Rotary Foundation 2023

What is The Rotary Foundation?

The Rotary Foundation, the charitable arm of Rotary International, has a storied history of humanitarian service and global impact. It was established in 1917 by Rotary International's sixth president, Arch C. Klumph, as an endowment fund to "do good in the world" and promote the ideals of Rotary.

The initial goal of the Foundation was to accumulate a fund of $2,000 to support Rotary's charitable efforts. However, the vision and generosity of Rotarians quickly surpassed this modest goal. Within the first few years, the Foundation received substantial donations, allowing it to expand its reach and impact.

In 1928, the Foundation launched its first international initiative by providing funds for the construction of the International Amphitheater in Rome, Italy, which served as a venue for educational and cultural events. This marked the beginning of the Foundation's commitment to international projects and cooperation.

Over the decades, the Foundation continued to grow and evolve, supporting an increasing number of humanitarian projects around the world. In 1947, the Foundation funded its first graduate-level scholarship program, setting the stage for future educational initiatives. In the 1960s, the Foundation expanded its focus to include health and hunger relief programs, addressing critical needs on a global scale.

In 1978, Rotary launched the PolioPlus program under the leadership of then-Rotary International President Clem Renouf. This ambitious initiative aimed to eradicate polio worldwide by immunising children against the disease. PolioPlus became one of the most significant and successful public-private partnerships in global health history, with Rotary playing a leading role in the fight against polio.

The success of PolioPlus paved the way for other large-scale international projects. In 2013, Rotary introduced the Rotary Peace Centers, offering fellowships for individuals pursuing peace studies and conflict resolution at prestigious universities around the world.

The Rotary Foundation has also played a crucial role in disaster relief efforts, providing immediate aid to communities affected by natural disasters and supporting long-term recovery and reconstruction projects.

To fund its initiatives, the Foundation relies on the generosity of Rotarians, corporations, and individuals who contribute to its annual fund and major giving programs. These funds are then utilised for humanitarian projects, educational scholarships, and Rotary's ongoing efforts to eradicate polio.

Throughout its history, the Rotary Foundation has remained committed to the core values of Rotary International and the belief in "Service Above Self." With its extensive network of dedicated volunteers and partners, the Foundation continues to create lasting, positive change in communities worldwide, embodying the spirit of Rotary's motto, "Doing Good in the World."

Our annual Rotary Foundation Auction (2022)
Polio Plus


The PolioPlus Rotary initiative is a global campaign launched by Rotary International in 1985 with the ambitious goal of eradicating polio from the world. As part of this initiative, Rotary, in collaboration with partners like the World Health Organisation (WHO), UNICEF, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has worked tirelessly to immunize children against polio, provide medical support, and raise public awareness about the disease. Through its relentless efforts and significant fundraising, the PolioPlus program has made remarkable progress, reducing polio cases by over 99% and bringing the world closer than ever to achieving a polio-free planet.

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Rotary Foundation scholarships are prestigious and competitive educational opportunities offered by Rotary International to outstanding individuals worldwide. These scholarships aim to empower students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or postgraduate studies to advance their knowledge, skills, and leadership abilities in areas aligned with Rotary's mission. Through the Rotary Peace Centers and other scholarship programs, recipients have the chance to study at esteemed universities, engage in cross-cultural exchanges, and foster lasting connections with fellow scholars. Rotary Foundation scholarships play a crucial role in promoting international understanding, peace building, and humanitarian service, furthering Rotary's commitment to making a positive impact in the world through education and global cooperation.

Vocational Training Teams


Rotary Vocational Training Teams (VTT) are groups of professionals who travel internationally to share their expertise, exchange knowledge, and collaborate on humanitarian projects in local communities. Sponsored by Rotary clubs, VTTs focus on addressing critical needs and capacity-building in various vocational fields, such as healthcare, education, agriculture, and technology. These teams work alongside local professionals, fostering sustainable solutions and promoting cultural understanding. Through vocational training teams, Rotary encourages the exchange of skills and experiences, making a significant impact on communities worldwide while fostering global goodwill and cooperation.