Click the links on the left for more information on The Rotary Foundation   

The MISSION of The Rotary Foundation
is to enable Rotarians
to advance world understanding,
goodwill and peace through the
improvement of health, the support of education,
and the alleviation of poverty.

The GOAL of the Rotary Foundation
is to do good in the world.


The idea of a Foundation was first proposed by Rotary International President Arch Klumph in 1917 and started out with the princely sum of $26.50. 

Part 1:  Introduction to the Rotary Foundation

The Foundation began to grow significantly with donations in memory of Paul Harris after his death in 1947. Today, donations of $1,000 are used to recognize people as Paul Harris Fellows.

The Foundation has identified seven areas of focus that reflect critical humanitarian issues and needs : 

          Peace and conflict prevention/resolution 

          Disease prevention and treatment

          Water and sanitation 

          Maternal and child health

          Basic education and literacy

          Economic and community development

         Support the environment
The Rotary Foundation (or in loving Rotary acronym, TRF) is a separate legal entity from Rotary International (RI) to maintain its charitable tax status. The Foundation is managed by a 15 member Board of Trustees that is nominated by the RI President and appointed by the RI Board.

If you’ve ever wondered why we can sponsor family members in some Rotary programs but not others, it’s because programs funded through the Foundation cannot be used to benefit ourselves or our immediate family.

The Rotary Foundation is consistently rated as one of the top, most efficient, charitable foundations in the world due to how we fund the administration costs and how we use the funds so effectively.

Money donated this year is invested for three years to allow for proper planning. Interest from the investments is used to help fund the administration costs. Any shortfall in administration expenses is usually covered by interest from the Permanent Fund. 

100% of your donation will be used to benefit people at home and around the world! 

You can even designate where you’d like your donation to be used. Share it with our District, designate it for the World Fund, or pick one of the six areas of focus. 

Rotarians are asked, at a minimum, to meet the Every Rotarian Every Year (EREY) program and donate something to the Foundation (even $5 or $10 per year). Preferably, Rotarians will agree to donate $100 each year (just over $8 per month) to become a Sustaining Member.

Other programs include the Paul Harris Society ($1,000 per year), lifetime donations (one-time or cumulative), or estate bequests (more on this later). 

There are three different funds within the Foundation: Annual Programs Fund, PolioPlus and the Endowment Fund (formerly called the Permanent Fund). More on those below.

PART 2:  SHARE and the Annual Programs Fund  

The Annual Programs Fund is the main source of funding for Rotary programs. Here’s how it works: 

1. Money is donated by Rotarians, clubs and Districts in the current year. 

The funds are invested for three years. This allows the Foundation to make plans for the effective use of the money, and the interest generated goes to administration costs. 

3. Three years after the donations were made, half of the funds made available to the District and the other half is retained for use in the World Fund (this is cleverly called the SHARE program and, strangely enough, it’s not an acronym. It’s just the word "share" in capital letters. Weird, huh?). 

4. Clubs can apply to use the District’s portion of the funds for either local or international service projects.   There is no maximum to the amount that a club can contribute.  The District can match the funds raised by the club on a 1:1 basis up to $10,000. The actual amount may be less depending on the amount in the fund and the number of clubs applying.

If the club has an international project, it can also apply to the Foundation for money from the World Fund. The club contribution must be a minimum of $10,715 plus an optional 5% administration fee.  The Foundation will match 80% of the District’s donation. Here’s an example of how to turn $10,715 into $30,000, which is the minimum amount needed for a Global Grant project: 

          Club donation:                              $10,715 

          District donation:                           $10,715

          TRF match 80% of District:               $8,570

           Total Minimum Project                    $30,000 

So if you want to ensure that we have money to use three years from now, encourage your members to support the Rotary Foundation’s Annual Programs Fund this year.

Part 3:  PolioPlus

The PolioPlus campaign began in 1985, with a pledge at the UN’s 40th anniversary, to raise $120 million over three years. Rotarians more than doubled that goal, donating $247 million.  

Rotary inspired, supported and worked with other organizations, including the UN and the World Health Organization. The goal was to have polio eradicated by the time of Rotary`s 100th anniversary in 2005, but the fight has proven more difficult than expected. 

Rotarians have increased their efforts to finish the job with the support of our partners - including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which donated $355 Million to PolioPlus and asked us to match $200 Million in three years. 

Rotarians again rose to the challenge - especially those Rotarians in District 5050. 

District 5050 was asked to raise $330,000 over three years. In August 2011, after only two years, District Foundation Chair Bill Robson announced that District 5050 had raised over $770,000!

By the time we’re finished, it is expected that Rotarians will have contributed close to $1.2 billion dollars - and will make polio the second disease in human history to be completely conquered (smallpox is the other). 

In addition to the financial contributions, District 5050 Rotarians have taken part in National Immunization Days in at risk countries - joining thousands of volunteers to administer drops of the life saving polio vaccine to children under the age of five.

When the fight began in 1985, polio paralysed more than 1,000 children worldwide every day. Since then, 2.5 billion children have been immunized against polio thanks to the cooperation of more than 200 countries and 20 million volunteers.  

Rotary and our partners have made incredible breakthroughs recently - with the eradication of polio in India and South Asia followed by the eradication of polio in Nigeria and the entire continent of Africa.

In recent years, the fight has been focused on two goals - finishing the immunization in the remaining endemic countries (now only Pakistan & Afghanistan) and funding emergency response teams for polio breakouts. 

Other countries remain at risk as long as even one country remains endemic. We have seen breakouts of polio in countries like Tajikistan, Somalia and Syria. All it took was one visitor from an endemic country to infect hundreds of children with polio. 

Rotary and Polioplus are there to answer the call - releasing $500,000 emergency funding within 48 hours. There were still 300 victims. But thousands of other children were saved because of your support of PolioPlus and the Rotary Foundation.

The fight will not be over until polio is completely eradicated. There will still be more money and more volunteers needed.

We will not stop when we are This Close to eliminating polio

Like the bumper stickers say: Goodbye Polio - Thank You Rotary!


Part 4:  The Rotary Endowment Fund

You can donate funds during your lifetime (endowments) or make a provision in your Will or designations of life insurance or retirement funds (bequests). The money is held in perpetuity with the interest being used to support the works of the Rotary Foundation forever. 

The fund was started in 1996 with an initial target of $200 million by 2011. This consists of both money received and "expectancies" (payments pledged from your estate). The $200 million goal was met in 2005, six years ahead of schedule. The next target of $1 billion by 2025. was also met ten years early, in 2015.  We continue to grow the fund so that we can help even more people.

There can be significant benefits to you or to your estate by making the charitable donation. Talk to your accountant or financial planner for advice on your circumstances.

Currently, about $8 million from the Permanent Fund is made available to support Foundation programs each year. Imagine what the Fund will be able to do once it grows. 

Encourage your club members to become a member of either the Bequest Society (pledging to leave $10,000 or more) or become a Benefactor (donation of $1,000). 


Part 5:  How do you make a donation?


You can make a payment online, find out where to mail a check (or a cheque) and consider the other ways to donate listed on that page. 

You can set up TRF Direct for monthly or regular payments to come painlessly from your bank account or credit card as well as to make pledges for bequests. 

Rotarians who have donated $10,000 (either by a one time gift or cumulatively over a period of time) are recognized as Major Donors. 

Members of the Arch Klumph Society (named after the RI President who first proposed the Foundation) have donated at least $250,000 to the Foundation. Our District has three such generous donors.  

Now that you know how the Foundation works and how effective and efficient it is, you can be a better advocate for to encourage your members to support the Rotary Foundation.