Posted on Mar 20, 2024
Last Wednesday, Robin Steele, Chair of our International Projects and Grants Committee, reminded us how IPG puts our Foundation contributions to work around the world in support of Rotary’s mission - to do good in the world. Remember, IPG brings members' ideas to life, so keep them coming! The 7 areas of Rotary’s focus were listed on last week’s Rotogear.  Remarkably, Rotary Foundation’s reach is greater than that of the United Nations! Also, RI is among the most efficient nonprofits in the world – 92% of the money donated goes to the recipients because virtually all Rotarians are volunteers and the paid staff is small.
How are the funds used and how does the Fund grow? (The Annual Fund was the focus of Robin’s talk). Rotarian donations to The Annual Fund share is divided equally between the World Fund and the District Designated Funds (DDF). The money is held for 3 years (avg yield 3.2%) and then the DDF is returned to the districts to use for grants. Through district and RI matches and other club contributions, the RCFC contribution of $102,043 grew by 27x to $2,418,556 currently supporting 25 grants in 13 countries!
A few of the grants were highlighted. The first (Community/Economic Development) was a grant ($83,000) that supports microloans to women in Honduras. These loans are managed by an entity separate from Rotary that distributes the money and, when the money is paid back (95% compliance) it can be reloaned and thus create its own sustainability. Robin witnessed the results of this loan as the recipient converted her dilapidated house into a small convenience store
Next (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) was a large ($230,000) project in Ghana providing hand pumps, micro flush toilets and microloans impacting over 41,000 lives. This water distribution system allows children to go to school who were previously engaged working as water carriers. Next (Disease Prevention/Treatment) for $39,000 partners with Project C.U.R.E. to deliver between $350 & $400,000 worth of used medical equipment to Ngozi Hospital in Burundi.
Finally (under the title “seeing the impact firsthand”) a February trip to So Africa by Robin and Lucinda K as project evaluators - Lucinda took the mic and reminded us of the work she does with Uhambo/Shonaquip, an organization that provides community education and mobility assistance to children with disabilities throughout southern Africa. This includes a factory where adults with  disabilities make very specialized wheelchairs.  Multiple projects have been funded through Rotary.  Several months ago, we learned about a vocational training project when the So African team visited our club.  Robin then described the impact of a $50,000 grant that provided very specialized wheelchairs but also (perhaps more importantly) through education changed the views of community participants about disability thereby allowing the disabled to communicate and get an education. In addition, this grant provided physical therapist training on the new mobility devices. Another grant (Education and Literacy) provided $43,000 for education to mothers and care givers of children with disabilities on how to teach their children through play and specially designed stimulation kits. The third grant in So Africa was another Community/Economic Development grant for $36,000 (ILOVECOFFEE) which helps adults with hearing impairment become baristas, chefs, and bakers.
Robin concluded with a “thank you” video because our club participates at a high level. She asked for “every Rotarian every year” to give $100 to The Annual Fund. We thank Robin and her committee for all they do to help us fulfill our mission to do good in the world.