that will continue to benefit the world even after Rotary funding ends. The ultimate example of a sustainable project, of course, is polio eradication: When polio is gone, the good that we have done will continue forever, centuries after the last polio vaccine is given. And the lessons we have learned from PolioPlus are universal. A truly sustainable project requires an emphasis on planning and cooperation, a long-term perspective, and an approach that considers community members as partners in our service, not passive recipients.
Embracing Future Vision means embracing a more ambitious view of Rotary – one in which we work to address major issues in a serious, lasting way. It is a new way of thinking about our service, and an approach that I believe will lead to a Foundation more capable than ever of Doing Good in the World.