June Foundation Greeting

It is so hard to believe we’ve almost completed another Rotary year.  100 years of the Rotary Foundation will culminate its celebration at the Rotary International Conference in Atlanta 11-14 June.  I am blessed to be able to attend and hear great speakers including Bill Gates.  The Gates Foundation is still matching every dollar we as Rotarians donate to End Polio Now at a rate of 2-1. The last diagnosed case of Wild Polio was 20 February 2017. I recommend a great article that tells the current story of Polio in the world at I believe the end of Polio is near, but we cannot stop now.

Last call to submit District Grants.  These applications are due by June 15th. They should be submitted to More information is available at:

Don’t forget to celebrate your great work this year! We are on pace for a record setting year of donations to the Rotary Foundation as well as use of Grant funds by District 5970. It's not too late to meet your goals if you have not yet.  Fundraising Chair Don Meyer will be emailing club president's to offer strategies to finish strong. I am so proud to be able to support you on our journey to do good in the world!

Foundation 101
Chapter 12 Future Vision
Rotary founder Paul Harris wrote in 1935 "This is a changing world; we must be prepared to change with it.  The story of Rotary will have to be written again and again."  From a single club, Rotary has grown to more than 34,000 clubs throughout the world.  In 2004, with Rotary in its centennial year, the Rotary Foundation realized that the organization was experiencing an unparalleled surge in grant applications. Each Grant Coordinator was handling 400-500 grants on average.  With the hiring of more staff to handle grant administration, the Trustee's appointed a committed called the "Future Vision Committee."  In the 90 year history of the Rotary Foundation, it was the most extensive review of the Rotary Foundation.  Out of their meetings in June, July and August of 2005, the following recommendations were established:
  • Simplify all programs and operations
  • Align program outcomes/descriptions with the Future Vision Plan
  • Increase participation and sense of ownership at district and club levels
  • Provide sufficient resources to achieve the program goals
  • Develop a business model that supports the Future Vision Plan
The Future Vision Plan's goal was to improve the Foundation's reach outside of Rotary, while also being more accessible to the Rotary community.  The plan would optimize contributions by maximizing the sustainability of future grants and reducing administrative costs.  During the Foundation review it was discovered that 20 percent of the World Fund and District Designated Funds were supporting projects with a larger impact, 80 percent were going to small projects that had little sustainable impact.  The Vision plan was to turn this 80-20 ratio around, so that 20 percent went to smaller projects and 80 percent would be directed into larger grants that were part of one of these six areas:
  • Peace and conflict prevention/resolution
  • Disease prevention and treatment
  • Water and sanitation
  • Maternal and child health
  • Basic education and literacy
  • Economic and community development
"The biggest change in Future Vision is that it got rid of one-offs (single events), said Rotary Foundation General Manager John Osterlund.  "Future Vision brought Rotary into line with how the world of development is thinking and foundations everywhere today are looking at the grants they make and are asking the question: Will this lead to a sustainable solution of the problem?"
Decorah Grant Project
The Decorah Rotary Club made good use of Rotary Foundation funds by coordinating the repair of a popular nature trail in the area, after flood damage.  The Trout Run Trail is the site for half marathon, 5k and 10k races, sponsored by the Rotary Club, so using Grant funds to repair the trail was a logical decision.  Together with the City of Decorah and the Parks and Recreation department, Rotarians were involved in assessing damage, securing bid estimates from vendors and publicizing the repair schedule to residents.  The trail averages 300-400 pedestrians and cyclists daily, and is a popular place for cross-country skiing in the winter as well.  The Decorah Rotary Club also sponsors a motorized tour on the trail, for the elderly and those with physical limitations.  Many people will benefit from the trail repairs.
Yours in Rotary service,
Michelle Bell
District 5970 Rotary Foundation Chair