The Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Foundation transforms your gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world.

During the past 100 years, the Foundation has spent $3 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects.

With your help, we can make lives better in your community and around the world.

Why should I donate to The Rotary Foundation?

Your donation makes a difference to those who need our help most. More than 90 percent of donations go directly to supporting our service projects around the world.

How does The Rotary Foundation use donations?

Our 35,000 clubs carry out sustainable service projects that support our six causes. With donations like yours, we’ve wiped out 99.9 percent of all polio cases. Your donation also trains future peacemakers, supports clean water, and strengthens local economies.

What impact can one donation have?

It can save a life. A child can be protected from polio with as little as 60 cents. Our partners make your donation go even further. For every $1 Rotary commits to polio eradication, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed $2.

Charity Navigator

91% of Funds are spend directly on programs

History of The Rotary Foundation

At the 1917 convention, outgoing RI 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 entity within Rotary International.

Growth of the Foundation

In 1929, the Foundation made its first gift of $500 to the International Society for Crippled Children. The organization, created by Rotarian Edgar F. “Daddy” Allen, 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.

Evolution of Foundation Programs

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 Humanity (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.