At the 1917 Rotary convention, outgoing Rotary president Arch Klumph proposed setting up an endowment 'for the purpose of doing good in the world' That one idea, and an initial contribution of $26.50, set in motion a powerful force that has transformed millions of lives around the globe.
The Foundation is Rotary's own and only charity supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.
During the past 100 years, the Foundation has spent $3 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects.
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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 Rotary Foundation relies on the enthusiastic support of Rotarians voluntarily giving generously of their time and money, and has become one of the foremost non-governmental foundations in the world. The educational support program is the largest private scholarship endowment in the world.
It is said that every minute of every day Rotary will touch the lives of millions somewhere in the world. The Rotary Foundation is one of the world’s leading charitable foundations and each Rotarian can be justly proud of its achievements in the past, present and in the future.
Polio Eradication remains a top priority for Rotary
In 1985 Rotary International started a campaign to immunise the children of the world against polio. Rotary is a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (the largest public health initiative the world has ever known) that has spanned 200 counties, utilised 20 million volunteers, immunised over 2 billion children, probably spared 5 million from disability and averted more than a million deaths.
This work has been given a tremendous boost over recent years through the generosity of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Founder of the Microsoft Corporation and a man of great personal wealth Bill Gates and his wife have pledged to use their wealth for the benefit of mankind. In June 2017 Bill Gates again committed up to $450M to suport the eradication of polio. Rotary must partially match this sum - which we are well on plan to do. This is amongst the largest of the challenge grants made by the Gates Foundation and is the largest contribution received by Rotary in its more than 110 year history.