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Gordon Bigelow - The Rotary Foundation

The program featured District 7430 Area 2 Foundation Coordinator Gordon Bigelow as Rotarians around the world celebrated Foundation Month. In the early part of the 20th Century, the United States and other countries found themselves mired in a great war. Rotary International President Arch Klumpf watched it unfold with great dismay. He proposed a better way of doing things. At the 1917 convention, he proposed setting up an endowment “for the purpose of doing good in the world.” That one idea, and an initial contribution of $26.50, set in motion a powerful force that has transformed millions of lives around the globe.

From such humble beginnings, our Foundation has grown into one of the foremost charitable organizations of our time. It is top-rated by all consumer watchdog agencies and regularly funds over $100 million worth of projects every year. One amazing aspect is that it is entirely funded by voluntary contributions. All Rotarians are encouraged to consider at least a small donation every year. The donations can be sent to the annual fund for general purposes or they can be directed to support the polio eradication effort.

The eradication of polio remains the signature project of Rotary. The efforts i n Afghanistan and Pakistan have been frustra ting and dangerous. The recent polio case in New York served to illustrate the need to complete the mission. It proved that polio is only a plane ride away. It also proved that vaccines work. Our 2022 District 7430 polio fundraiser raised in excess of $40,000. The Gates Foundation will match that contribution by a factor of 2:1. This means that the event will have raised approximately $130,000 for the campaign. We will need to keep the donations flowing if we are going to honor our promise to the children of the world. The promise of a polio-free world.

The money that goes into the annual fund is used on Rotary projects that reflect our seven avenues of service such as maternal health, economic development, and protecting the environment. The money is spent on grants that could be local or international. Easton Rotary has been the recipient of local grant money twice in recent years. Global grants are larger projects with budgets exceeding $30,000. The Isiolo, Kenya maternal health grant that has been submitted by the Morning Star Club is an example of a Global Grant. Africa remains an area of the world that offers so much beauty, yet has so many needs. A donation to the Rotary Foundation allows every Rotarian to make a difference and help those who are most in need. In a way, it allows us to be the answer to everyone's prayers.


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