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About The Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Foundation – The Engine of Rotary

The Rotary Foundation is a vital arm of Rotary International, established in 1917 by Arch C. Klumph, Rotary’s sixth president. Klumph proposed setting up an endowment for the purpose of doing good in the world, a vision that has been realized and amplified over the past century. The first donation was a mere $26.50, but the Foundation’s assets have grown substantially since then, standing at over $1 billion as of 2021.

Since its inception, the Rotary Foundation has spent more than $4 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects that translate into improved peace, health, and education for communities across the globe. The foundation’s support has been crucial in realizing Rotary’s most ambitious endeavors, most notably its bid to eradicate polio worldwide.

The Foundation Supports Rotary’s Seven Areas of Focus

The Rotary Foundation’s funding model is built on voluntary contributions from Rotary members and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world. These funds are channeled into several key areas in line with Rotary’s seven areas of focus: peace and conflict resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, economic and community development and protecting the environment.

Peace and Conflict Resolution

The Rotary Foundation sponsors peace fellowships, training leaders to mediate and prevent conflicts. Each year, up to 130 peace fellowships are awarded for either a master’s degree or a professional development certificate at Rotary Peace Centers at universities worldwide.

Disease Prevention and Treatment

The most significant example is the Foundation’s role in funding Rotary’s polio eradication efforts. However, their work extends beyond polio, including projects that prevent and treat other diseases, increase access to healthcare, and educate and equip communities to stop the spread of diseases.

Clean Water and Sanitation

The Foundation’s water and sanitation projects aim to ensure that everyone has sustainable access to water, sanitation, and hygiene. They fund the construction of wells, install rainwater harvesting systems, and teach community members how to maintain these facilities.

Maternal and Child Health

In the realm of maternal and child health, the Foundation funds initiatives to reduce mortality and improve the health of mothers and their children. This includes providing immunizations and antibiotics, promoting breastfeeding and nutrition, and educating parents about disease prevention and basic healthcare.

Basic Education and Literacy

The Rotary Foundation supports efforts to improve education for all children, and literacy for children and adults. They train and mentor teachers, provide educational materials, and work to reduce gender disparity in education.

Economic and Community Development

The Foundation supports investments in people to create measurable and enduring economic improvements in their lives and communities. This could include vocational training, supporting local entrepreneurs, and community-led initiatives for economic development.


The Rotary Foundation supports activities that strengthen the conservation and protection of natural resources, advance ecological sustainability, and foster harmony between communities and the environment. We empower communities to access grants and other resources, embrace local solutions, and spur innovation in an effort to address the causes and reduce the effects of climate change and environmental degradation.

Grants from The Rotary Foundation

Additionally, the Foundation operates the Rotary Grants program, which allows Rotarians and districts to apply for support for their projects. There are two types of grants – district grants and global grants. 

District grants fund small-scale, short-term projects that address needs in both the local community and communities worldwide. 

Global grants support larger international projects with sustainable, measurable outcomes in Rotary’s areas of focus.

The Rotary Foundation is the backbone of Rotary International’s mission to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace. It facilitates Rotarians’ abilities to change lives and serve communities on a local and global scale. 

The Foundation’s commitment to these goals – reflected in its extensive funding of diverse projects – continues to make a profound impact on the world stage.

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