Funding Model Simplifies Process for Clubs & Districts
8 November 2007 - In response to the
new Rotary Foundation grant structure, the Future Vision Committee recommended
a preliminary distributable funds model that was approved by the Foundation
Trustees and then reviewed by the RI Board during the October/November
meetings of both boards.
Under the new model, block grants will be funded by a percentage of
District Designated Fund allocations. During the three-year pilot phase
(2009-12), districts may use up to 40 percent of their available DDF
to support smaller local and international projects, offering districts
a great deal of flexibility. This percentage will be reviewed annually
by the Trustees. SHARE will continue operating in its current structure,
with 50 percent of district contributions going to the World Fund and
50 percent to DDF.
Club- and district-designed grants in the areas of focus (priority world
needs identified by Rotarians in which the Foundation is directing its
resources to have a sustainable and measurable impact that leverages
the organization's financial and volunteer resources) are expected to
be supported by a World Fund match of DDF. Grants offered by the Foundation
and its strategic cooperative relationships, or SCRs (organizations
that specialize in one of the strategic areas of focus and have an established
relationship with the Foundation), will be supported by the World Fund,
Foundation-earned income, contributions from SCRs, and other sources
being studied further by the Future Vision Committee and Trustees. The
Trustees envision the joint Foundation-SCR grants as the most effective
and strategic use of Foundation resources in achieving sustainable outcomes.
As such, these grants would be funded completely by the World Fund through
a competitive process that does not require club and district financial
"This model greatly simplifies our current funding mechanism and
gives districts better access and flexibility in using their contributions,"
said Trustee Ron Burton. "With strategic cooperative relationships,
we also increase the level of funding available for large-scale projects
in our areas of focus and continue to provide a choice to clubs and
districts in their service interests with more resources at their fingertips."
At their October/November
meetings, The Rotary Foundation Trustees and the RI Board approved the
grant structure and strategic cooperative relationships models and a
preliminary distributable funds model, all of which form the core of
the Foundation’s Future Vision Plan.
Reflecting input from grassroots Rotarians, senior leaders, and outside
consultants, the new models simplify Foundation programs and focus Rotarian
service efforts where they will have the greatest impact. With a goal
of full implementation by 2012-13, the plan provides program options
designed to achieve both global and local goals and increase the sense
of ownership at the grassroots level by transferring more decisions
to the districts.
The new grant model offers two types of grants. The first type allows
Rotarians greater flexibility to use funds to support their broad service
interests and address immediate needs in their communities. The second
type offers opportunities to participate in focused and sustainable
activities with greater support from the Foundation and cooperative
relationships to make the projects more successful and sustainable.
The first type are block grants to districts, modeled after the current
District Simplified Grants program, that will allow clubs and districts
greater flexibility in carrying out local and international projects.
Districts will be able to use up to 40 percent of their District Designated
Fund to support these grants.
The second type will fund larger, more sustainable projects in one of
the three to five strategic areas of focus (the Trustees will determine
these areas at their April 2008 meeting, based on demonstrated Rotarian
interest and experience in current Foundation programs). Under this
model, clubs and districts will select from two options: club- and district-designed
projects and prepackaged projects with strategic cooperative relationship
organizations. These grants will enhance funding opportunities and support
efforts that will gain more prominence for the Foundation.
The Future Vision Plan will be implemented in stages as identified in
the draft transition plan that will be finalized in April 2008. In 2008-09,
the Trustees will select approximately 60 geographically dispersed districts
to participate in a pilot program for 2009-12. The remaining districts
will continue to use the current programs and grants processes.
In expressing his support for the new models, Foundation Trustee Chair
Robert S. Scott applauded the more strategic approach to service embodied
in the Future Vision Plan. “Being everything to everyone has left
the Foundation struggling to realize its mission. The new structure
allows us to build on our strengths and realize more sustainable outcomes,”
“Rotarians have demanded a simpler, more accessible Foundation
that makes better use of our resources,” said Past RI President
and Future Vision Committee Chair Luis V. Giay. “Our new models
for The Rotary Foundation all meet the established criteria of a ‘five-way
test’: They are 1) simple, 2) cost effective, 3) require significant
Rotarian involvement, 4) have sustainable outcomes, and 5) are consistent
with the Foundation’s mission. We are in the process of gradually
transforming our Foundation as we prepare to celebrate its first century
Under the new grant structure
model for The Rotary Foundation, all grants will fall into one of two
categories and consolidate educational and humanitarian programs. The
grants will allow Rotary clubs and districts to continue to support
their broad service interests and address immediate needs in their communities,
while participating in projects with proven results that allocate greater
resources to larger and more strategically focused projects.
