One of my Governor classmates posted a query on our classmate Facebook page asking us all to name the very best activity of our Governor year … He asked this question in early June, and I didn’t respond, because I was so busy holding my breath.
But now the final numbers have been tallied, and I can share. You see, the very best event that happened my Governor year is that collectively, we blew the top off the Rotary Foundation giving numbers that this District.
For those of you who aren’t Rotarians (and as a review for those of you who are) The Rotary Foundation is the funding organization that makes possible all the good that Rotarians do in the world. All the scholarships, the grants, the work to eradicate polio — it all comes through the Foundation. And the Foundation is fueled by the Annual Fund. So it’s up to us, as Rotarians, to give — not until it hurts — but until it helps.
Rotary has a magic formula for giving. Every Rotarian is asked to give at least $100 annually. Since that’s two bucks a week, and since most Rotarians pay a lot more than that for the meal that is part of their weekly meeting, $100 annually shouldn’t be a big deal. But it is. Just as churches and PBS rely on the committed few to support the rest, so to does The Rotary Foundation … Anyway, this District has come close, but it has never reached the $100 per capita giving figure.
Until this year.
In fact, the past three years the per capita figures marked by District 7780 have been closer to $75 per person, and the chattering classes were of the opinion that the $100 figure was never going to happen.
Well, they were wrong.
Of course, a lion’s share of the giving happens at the last minute … that’s true of all charities, and particularly true of Rotary charities. So it wasn’t until the end of May that it was even clear that we would make decent numbers, and since then I’ve been watching the online accounting and obsessing … obsessing and writing encouraging emails to clubs reminding them of their commitment or their goals or the need that The Foundation supports or all three. And last week Evanston finalized the numbers and closed the books on 2012-13, and District 7780 officially tallied $107.02 per capita for a grand total of $186,739.73 to the Annual Fund.
All I can say is: “Wow!”
Of course, results like this take teamwork. District Foundation Chair Peter Johnson has been amazing all year, making time to talk with clubs and club boards and explaining the promise of The Rotary Foundation. Our District Foundation Seminar last year was awesome, and really explained how we get to decide how to spend the money that we raise. Club presidents have received the information and shared it, and 10 of the clubs made it their business to ensure that everyone in the club gave at least something to the cause.
Reaching $107 per capita has been a remarkable, remarkable accomplishment, and yes, I want more: Because I hope and absolutely believe that this figure can be a new benchmark for the District, and next year’s numbers can reach even higher. After all, the work of The Rotary Foundation isn’t going away. It’s one of the best run charities in the world. (Don’t ask me; check out the numbers on Charity Navigator.) That $100 contribution (or more) per person may go anywhere in the world and fund a scholarship or a humanitarian grant or support disease prevention but wherever it goes, one thing is clear: No where else is it possible to invest so little and still change lives.