November is celebrated as Rotary Foundation Month. It is a time to emphasize the motto of The Foundation, “Doing Good in Our Communities and Around the World.”
Durham Rotary Club has been working with international partners in significant ways since 2005 when we joined districts 1030 and 3170 in an “Aqua Filters” project in a village in India. Since that day, our club has been fortunate to work with clubs and districts all over the world: 13 foreign districts, 13 district governors in those districts, 20 foreign clubs and 14 club presidents from those districts as well as The Rotary Foundation, to facilitate life-saving projects for many of the world’s neediest people.
In addition, we have engaged in multiple district projects such as Crayons to Calculators. All of these important life-changing projects have been supported by the faithful giving to The Rotary Foundation by members of the Durham Rotary Club.
To date, Durham Rotary Club has given more than $541,658. to The Rotary Foundation. Just this past year 187 of our members have made a gift to The Foundation for its work. Those gifts have supported not only international projects, but the eradication of Polio as well. Seventeen non-Rotarians have also given through our club. All of our projects have fully complied with the specified areas of support for such projects: World Peace, education and literacy, health care for women and children, polio eradication, and potable water where none exists.
The Rotary Foundation receives the funds that we give and invests them. After three years The Foundation returns one half of our gifts back to our district for our work both globally and locally. As we plan projects on the global and local scale and engage our members in supporting those projects, we facilitate the transformation of our gifts into projects that change lives both at home and abroad.
Our International Services Committee works diligently every month to find and engage in projects that fulfill that goal. Our goal is to find projects that will be sustainable for the long term. Each project averages about three years from conception of an idea until there are boots on the ground and the soil is turned.
We support the work of our local Peace Scholars at the Duke-Carolina Peace Center in developing projects that will make a difference in their home countries and we include them in our monthly meetings. Several members of our International Committee are members of our Foundation Committee as well, thus broadening the impact and involvement of our club. We have one goal: finding solutions that will leave a lasting impact after we complete a project.
Some of the projects which our club has engaged since that first project in India in 2005 include: potable water for schools in India, kitchen, computers and tools for children in Uruguay, medical equipment in Venezuela, Leprosy surgery and rehabilitation, water filtering systems in Rwanda, toilets in Pune, India, economic support in Guinea-Bissau, Seats to Excel, a project to build desks for schools in Zambia.
Locally we have developed projects including the Hub-Farm at one of our local elementary schools, Caregivers recognition luncheon for those who work with Alzhiemers patients, Crayons to Calculators for Durham Public Schools, packaging meals for the United Way and supporting another local Rotary Club in their Backpack Buddies project, just to name a few.
When one takes into account all of the projects since 2005 and the investment of multiple clubs, matching District gifts as well as matching Rotary Foundation gifts, the total value of these projects is in excess of one million dollars. That is the miracle of joining hands with fellow Rotarians here and around the world to work together to “Do Good in Our Communities and Around the World.”
During Rotary Foundation Month we will offer a 50/50 matching program for gifts made to The Rotary Foundation. This matching program will run from November 1 to December 15. Information is available from The Foundation Committee that will inform each club member what she/he will need to give to The Rotary Foundation in order to reach the next Paul Harris Fellowship level.
Submitted by Foundation Chair Dallas Stallings