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Breakfast Rotary Minute - It's Rotary Foundation month

As most Rotarians know, November is typically dedicated in the Rotary world as the month we focus on and celebrate The Rotary Foundation. Many non-Rotarians don't realize that the most significant accomplishments of Rotary are happening every day through the vast resources and work of The Rotary Foundation.

When Rotary was started in 1905 by Paul Harris in Chicago, it essentially began like any "networking businessmen's group" with an emphasis on providing service to the community. Through the development of the Rotary Foundation a little more than a decade later, Rotary has left and continues to leave a tremendously significant mark on the world, and humanity.

  The Rotary Foundation's mission is to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty. They accomplish these broad goals by focusing on three general areas: Humanitarian grants, educational programs, and the Polio Plus program.

Humanitarian grants from The Rotary Foundation come in several forms. Matching grants are funds given to match the efforts of two or more Rotary clubs in two or more countries where a service project is being conducted. Our Detroit Lakes clubs have been involved in these projects in third world countries, helping to build new clinics and schools. Health, Hunger, and Humanity grants fund projects are meant to become self-sustaining, involving at least two or more clubs in two or more countries where significant numbers of Rotarians actually participate in the project. The goals of these grants are to alleviate poverty and provide essential services.

The Rotary Foundation sponsors several types of educational programs. The Ambassadorial Scholarship program awards scholarships to students studying at a university in a foreign country who serve as unofficial ambassadors of goodwill. They also provide a fellowship to persons studying at various Rotary Peace Centers for the area of peace and conflict resolution. Finally, the group study exchange (GSE) program is a cultural and vocational exchange of teams made up of non-Rotarians traveling to each other's countries.

The Detroit Lakes Rotary clubs have been especially active in the GSE program. We typically host citizens from other countries in our community for a few days each year, and we've had several DL residents who've gone abroad participating in the GSE program over the years.

Finally, the most impactful and visible aspect of The Rotary Foundation is it's Polio Plus program. In 1985 The Rotary Foundation set out to eradicate polio from the world. Since, over 2 billion children have received the vaccine and the end goal is within sight. Currently, The Rotary Foundation is in the final phase of it's $200 million fundraising campaign with a matching grant of $355 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Largely due to this major and very expensive undertaking, The Rotary Foundation was recently awarded an A+ grade from the American Institue of Philanthropy, a charity watchdog, and was recently ranked 61st in the Chronicle of Philanthrophy's annual survey of the top 400 fundraising charities in the U.S. Please visit to learn more about The Rotary Foundation.