Rotary International is a worldwide organisation with 32,000 clubs in almost every country of the world. It is committed to service for the communities throughout the world where it is established.
Rotary International set up Rotary Foundation as its own charity to help clubs undertake humanitarian and educational work where the impact is greater than the sum of their individual efforts. Although it is an international trust, it operates entirely through the clubs that form Rotary International. Thus the Foundation is Rotary in action, as an international humanitarian and educational NGO (non governmental organisation) with a mission to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.
With a global network of some 1.2 million volunteers from 200 countries, the Rotary Foundation is one of the world’s largest and most effective humanitarian organisations. Indeed, CNBC listed the Foundation in its top three charities changing the world in 2016. Since it was founded more than 100 years ago, the Foundation has spent more than $4 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects. Worldwide, Foundation delivers $250 million of support to humanitarian and educational projects. With additional funding and volunteer input from Rotary clubs, the total value of the programmes is substantially greater.
The Rotary Foundation is supported solely by contributions from the public, Rotary members and friends of the Foundation. Those contributions, gifts and donations are transformed into service projects that change the lives of thousands of people across the world. With 91% of funds spent on the programmes and projects it delivers, the Rotary Foundation is recognised for its financial efficiency, accountability and transparency.
PolioPlus has been one of its biggest initiatives and seeks to eradicate polio around the world. Since the programme’s start in 1985, Rotary and its partners have immunised more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries.
Each year, The Rotary Foundation gives $70 million worth of grants to Rotary clubs throughout the world for humanitarian projects, vocational training and scholarships in Rotary’s six main areas of focus:
Ranging from small-scale, short term activities to large, international projects, Rotary grants aim to strengthen global partnerships and provide sustainable and measurable benefits to communities.
Global Grants from The Rotary Foundation (as they are known) support over 1,000 projects every year. The Rotary Club of Oxford North has participated in a number of Global Grants, including most recently the VICTOiR Project to provide medical facilities in Togo, West Africa. This is in collaboration with one of our international partners, the Rotary Club of Lyon-Nord in France.
An important part of the Foundation’s work is to support Global Grant Scholarships for postgraduate study in one of the areas of focus outlined above. Thus the Thames Valley District 1090 of Rotary usually has between 20 and 30 Scholars studying at its universities.
The Rotary Club of Oxford North is host to one of these Scholars most years. In 2018-19, for example, we hosted Takeshi Mori from Tokyo, who studied for a Master's degree at the Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford University. The focus of his project was to reduce poverty and conflict through improved infrastructure in countries that had undergone war and conflict. From 2019-21 our Scholar is Stella Vieth, a trainee doctor from Kiel in Germany. She is studying for a Master’s degree at Oxford University in evidence-based healthcare for mothers and children in developing countries.