Reasons to love Rotary right now

Photo Credit: Jacob Slaton

From the August 2016 issue of The Rotarian

Reasons to love Rotary right now

1. Because we are about to eradicate a disease, and you can be a part of it

We are 99.9 percent of the way toward ending polio. As of early June, there were only 16 cases of wild poliovirus in the world, and many think this could be the year we see the last naturally occurring case of polio.

As Rotary and our partners work to eradicate the poliovirus in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the remaining endemic countries, we also continue immunization campaigns in other high-risk countries to ensure that the disease remains gone for good. You can participate on the ground. Email polioplus@rotary.org to connect with Rotarians leading upcoming trips. 

Also consider using your network to spread the word and make sure polio stays on the global agenda. Provide a link to endpolio.org in your email signature. Follow End Polio Now on Facebook and Twitter and share the story of polio eradication with your social networks. When your legislators speak at club meetings, make sure you bring up polio funding. “The fact we are grassroots enables us to have a tremendous amount of influence,” says International PolioPlus Chair Michael McGovern. Host a community event to celebrate World Polio Day on 24 October; register your event and download resources at endpolio.org.

Donate now and your contribution will be matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Go to www.endpolio.org.

2. Because you are connected to people who take action

Olympia LePoint

Rotary Club of Los Angeles

is a rocket scientist who helps others overcome their fears.

Kenton Lee

Rotary Club of Nampa, Idaho

invented a shoe that can be adjusted to five foot sizes so that children always have a pair that fits.

Lisa McCoy

Rotary Club of Gravenhurst, Ont.

provides bicycles to Cambodian children so they can get to school.

Ron Bowden

Rotary Club of Toowoomba East, Australia

helped found a “men’s shed,” a communal building stocked with tools for light carpentry, where people gather to tinker and socialize.

Carole Kimutai

Rotary Club of Nairobi-East, Kenya

climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money to end polio.

Neli Vazquez-Rowland

Rotary Club of Chicago

tackles homelessness, unemployment, and addiction in Chicago. 

Cathy Groenendijk 

Rotary Club of Juba, South Sudan

risks her life to help girls who have been orphaned by the war in South Sudan. 

Todd Bol

Rotary Club of Hudson, Wis.

founded the Little Free Library movement, with more than 36,000 book exchanges in all 50 states and 70 countries.

Filipe Senna Fernandes

Rotary Club of Macau

is a business consultant and marketing professional by day and a disc jockey by night. 

Planning a project and need help?

Rotarian experts offer advice to other members through Rotary’s action group network and the Foundation’s cadre system.

To learn more about action groups, visit wwwtrn.rotary.org/actiongroups.

To get in touch with a cadre adviser who can help you plan and execute a grant project anywhere in the world, visit wwwtrn.rotary.org/cadre-technical-advisers.

3. Because our Foundation is 100 years strong

Founded in the midst of a world war, our Foundation grew up during a global depression and a second world war to become one of the world’s leading foundations. Its story is one of vision, compassion, and generosity. What began as modest projects that helped relatively small groups of people gradually expanded, and today more than $3 billion has been spent on programs and projects transforming millions of lives around the globe. Together, Rotarians are attacking poverty, disease, and lack of education, and bringing peace through grant-funded projects in our areas of focus.

Celebrate the Foundation centennial by bringing your community together.

Find ideas for events, fundraisers, and projects at wwwtrn.rotary.org/foundation100.

No matter how large or small, your gift makes a difference. 

Already supporting The Rotary Foundation? Make it automatic via Rotary Direct, which allows you to choose the amount and frequency that are right for you. Get started at wwwtrn.rotary.org/give.

Considering a large gift? Endowed gifts are invested in perpetuity, with a portion of their earnings spent on a designated program. Special naming opportunities are available for endowed gifts to recognize the donor or a loved one. Learn more at wwwtrn.rotary.org/take-action/give/recognition.

4. Because we know all about social networking

In 1905, a lonely Paul Harris was looking for camaraderie and a way to build a professional network. Today, that network is 1.2 million members strong who are connected to other leaders in their own communities and around the world. Keep up with those connections in the My Rotary online community, where you can join a discussion group or start a new one. Share your interests and activities at www.myrotary.org/exchange-ideas. Expand your Rotary network by attending a Rotary International Convention (the next one is in Atlanta in June; visit riconvention.org for details) and keep up with your connections near and far on social media: Check out Rotary’s pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

5. Because the good you do really does come back to you

Through the Global Rewards program, Rotary and Rotaract members can take advantage of discounts on car rentals, hotels, dining, entertainment, and a wide variety of other products. (Marriott, Amazon.com, Costco, and Ikea are just a few of the businesses that participate.) Many members also offer discounts from their own businesses. Use it as a way to save money on a club project or to support a member-owned business. Products and services are added every week; find out what’s new at wwwtrn.rotary.org/globalrewards.

