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Rotary Corner: Rotary Foundation — from Modest Beginnings to Global Force

The nonprofit supports humanitarian and education programs, and the eradication of polio

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Some magnificent projects grow from very small seeds. The Rotary Foundation had that sort of modest beginning.

In 1918, the Rotary Endowment Fund received its first contribution of $26.50 from the Rotary Club of Kansas City, Mo. Six years later, the fund reached $700!

The Rotary Foundation was formally established in 1928 at the Minneapolis Convention.

In 1947, upon the death of Paul Harris, memorial gifts poured in to honor Rotary’s founder. In the year ending 2009, TRF received contributions totaling $223.8 million and spent $188 million in support of global polio eradication activities and humanitarian and educational programs (implemented by clubs and districts). Since 1947, Rotarians have contributed more than $2.4 billion to TRF.

TRF is a nonprofit corporation whose mission is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health and education, and the alleviation of poverty.

Contributions go into three main funds: the Annual Program Fund, which provides grants and awards through foundation programs; the Permanent Fund, an endowment from which only a portion of the earnings are spent in support of foundation programs, ensuring the long-term viability of the foundation; and the PolioPlus Fund, which supports Rotary’s goal of a polio-free world.

— Betsy Munroe is public relations chairwoman for the Rotary Club of Santa Barbara Sunrise, which meets at 7 a.m. Wednesdays at the Santa Barbara Club, 1105 Chapala St.

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