Wednesday, 7 November 2018
November is Rotary Foundation Month. The seed for the Rotary Foundation was planted in 1917 when outgoing Rotary President Arch Klump proposed the setting up of an endowment “for the purpose of doing good in the world”. The initial contribution of US$26.50 looks small. However, when we look back at the last 100 years, most of us, if not all, will begin to appreciate the impact that the initial contribution of US$26.50 (which is US$2,650 in today’s term) has made to humanity. This amount initiated and galvanised a movement which continue to transform millions of lives around the world. We are now benefitting from a seed which was sown about 100 years ago.
To recapitulate, the mission of the 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”. During the last 100 years the Foundation has spent US$3 billion on sustainable projects that has benefitted the lives of many and we continue to serve humanity.
With the support of many generous Rotarians and non-Rotarians, our 35,000 Rotary clubs can continue to carry out sustainable service projects that support Rotary’s 6 areas of focus.
With your donations, we have eradicated 99.9 percent of all polio cases. Wild polio cases has dropped from 1,000 a day in 1988 to 22 in all of 2017. If we persist in our efforts, polio will become the second deadly human disease to be eradicated after small pox. We are almost there. Do you know that a child can be protected from polio with as little as US$0.60 cents? Our partners can make your donations go further. For every US$1 that Rotary commits to polio eradication, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has committed US$2. Your support also trains future peacemakers, supports clean water, and strengthens local economies. So let us continue to support the Rotary Foundation.
In regard to World Polio Day (24 October 20180) I am very happy to note that various clubs in District 3310 took active steps to commemorate it in various ways e.g. Joint-Club Meeting in Singapore (co-organised by RC Tanjong Pagar and RC Singapore together with RC Sentosa, Novena, Shenton and Singapore North), The World’s Greatest Meal (WG Meal) fund-raising event with at least 2 separate venues which were organised by RC of Kulai for the Johor and Melaka region and by RC Kota Kinabalu Pearl for the Kota Kinabalu region which was held at Le Meridien, Kota Kinabalu. I also noted that RC Belait, Miri, Puteri Lagoon, Yong Peng and RCS Pasir Gudang Mandarin organised their own WG Meal events. On the same day, all the clubs in Singapore came together to put up a message to mark World Polio Day in our leading English newspaper. This is one way to help publicise our efforts to wipe out Polio and also to let others know the good work we are doing.
End Polio events are ongoing and will still continue after World Polio Day. There will be Walk/Run, sale of mugs, etc to raise awareness and to raise funds for our Foundation to support its efforts in eradicating Polio. I urge all clubs to support such events and also to work with non-Rotary partners too.
We can also create awareness at the Club level and this will be good for new Rotarians. Invite knowledgeable Rotarian speakers to talk about the work of the Foundation. Get the new and younger Rotarians involved in service projects. This will be a good way of bonding them. It is also a way of ensuring that the good work of Rotary is passed on to the next generation. Encourage all members to become Paul Harris Fellows, Major Donors, to donate to Global Grant projects, to set up an endowment, to leave a legacy for Rotary, etc.
When we Rotarians are united in supporting our Foundation, then the Rotary movement will be able to make greater impact in promoting world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.
Henry Tan Kok Hiang
District Governor RY2018-19