I love Rotary for many reasons, perhaps most of all for the impact we make when we work together. There is really no other group like us.
In the last five years, The Rotary Foundation has helped 100 million beneficiaries. That is staggering.
But the need is great. There are countless more we could be reaching and supporting right now if we had the resources. We could reach twice as many in the next five years. And your fellow Rotaractors and Rotarians are ready to help. They’re hungry for more grants to help more people who need us.
That’s why, this year, The Rotary Foundation Trustees have set an ambitious goal for giving of $500 million, our highest ever.
This breaks down to $150 million for the Annual Fund to help fund grants and $50 million for polio eradication, to be matched by $100 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For the Endowment Fund and our future, we are targeting $60 million in outright giving and $80 million in commitments, totaling $140 million. And we want to collect $60 million in other contributions, such as direct giving, cash for global grants, and Disaster Response Fund donations.
To make this happen, we need all of you — each and every Rotarian and Rotaractor.
Did you know that over 80 percent of Rotary members make no contributions to PolioPlus, or that over 60 percent make no donation at all to The Rotary Foundation? For an organization of 1.4 million members, that means that nearly 1 million of us are not contributing each year.
Imagine the tremendous difference it would make if each of those 1 million could contribute just $25 a year. That would be $25 million we wouldn’t need to raise from our best donors.
We can all give something. That’s why I am asking each of you to set a goal to give what you can to The Rotary Foundation this year.
Never have we set such an audacious goal, but I believe that you, who make up Rotary, always respond to a challenge, especially when you see the difference we can make with those funds. We are part of an audacious organization, one that dreams big and makes our dreams a reality.
Let’s think bigger and differently this year, so we can meet our goal and do more to Create Hope in the World. In this way, we will make the Rotary year ahead an unforgettable one, not just for ourselves, but most importantly, for those whose lives we will soon touch.