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 is a not-for-profit corporation that is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.
The Foundation was created in 1917 by Rotary International’s sixth president, Arch C. Klumph, as an endowment fund for Rotary “to do good in the world.” It has grown from an initial contribution of US$26.50 to more than US$117.9 million contributed in 2004-05. Its event-filled history is a story of Rotarians learning the value of service to humanity.
The Foundation’s humanitarian programs fund international Rotary club and district projects to improve the quality of life, providing health care, clean water, food, education, and other essential needs primarily in the developing world. One of the major Humanitarian Programs is PolioPlus, which seeks to eradicate the poliovirus worldwide. Through its educational programs, the Foundation provides funding for some 1,200 students to study abroad each year. Grants are also awarded to university teachers to teach in developing countries and for exchanges of business and professional people.
One of the most common ways for Rotarians to contribute to the Foundation is through direct donations of $1,000, which are recognize by designating the contributor a Paul Harris Fellow, and annual donations of $100 as a Rotary Foundation Sustaining Member.