The Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Foundation is Rotary’s only charity, established 100 years ago to support Rotary International in its mission to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programs.

The Rotary Foundation provides the funding for major global programmes, such as End Polio Now. Through Global Grants and District Grants, it provides the funding required by Districts and Rotary Clubs to deliver a wide range of national, international and local community projects.

These are the projects that differentiate Rotary from other service organisations, and that underpin the theme of Rotary Serving Humanity.

Our Foundation is built solely on voluntary contributions from Rotary Clubs, from individual Rotarians, and from friends of Rotary, who all share its vision of the way to a better world. 

At the 1917 convention, outgoing Rotary International President Arch C. Klumph proposed to set 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 for good that has transformed millions of lives around the globe. In 1928, it was renamed The Rotary Foundation, and has since grown to more than $1billion in funding, supporting major humanitarian projects worldwide, and having one of the largest and most prestigious fellowship programs in the world.

The mission of The Rotary Foundation is to enable Rotary members to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, thesupport of education, and the alleviation of poverty. The Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotary members and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world. This support is essential to make possible projects, funded with the aid of Foundation grants, that deliver life-changing and  sustainable improvement to communities in need.

Polio eradication is Rotary’s top philanthropic priority. When Rotary launched the PolioPlus program in 1985, there were more than 350,000 polio cases in over 125 countries. Since 1988, when Rotary began working with its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to immunize more than 2.5 billion children, the incidence of polio has decreased 99.9 percent. As of 2015, Rotary’s contributions to the global polio eradication effort totalled $1.5 billion.

Rotary Peace Fellowships enable individuals to pursue a graduate degree in international relations, peace, conflict resolution, and related subjects. This year alone, there are 7 such scholars studying at Irish universities.

The Rotary Foundation District provides grants to Rotary clubs that enable projects  to address immediate needs in their communities and abroad. These grants typically fund humanitarian projects,  that have sustainable, measurable outcomes in one or more of Rotary’s areas of focus.

·       Peace and conflict prevention/resolution Watch Video "HERE"

·       Disease prevention and treatment Watch Video "HERE"

·       Water and sanitation Watch Video "HERE"

·       Maternal and child health Watch Video "HERE"

·       Basic education and literacy Watch Video "HERE"

·       Economic and community development Watch Video "HERE"

In a Rotary Ireland context, this funding has supported diverse international projects, including:

·       Bringing drinking water and sanitation to communities in Kenya and Malawi

·       Bringing health services to people in India, Uganda, DRC and Zambia

·       Bringing education to communities in Africa, Asia and South America

·       Bringing disaster relief to Haiti, Nepal, Bangladesh and the Philippines

·       Providing prosthetic limbs to victims of war and disease

·       Providing refurbished bicycles and school books to children in The Gambia

In Ireland, an even more diverse range of local projects have been funded, including:

·       Providing sensory gardens and playgrounds for Special Schools (CRC - Dublin, Willowbridge - Enniskillen)

·       Delivering IT  and educational aids for schools, both special and mainstream (Mother of Fair Love - Kilkenny, Learning Hub - Limerick)

·       Supporting facilities  for suicide counselling and support services (Pieta House - Cork, PIPS - Lurgan)

·       Sponsoring literacy programs for children and adults (SHARE - Dublin, Nendrum College - Comber)

·       Supporting youth training and development programs (TABU - Belfast,  YEA – Ballymoney, Fingal Gallopers – Dublin)

·       Equipping Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence facilities and programmes (Cara Lodge – Cork, Make it Better –Antrim)

One current project entails the conversion of 45 semi derelict rooms, formerly used as nurse accommodation, into bedrooms that will be used by parents of children occupying beds in Our Lady’s Hospital for Sick Children, Crumlin.

It is projects like these that demonstrate and underpin the ongoing commitment of Rotarians to doing good in the world, a commitment that the Rotary Foundation has now been supporting for 100 years.

The Rotary Foundation pages:

Memorandum of Understanding

(members only log in for more information)

All About Polio

more Most doctors and nurses working today will never have treated a case of polio

Polio National Immunisation Days


Rotary Foundation Grants

more (2 pages below this)

Sustaining Members




The Postal Measurement Survey


Polio Plus


Rotary Peace Felowships


Annual Fund and Personal Giving