Some magnificent projects grow from very small seeds. The Rotary Foundation had that sort of modest beginning.
In 1917 RI President Arch Klumph told the delegates to the Atlanta Convention that "it seems eminently proper that we should accept endowments for the purpose of doing good in the world." The response was polite and favorable, but the fund was slow to materialize. A year later the "Rotary Endowment Fund," as it was first labeled, received its first contribution of US$26.50 from the Rotary Club of Kansas City, Missouri, USA, which was the balance of the Kansas City Convention account following the 1918 annual meeting.
Additional small amounts were annually contributed, but after six years it is reported that the endowment fund had only reached US$700. A decade later, The Rotary Foundation was formally established at the 1928 Minneapolis Convention. In the next four years the Foundation fund grew to US$50,000. In 1937 a US$2 million goal was announced for The Rotary Foundation, but these plans were cut short and abandoned with the outbreak of World War II.
In 1947, upon the death of Paul Harris, a new era openedfor The Rotary Foundation as memorial gifts poured in to honor the founder of Rotary. From that time, The Rotary Foundation has been achieving its noble objective of furthering "understanding and friendly relations between peoples of different nations." By 1954 the Foundation received for the first time a half million dollars in contributions in a single year, and in 1965 a million dollars was received.
It is staggering to imagine that from those humble beginnings, The Rotary Foundation is now receiving more than US$65 million each year for educational and humanitarian work around the world.
For further information and history about "Our Charity", click here