Moving?

Did you move, or have your schedule and obligations changed? Rejoin or find a new club at wwwtrn.rotary.org/membershipreferral.

Met someone you think would be great for Rotary? Use the same membership referral tool to connect them with the right club.

6. Because membership just became a lot more flexible

Rotary clubs now have more options for attracting members and keeping them involved. In April, representatives from Rotary districts around the world met to revise Rotary’s policies, approving changes that give clubs greater flexibility in when, where, and how they meet and the types of membership they offer. For example, clubs may now:

  • Structure their meetings however they like, as long as they meet at least twice a month. Want your service events and monthly socials to count as meetings? No problem. Prefer to offer both online and in-person meeting options? Go for it.
  • Amend their bylaws to reflect their attendance requirements. Reporting attendance to the district is still expected, but clubs are free to relax or tighten their policies.
  • Change bylaws to offer additional membership types such as associate, corporate, or family. Want to invite colleagues of the same company to join as corporate members who alternate attendance at meetings? Do it.
  • Invite a Rotaract member or younger professional to join at a lower financial and time commitment. Rotaractors who meet the qualifications of membership can now join a Rotary club without giving up their Rotaract status. Relatively few Rotaract members make the jump to Rotary when they turn 30. This change may facilitate Rotaractors’ transition to Rotary clubs.

These changes were made after Rotary carried out several years of pilot programs to explore innovations in membership, classification, and the club experience. Consistently, the research found that when clubs have more freedom to determine how they meet, whom they invite to join, and what defines engagement, the club is more vibrant and able to grow.

7. Because our work to support peace and end conflict is making the world a better place – one person at a time

Where Rotary Peace Center alumni work

  • Nongovernmental organizations 36%
  • Government agencies 15%
  • Research/academics 8%
  • Pursuing advanced degree 8%
  • Teaching 8%
  • United Nations agencies 6%
  • Police/law enforcement 3%
  • Law 3%
  • Journalism 2%
  • World Bank 1%
  • Other 10%

Support the Rotary Peace Centers at wwwtrn.rotary.org/take-action/give/promote-peace.

8. Because Rotary’s scholarships help the best and brightest achieve their goals

Clubs and districts can support scholarships with either a district grant (for any level of study) or a global grant for graduate study in one of Rotary’s areas of focus. A student could study anywhere in the world and for any length of time on a district grant-funded scholarship. The district provides all administrative and logistical support for this type of scholar. Rotary clubs that use global grants to support their scholarships may do so only for graduate students studying abroad in one of Rotary’s six areas of focus. Scholarships range from one to four years and can include an entire degree program. Prospective scholars have to show proof of admission to the chosen university and participate in club or district activities before, during, and after the scholarship.

Did you know? The Rotary Foundation also offers a limited number of scholarships for water and sanitation professionals to study at UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands. Rotarians interview applicants who have been admitted to the institute and recommend scholarship candidates. Learn more at www.unesco-ihe.org/rotary.

Rotary’s Areas of Focus

  • Providing clean water
  • Supporting education
  • Fighting disease
  • Saving mothers and children
  • Growing local economies
  • Promoting peace

9. Because science says Rotarians are happier and healthier

Rotary club meetings offer the type of genuine social connection that triggers our bodies to release oxytocin, the so-called happiness hormone, and reduce levels of cytokines, pro-inflammatory proteins that signal the immune system to work harder and are often associated with poor health and depression. In fact, data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index show that adults who volunteer and receive recognition for community involvement have higher overall well-being scores and experience less stress than their peers. Psychologists from the University of Queensland, Australia, found that membership in multiple social groups can boost self-esteem, and not just because of the relationships contained within them. The more subjects identified with given groups, the more psychological benefits – purpose, meaning, and a sense of belonging – they gained from their memberships.

10. Because our future is bright

If you’ve ever been to a Rotaract meeting or volunteered at RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards), you’ve already glimpsed one of the most vibrant parts of Rotary. Our programs for the 20-something and younger set are designed to mentor young leaders and bring generations together. Rotary recently relaxed its membership requirements, allowing Rotaract members to join a Rotary club without giving up their Rotaract membership. The change helps Rotaract members find the Rotary club that fits them best. Get involved with Rotary’s programs for young leaders in your area. Learn more at wwwtrn.rotary.org/rotaractinteractryla.

Interact is a club for people ages 12 to 18 who want to connect with others in their community or school. Clubs organize at least two service projects a year: one that benefits their community and one that encourages international understanding.

RYLA is a leadership development program. While participants can be any age, most events focus on secondary school students, university students, or young professionals. RYLA events are typically three to 10 days long and include presentations, activities, and workshops.

Rotaract brings together people ages 18 to 30 in universities and communities worldwide to organize service activities, develop leadership and professional skills, and have fun.

The Rotarian

1-Aug-2016
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