Rotary Foundation celebrates almost 100 years of problem-solving worldwide

By Robin Loving

The largest private charity in world is the Rotary Foundation, and thanks to two local Rotary Clubs, the San Miguel de Allende community has benefitted from it to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past few years. The Midday Rotary Club has used Rotary Foundation support to create ecocinas (ecological, economic stoves for economically disadvantaged families), build water cisterns, and bring in a retinopathy camera to Hospital General for use by diabetes patients, to name a few.

So what? you might ask, for four of every 10 people have never heard of Rotary, four have heard of but know nothing about Rotary, and only two can tell you something about Rotary.

Rotary professionally, intelligently and inspirationally unites diversely competent leaders to ethically and responsibly lead people to generate sustainable solutions to the world’s most acute humanitarian challenges through the strong connections of friendship and peaceful service. And this is done through the strength of its local members as well as through its foundation, which has two primary aims: to eradicate polio and to promote peace.

Polio has been 99 percent eradicated, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has offered Rotary a challenge grant of at least a quarter of a million dollars to go all the way. The current campaign is the largest commercial one in the world. Perhaps you have seen celebrities holding up their thumbs and index fingers and saying, “We’re this close!”

The Rotary Foundation has lots of experience with the resolution of major health issues as it was instrumental in the formation of the March of Dimes and Easter Seals.

As for peace, who could be against it? Rotary has peace programs at seven universities worldwide, and reminds us of what Eleanor Roosevelt said, “It’s not enough to speak of peace. One must believe in it and want to get it.”

Rotary Clubs encourage members and others to donate 27 cents a day, which becomes US$100 a year, to create more than a million dollars a year for this important work. And many non-Rotarians get on the bandwagon for tax-deductible contributions through annual giving, securities, planned giving, donor-advised giving, personal property donations, airline miles, and corporate matching funds.

To know more about Rotary and its foundation, go to, and or contact Lee Carter, president of the Midday club here at


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