Last July, at a convention in Seoul, South Korea, Rotary International began what would be the year-long celebration of the centennial anniversary of The Rotary Foundation. The celebrations will culminate in June 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia – where it all began – to commemorate TRF’s 100 years of Serving Humanity.
In 1917, RI Pres. Arch Klumph established The Rotary Foundation with the purpose of “doing good in the world” and an initial endowment fund of only US$ 26.50. Today, 100 years later, the Foundation has spent some $3 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects in an effort to make lives better in countless communities throughout the world.
It is safe to say, perhaps, that no single club in the world has had as much impact in helping overcome humanity’s need and facing it challenges. And this is largely due to efforts and projects of TRF. “The Rotary Foundation is the most visible expression of Rotarian generosity – a generosity that not only brings benefits but also brings help and cooperation to solve the problems that affect mankind,” said Paulo V. Costa, 1995-96 Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair.
As we all know, the TRF is funded by the contributions of Rotarians all over the world. No matter how big or small, our donations have, collectively, transformed the TRF into a powerful force for good supporting sustainable service projects “to provide clean water, fight disease, promote peace, provide basic education, and grow local economies.” Rotary’s fight to eradicate polio worldwide is almost done at 99.9%.
Rotary is founded on service to others and giving is one of its virtues. As the year-long, world-wide celebration of this 100-year journey for the good of humanity continues, let us ask ourselves: Have we done something good for mankind today? Have I given of myself for the benefit of others? Have I given enough? What is enough?
As former British Prime Minister Winston S. Churchill said: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”
The celebration in Seoul last July was envisioned to kick-off a continuing celebration of the historic milestone by our clubs around the world: Celebrations that will generate among Rotarians a sense of pride and a continuing commitment to the goals of the organization; Activities that are also intended to make sure that other people in every community know about the vital work of Rotary and its Foundation.
Has your club become a part of this wondrous rite of passage? Have our clubs celebrated TRF’s 100th birthday? If not, there is still time to do so and there are many ways by which to do it. I trust that our All-Star Team has that creativity and enthusiasm to respond resoundingly to this call.
The TRF has set a target of raising US$ 300 million this year to kickstart its journey towards the next 100 years of continuing service to humanity. So far, over US$ 170 million have been raised. But clearly there is still a long way to go. Have we already contributed to this effort?
Past RI President and 2016-2017 Trustee Chair Kalyan Bannerjee said, “Now is the time to enable our Foundation to serve humanity for centuries to come, by making sure it is financially strong and remains recognized internationally for its good work.”