By Kalyan Banerjee, R.I. Trustee Chair, 2016 – 17
Our Rotary Foundation depends on a strong and thriving Rotary membership. It is, after all, our members who provide the generous support that enables our Foundation to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. As important as that support is, it’s not the only contribution Rotarians make to our Foundation.
The Rotary Foundation has an unusual business model. Like many charities, we receive donations that we use to address a host of critical issues. Unlike most other nonprofit organizations, we depend on our members to develop relevant and effective service projects. Your volunteer labor stretches our contribution dollars and helps The Rotary Foundation to do much more with less.
The typical global grant requires hours of planning and budgeting before even one dollar is received or spent. Then the sponsors must purchase supplies, seek donated goods, set up bank accounts, organize volunteers, write reports, and monitor the project’s progress, all while working with Rotarians in another part of the world. Fortunately, our clubs have a wide variety of professional skills and talents to call upon throughout this process.
Smaller clubs may not have the financial or human resources to sponsor a global grant, even if their members share a strong commitment to the Foundation’s mission. Imagine what those clubs could accomplish with two or three times as many members.
As we celebrate Membership and New Club Development Month in August, let’s not forget the importance of quickly engaging new members in Rotary service. Make sure they know about the many opportunities our Foundation offers members to pursue their service interests, from promoting better health to providing training and education to bringing peace and stability to communities in need.
Through The Rotary Foundation, our members have a chance to use their skills to make a real difference. First, we need to bring those talented people into our ranks and engage them in our Foundation’s vital work to create a better world. And only we, the Rotarians, can bring in those new members. So it is up to us, really, isn’t it?