Posted by Euan Miller
For the second time in two years the World Fund is likely to run out of money to provide matching dollars to Global Grant applications. Last year the funds ran out in May but this year the outlook is more dire and a number of savings measures have already been put in place at Evanston. The trustees and the Board met in late January to look at stop gap solutions which may well now be known.
Why has this happened?  Clubs have clearly focused on Global Grant projects and the number of Global Grants applications continues to grow at an astounding rate.  At the end of December Global Grants approved were 85% ahead of what they were at the same time last year.  Despite the elimination of support for cash contributions to Global Grants this year (in an endeavour to make World Funds spread further), it is clear the funding shortfall is such that they may never return.  To compound the problem there will be a big waiting list of projects for the new area of focus Supporting the environment, ready to compete for grants on July 1 this year.

As Rotarians, clubs and districts we have a responsibility to help fix this problem. Giving to the Annual Programs Fund across our Zone, (the source of District Designated Funds we all use to implement our international projects) has declined since the Centenary of the Foundation in 2017.  In our personal tax deductible giving, we are not growing either Centurions or Paul Harris Society members in sufficient numbers. Clubs and Districts also are failing to reach the target of USD100/member every year.  This is a modest benchmark every district should be able to achieve.
To compound the issue, as we all know, our membership is in long term decline so there are less Rotarians each year to donate to the Foundation.
How do we solve this problem?  Most clubs raise funds for the Foundation from Rotarians alone.  Where (apart from End Polio which is travelling OK) are the club and district public fundraisers for the Rotary Foundation in general or for specific projects?  Which club runs a Bunnings BBQ for the Rotary Foundation?  Which club is out there competing with the Red Shield, Red Cross and World Vision seeking donations from businesses and the general public?  The Rotary Foundation beats all these competitors in the fiduciary stakes (Charity Navigator awards TRF the top award year after year for the stewardship of donations and application of the monies to worthwhile projects).
We need to grow our impact in the communities we serve.  Our impact is measured by our project delivery, not by fundraising and especially not for other charities that also fundraise.  Let’s RAISE for ROTARY and fund The Rotary Foundation – Our Charity!