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 not-for-profit corporation supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.
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. They have so far committed $355 million to Rotary's work as a 'challenge' - 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 104 year history.
This past year was one of major accomplishments for Rotary and your Rotary Foundation.
Extraordinary progress was made toward the eradication of polio. We made history when India was removed from the list of polio-endemic countries — leaving just Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan. A difficult road lies ahead, but thanks to the commitment and generosity of Rotarians and friends, we are confident that Rotary will lead the way toward a polio-free world.
We also expanded Rotary’s reach in new and effective ways by entering into partnerships with Mercy Ships and UNESCO-IHE. And we built on our record of humanitarian service by continuing our strong relationships with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, USAID, Aga Khan University, Oikocredit and the Rotary Peace Centers.
Over half a million young people worldwide participated in our New Generations programs. Their involvement in Rotary Youth Exchange, Rotaract and Interact clubs, and RYLA events helped them develop skills that they’ll need to become service-minded community and global leaders - and future Rotarians.
In 2012, The Rotary Foundation also earned top marks from several independent charity evaluators, including the American Institute of Philanthropy, Charity Navigator and the Wise Giving Alliance.
As we look ahead, we can be proud of all that Rotarians have accomplished. I am pleased to share the digital version of the 2011-12 Rotary International and Rotary Foundation Annual Report (click here), which offers a firsthand look at how Rotarians are working to improve the lives of people in need. I encourage you to review our annual report carefully, and to share it with others who may be interested in joining, partnering with, or donating to Rotary.
Thank you for helping Rotary achieve lasting change in your community and around the world.