By Ray Klinginsmith, Trustee Chair 2015 – 16
The numbers are impressive: Rotary comprises more than 35,000 clubs with 1.2 million members in 200 countries and geographic regions. It’s big enough to be a major partner in the eradication of polio, the largest health initiative ever undertaken!
Despite its size and reach, Rotary is accessible to members through their individual clubs, which provide outstanding opportunities for friendship, fellowship, and networking at the local level. As a result, most Rotarians think of their involvement as primarily local, with ideas for service projects limited to their communities. They should recognize that, with the assistance of The Rotary Foundation, the sky is the limit!
Every great idea in Rotary has started in the mind of an individual. Even the success of End Polio Now can be traced to a few notable Rotarians around the world: Clem Renouf of Australia, for example, proposed a large corporate project to increase Rotary’s visibility, while U.S. Rotarian John Sever identified polio as a worthwhile target. Each had an idea that was accepted and supported by other Rotarians, and polio will soon be eliminated from the world as a result.
When Rotarians begin to think of service projects beyond the size and scope of their clubs, they have access to district and global grants from The Rotary Foundation. They also have access to a team of Rotary volunteers at the district level, starting with their district governors and district Rotary Foundation chairs, to help them along the way. They also have the support of regional leaders, including the regional Rotary Foundation coordinators, and the entire Rotary staff in Evanston, Ill., and in the international offices.
Who knows where the next great ideas for Rotary will come from? Since Rotary is a grassroots organization, they are likely to come from individual Rotarians. It behooves all of us to encourage good ideas within the six areas of focus and direct local Rotarians with good ideas to The Rotary Foundation’s resources. After all, it is the mission of the Foundation “to enable Rotarians” to do good in the world!