Foundation Grants from the Rotary Foundation

Foundation Grants from The Rotary Foundation
Mike Mefford


As clubs worldwide recently celebrated the 112th anniversary of the first Rotary club meeting, I think it's interesting to also consider the history of The Rotary Foundation and it's impact through humanitarian projects around the world. This first meeting provided the spark for what we all know as Rotary today.

During th 1917 convention, outgoing Rotary International President Arch C. Klumph proposed to set up an endowment "for the purpose of doing good in the world." In 1928, it was renamed The Rotary Foundation, and it became a distinct entit within Rotary International.

In 1929, the Foundation made its first gift of $500.00 to the International Society for Crippled Children. The organization later grew into Easter Seals. When Rotary founder Paul Harris died in 1947, contributions began pouring in to Rotary International, and the Paul Harris Memorial Fund was created to build the Foundation.

There are many poignant historical moments in the life of The Rotary Foundation; what follows are a few are noteable:

1947: The Foundation established its first program, Fellowships for Advance Study, later known as Ambassadorial Scholarships.

1965-66: Three programs were launched: Group Study Exchange, Awards for Technical Training, and Grants for Activities in Keeping with the Objective of The Rotary Foundation, which was later called Matching Grants. 

1978: Rotary introduced the Health, Hunger, and Humanit (3-H) Grants. The first 3-H Grant funded a project to immunize 6 million Philippine children against polio.

1985: The PolioPlus program was launched to eradicate polio worldwide.

1987-88: The first peace forums were held, leading to Rotary Peace Fellowships.

2013: New district, global, and packaged grants enable Rotarians around the world to respond to the world's greatest needs. 

Since the first donation of $26.50 in 1917, the Foundation has received contributions totaling more than $1 billion. These contributions are directly from Rotarians around the world, and they go directly towards district and global grants around the world that serve the purpose of "doing good in the world." Arch Klumph would be proud!

Because of the generosity and ingenuity of Rotarians over the past 111 years, The Rotary Foundation has become a key component in society's humanitarian efforts. It is something that we can be proud of, and should use. Please consider utilizing the resources of The Rotary Foundation through a District or Global Grant project to help do good in the world!