By Jessie Harman. Rotary International Director 2021-23
Some of you will know that my path in Rotary has been a ‘membership’ path. As a Rotary Co-ordinator, and more recently as Chair of the Rotary International Membership Committee, I want to acknowledge how very important The Rotary Foundation is to our value proposition to members; to the reasons why people join and stay in Rotary.
We know from Rotary International research that there are at least two reasons people join and stay in Rotary and our Rotary Foundation is fundamental to them both.
Many people join and stay in Rotary to give back to their local communities. We are very proud of the projects funded through Rotary’s Foundation that make a difference in our own neighbourhoods. Projects like:
- School breakfast programs that ensure young people can focus on their learning,
- Little libraries dotted around our towns that encourage and celebrate the joy of reading,
- Fencing and pasture recovery projects that give hope to farmers affected by fire,
- Tertiary education scholarships that increase opportunities for young people from rural and remote communities, and
- Defibrillators on trams that may some day save a life.
There is a second important reason why people join and stay in Rotary – to give back to communities beyond their own. Again, our Foundation-funded projects are the way we make this happen. We are very proud of international projects, like:
- Teacher training programs, equipment and supplies that raise the capability of teachers in developing nations,
- Water, sanitation and hygiene projects that ensure villagers in remote regions are healthy
- and safe,
- Life changing cleft lip and palate surgeries that restore dignity and hope to children, and
- Our work to eradicate polio – so that no child in the future will ever have to experience the debilitating effects of this disease.
I think there is another reason why people join and stay in Rotary – to leave a legacy; to know that in some small way our lives have made a difference. Through our support of The Rotary Foundation we do just that.
This month, Rotary Foundation Month, I want to thank you for everything you do to support Rotary’s Foundation – for the funds you raise, the projects you initiate, and the positive outcomes you create. In the end, your support for our Foundation enables us to deliver on Rotary’s promise to its members – the promise of creating positive and lasting change in communities and ourselves.