Foundation earns top honors
Every year, the Chronicle of Philanthropy ranks the top 400 nonprofit organizations in the United States. The Rotary Foundation has continued its steady growth, moving up 35 spots to 85th. The ranking is based on monetary contributions from private sources and reflects the increasing generosity of those who support Rotary's mission. According to the Chronicle, the Foundation received $239,576,000 in 2013, a 32.4 percent increase from the previous year.
The Foundation recently earned a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, the largest and most prestigious independent evaluator of nonprofits in the United States. In the 2013-14 Rotary year, 92 percent of the Foundation's expenditures were applied to programs, with only 6 percent spent on fundraising and 2 percent on administrative expenses. The Foundation funded $23.5 million in district grants and $47.3 million in global grants. These grants support local and international humanitarian projects as well as scholarships.
Together with its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, Rotary has led the effort to end polio, contributing more than $1.3 billion to the initiative since its outset. When an outbreak threatened the Horn of Africa and the Middle East in 2013, Rotary provided emergency funds, including a $500,000 rapid response grant for Somalia and a $500,000 grant to the World Health Organization to cover operational costs in the Middle East. As a result, the outbreak in the Horn of Africa slowed, and Syria reported only one case of polio in the first half of 2014.
Rotary is also at the forefront of efforts to fight other diseases and improve health worldwide. According to WHO, indoor air pollution causes 4.3 million deaths per year. To help combat it, members of the Rotary Club of Taos-Milagro, N.M., mobilized Rotary clubs in several countries to support the Himalayan Stove Project, which has installed more than 3,000 clean-burning stoves in Nepal. In Tamil Nadu, India, Rotary clubs partnered with clubs in Maryland to use a Foundation global grant to purchase a large van and outfit it with X-ray equipment to screen women for breast cancer in hard-to-reach communities. The Mammobus" has been used to conduct more than 2,500 free breast cancer screenings, and has helped detect and treat early-stage cancer in six women. Rotary members in Malindi, Kenya, teamed up with members in Maryland and Idaho to work with the Genesis World Mission in creating a rainwater catchment system to provide clean drinking water, irrigate crops, and establish fish farms in Burangi, Kenya. And in Seattle, Rotary members are putting millions of pounds of fruits and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste into the hands of those who need them through Rotary First Harvest, a program of District 5030.
"This clearly shows our members recognize the unparalleled value of giving to their Foundation;' says John Hewko, Rotary's general secretary, of the Chronicle ranking. "They know that by giving to the Foundation, their dollars have a much greater impact. And friends of Rotary respect that the Foundation puts their gift to great use." -ARNOLD R. GRAHL