Thursday’s meeting of the Carmi Rotary club featured a presentation by the Rotary District Foundation Director, Janice Alka from the Mt. Carmel club. Janice is a seasoned veteran of Rotary, having served as a district governor in the past as well as being a long term regional leader. She told the club that through Rotary, she has now visited every continent on earth except Antarctica and Australia.
Janice was on hand to answer a basic question: Why give to the Rotary Foundation?
As she explained, there are many, many reasons to give. First and foremost, the money given to the foundation goes where they say it is going. The US Charity Navigator, an organization that monitors charities all across the country, has given the Rotary Foundation a four-star rating, the highest it gives. Money give to the foundation doesn’t go primarily to the administration, but actually to the area it claims to be helping.
Secondly, individuals or clubs can designate where they want their money spent. If a person has a strong desire to help with water projects around the world, they can stipulate that their donation be spent that way. Another person might want their funds going toward education, another might want to see the money going to purchase books. However, an individual wants their money spent – that’s how it will be allocated.
Third on the list of reasons; local club’s money can be used in such a way that it grows. District grants are designed in a way that a club’s donation can be matched dollar for dollar by RI, so a club that gives one thousand dollars toward water wells, will actually see two thousand dollars being given for that cause. In the case of polio eradication, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match two for one. This means if a club gives one thousand dollars, RI will match that to make it two thousand, then the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will match that amount, making the total donation four thousand dollars. In this way, even small clubs (like Carmi) can have an impact world-wide.
Lastly, Janice explained that Rotary has a world-wide reach. In fact, Rotary has an office in the United Nations building in New York City, the only service club to have that honor. With Rotary’s history around the world, local problems can be tackled at the local level, not by a large faceless organization from some other part of the globe. Local clubs take on local issues, using the funding of the Rotary Foundation.
Rotary clubs are encouraged to actively support the Foundation, and the Carmi club does just that. Each week, the 50/50 raffle is used for the Foundation. Half of all the money raised goes to the foundation to be used as it is needed. There are also several “Paul Harris Fellow” in the Carmi club. This designation means the Rotarian has given at least one thousand dollars to the charity.
Speaking of the 50/50 raffle, Patty Mills held the winning number, but failed to pull the pink ball to claim the day’s jackpot. Janice Parks was named as the day’s phantom.
The Carmi Rotary Club meets every Thursday at noon at the First United Methodist Church on Main Street in Carmi. Anyone wishing to learn more about this civic organization is welcome to attend a meeting or speak with any Carmi Rotarian.