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The Rotary Foundation

October 6, 2011

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The Rotary Foundation is an essential part of Rotary, making it possible for every Rotarian to reach beyond his or her community to make a difference in the world by supporting the many programs of the Foundation. Lynne Stratton is our club's Rotary Foundation chair. Recently, she spoke to the club about the goal of having every Rotarian contribute to the Foundation every year.

Last year nineteen members of the Bennington Rotary Club contributed, fourteen of them at the one hundred dollar level. The money is credited towards a Paul Harris Award, either for the contributor or for someone he or she selects.

Besides Polio Plus which is the Foundation's major goal, the Foundation funds support Ambassadorial Scholarships. We have had several such scholars in our community and when they have spoken to the club, it has been clear how much the individuals have gained from the experience and how such programs build understanding between countries.

Another such program is the Group Study Exchange. The team from Pakistan last year gave us a new perspective on that country which is so much in the news. Programs such as these put human faces on the issues about which we read.

A program about which we don't know as much as about Polio Plus offers grants for University Teachers to teach in developing countries from three to ten months.

The Foundation also supplies funds for disaster relief. This program began in 2005-2006. Currently, the Foundation administers four Disaster Recovery accounts. Two are for hurricanes in Guatamala and Mexico, one in the United States as a result of Hurricane Wilma, and one in response to the earthquake in India and Pakistan.

Funds for matching grants makes it possible for clubs to work on projects with Rotary clubs in other countries on specific service projects. Considering how meaningful the trips to Somotillo are for our Interact students, that might be something that our club could apply for, involving the Interact students in the planning and application process. Although we want to continue our focus on Polio Plus, we should also consider these other fine programs that are part of the Foundation's program.

There are many ways in which members can contribute to the Foundation if writing a check for one hundred dollars at one time does not fit into one's budget. Paying five or ten dollars a month is possible. Lynn is willing to work with members to find a plan that suits them best.

Author: Sally Sugarman (Club Member & Windmill Editor)

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