The start of a new Rotary year is always an exciting time. We have a new inspirational theme, new club officers and exciting new projects to work on. In 2016–17, we also have a very special occasion to celebrate: the 100th anniversary of our Rotary Foundation.
Since 1917, when Arch Klumph proposed an endowment “for the purpose of doing good in the world,” The Rotary Foundation has grown into a world-class humanitarian organisation. Few other charitable foundations can claim a 100-year history — all the more impressive when you consider its humble beginning of only $26.50. The fact that our Foundation now has $1 billion in assets is a testament to the remarkable generosity of Rotarians worldwide. I often wonder just what our Foundation will look like when all Rotarians, everywhere, give it their sustained support.
I hope each of you will take the time to consider our Foundation’s many successes, achievements we can all be proud of. Over the past century, we have provided $3 billion to tackle a wide range of problems, large and small, in thousands of communities worldwide. Our global and district grant projects are saving and transforming lives, and we are educating scholars and training professionals to carry on this vital legacy.
Our centennial offers an ideal opportunity to remind our members — and tell the rest of the world — about our Foundation’s rich history of humanitarian work. It’s time that everyone knew about our leading role in the battle to end polio, a fight that Bill Gates and others agree would never have been possible without Rotary’s extraordinary dedication. Let’s also spotlight the many ways we’re fighting other devastating diseases, providing cleaner and safer drinking water, spreading education by promoting literacy and helping local economies grow.
However you celebrate our Foundation’s centennial, I hope you will make that celebration as public as possible. Hold an event that involves your entire community and showcases The Rotary Foundation’s good work. You’ll find many ideas for centennial celebrations at
RI President John Germ’s theme, Rotary Serving Humanity, speaks directly to the work of our Foundation, which for years has enabled Rotarians to embrace humanity and serve those in need. This year, let’s commit to sharing those inspirational stories, just as we continue to write more and more of them.