Posted by Bill MacKay
Bill MacKay was pleased to have the opportunity of sharing information about one of Rotary's greatest assets -- The Rotary Foundation.  The Rotary Foundation transforms our gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world.  Since it was founded more than 100 years ago, the Foundation has spent more than $4 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects.
The mission of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International 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.  What impact can one donation have?  For as little as 60 cents, a child can be protected from polio.  Fifty dollars can provide clean water to help fight waterborne illness.  Five Hundred dollars can launch an antibullying campaign and create a safe environment for children.  Rotary is dedicated to six areas of focus to build international relationships, improve lives and create a better world to support our peace efforts and end polio forever.
  • Promoting peace -- Rotary encourages conversations to foster understanding within and across cultures.  Rotary trains adults and young leaders to prevent and mediate conflict and help refugees who have fled dangerous areas.  Rotary supports long-term peace building in areas affected by conflict and supports studies related to peace and conflict resolution.
  • Fighting disease -- Rotary educates and equips communities to stop the spread of life-threatening diseases like polio, HIV/AIDS and malaria.  Rotary improves and expands access to low-cost and free health care in developing areas.  As a founding partner of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary has reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent since the first project to vaccinate children in the Philipines in 1979.  Rotary has helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries.  So far Rotary has contributed more than $1.8 billion towards eradicating the disease worldwide.
  • Providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene -- Rotary supports local solutions to bring clean water, sanitation and hygiene to more people every day.  Rotary doesn't build wells and walk away.  Rotary shares their expertise with community leaders and educators to make sure projects succeed long-term.  Worldwide, 2.6 billion people lack access to improved sanitation facilities and 884 million do not use improved sources of drinking water.  This year, 2.2 million children will die from diarrhea and related diseases.
  • Saving mothers and children -- nearly six million children under the age of five die each year because of malnutrition, poor health care and inadequate sanitation.  Rotary expands access to quality care, so mothers and their children can live and grow stronger.  Rotary is determined to save more lives by providing women with better facilities in which to deliver their children, thereby reducing the mortality rate for children.
  • Growing local economies -- Rotary carries out service projects that enhance economic and community development and create opportunities for decent and productive work for young and old.  Rotary also strengthens local entrepreneurs and community leaders, particularly women, in impoverished communities.  Worldwide, 1.4 billion people live in poverty, less than $1.25 a day.  Rotary develops opportunities for decent and productive work, particularly for youth.
  • Supporting education -- more than 775 million people over the age of 15 are illiterate.  Rotary's goal is to strengthen the capacity of communities to support basic education and literacy, reduce gender disparity in education and increase adult literacy.  Education is one of the basic human rights.  However, access to that right is severely limited for many children and adults by factors that are out of their control.  Factors such as geographical location, gender, ethnicity, societal standing and language all contribute to children's and adults access to education.
The Rotary Foundation address all of the greatest educational and humanitarian needs.  Its world reach is greater than the United Nations.  Rotary can go where politicians and religious groups cannot.  The Annual Fund is the primary source of funding for the programs of The Rotary Foundation.  For Rotary to continue doing so much good in the world, it is necessary for Every Rotarian to participate in the programs and to support the Rotary Foundation Every Year.  If Rotary is to be there to teach children to read, build wells, feed the hungry, care for the sick, shelter the poor, then Every Rotarian is invited to support the Annual Fund with a personal contribution, Every Year.  Fifty percent of all Annual Fund - Share contributions come back to our District through District Designated Funds (DDF) in three years to spend on educational and humanitarian activities chosen by our Rotary Club.  The other 50% goes to the World Fund and is used to fund other Foundation programs in which our club can participate and is the source of matching funds we receive from our Foundation to implement some of our international projects.  There is a Giving Today option through a monthly giving amount or through a memorial or tribute to honour a loved one.  A Rotarian can donate through endowment.  The hope of the Rotary Club of Belleville is to achieve 100% member participation through the donation of $100 U.S. per member per year.
People join Rotary for a number of reasons.  However, a common thread among all Rotarians is the idea and concept of putting the needs of those less fortunate first (service above self).  Rotarians do this through commitment of time, expertise, coordination and financial contributions that result in humanitarian projects, vocational training and educational scholarships.  Rotarians are The Rotary Foundation.  Contributing to the Rotary Foundation each and every year is demonstrating your commitment to "Service Above Self" and a commitment to helping those in need.