The first type of grants, modeled after the current District Simplified
Grants, are block grants managed by the districts. Designed to give
clubs and districts a greater sense of ownership, these grants also
provide more flexibility in carrying out local and international projects
that will preferably be completed in less than 18 months. A broad scope
of activities are eligible, provided they relate and conform to the
Foundation’s mission. Clubs and districts may form international
partnerships to address needs in their local communities or abroad and
partner with local organizations on community projects.
Although sustainability isn't required, clubs are encouraged to consider
long-term outcomes in their plans. "We envision that some grant
projects will serve as a laboratory at the local level for projects
that could develop into larger and more sustainable efforts supported
by the more focused grant types," said Trustee Ron Burton, a member
of the Future Vision Committee.
In the pilot phase, districts will use available District Designated
Fund allocations to support the block grants, giving districts more
control over their DDF. Some examples of projects that might be funded
include books for a local literacy project, travel expenses for a Rotarian
providing volunteer service abroad, and tuition costs for a scholarship
for a local college student.
The second type of grants are more focused and support larger, more
sustainable projects related to one of the three to five strategic areas
of focus (to be established by the Foundation Trustees at their April
2008 meeting). An area of focus is defined as a priority world need
identified by Rotarians in which the Foundation is directing its resources
to have a sustainable and measurable impact that leverages the organization’s
financial and volunteer resources. Based on demonstrated Rotarian interest
and experience, these areas of focus will offer a long-term commitment
with potential for sustainable beneficiary outcomes. This grant type
does not include the current corporate project, PolioPlus, or any future
one; corporate projects will be independent and the highest priority
of Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation.
Clubs and districts may apply for this type of grant with an international
partner, club, or district to support a focus area project of their
choice. Or they may apply for a grant established with a strategic cooperative
relationship organization designated by the Foundation. In an effort
to also consider Group Study Exchange and Ambassadorial Scholarships
in a more strategic way, it is possible that the grants will fund participants
whose professional or study fields relate to the areas of focus. Specific
strategies for activities and projects are still being developed for
review by the Trustees in April.
"These larger grants are designed to use Rotary Foundation resources
more strategically and to address Rotarians' interests," said Trustee
Sakuji Tanaka, member of the Future Vision Committee. "By building
on our strengths and concentrating our organizational efforts, we can
make far more impact, attract new interest from potential strategic
cooperative relationship organizations, and greatly enhance our Foundation’s
In addition to the areas of focus, other details about the grant structure
require further clarification from the Trustees. "Many questions
still need to be answered on how to apply, approve, disburse, and report
on these grant types," said Trustee Chair-elect Jonathan Majiyagbe,
who is vice chair of the Future Vision Committee. "The Trustees
have asked the Stewardship Committee to outline the stewardship needs
of the new model."
A key feature of The Rotary
Foundation's Future Vision Plan involves forming strategic cooperative
relationships (SCR) with organizations that can help the Foundation
accomplish its mission and the goals of each area of focus. Under the
SCR model adopted by the Foundation Trustees and RI Board, the Foundation
will strategically cooperate with organizations that specialize in one
of strategic areas of focus to be selected at the April Trustees meeting
and endorsed at the June Board meeting.
Areas of focus are defined as a priority world need, identified by Rotarians,
in which the Foundation is directing its resources to have a sustainable
and measurable impact that leverages the organization’s financial
and volunteer resources. The SCR organizations are expected to provide
financial support, technical expertise, or advocacy efforts in projects
and activities that are designed jointly with the Foundation and include
The Trustees anticipate significant benefits in cooperating with other
organizations to support the projects and activities of the Foundation.
The relationship is expected to promote a holistic approach in providing
sustainable outcomes in projects and activities of Rotarians worldwide.
The SCR model provides unlimited opportunities to spread the message
of Rotarians' service focus.
The SCR model will focus on a collaborative approach in projects with
financial, technical, and advocacy resources involving Rotarians, clubs,
districts, and other Rotary entities. The final outcomes provide a significant
benefit to the communities that both organizations - Rotary and the
strategic cooperative relationship organization - are serving.
"Like our partnership in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative,
strategic cooperative relationships will enable The Rotary Foundation
to address larger needs," said Trustee Chair Robert S. Scott. "We
expect to partner with organizations that are recognized worldwide for
their work in our areas of focus and who can contribute financial, technical,
or advocacy resources."
To ensure that the new models
for developing and funding grants meet the Future Vision Plan objectives,
the Rotary Foundation Trustees and the RI Board approved a preliminary
three-year pilot program that begins 1 July 2009. The Trustees will
finalize the transition plan and pilot program at their April 2008 meeting.
Clubs and districts will receive more information about the program
in the coming months, and districts interested in being considered for
the pilot will be invited to submit applications during the 2008-09
The Trustees will select approximately 60 geographically dispersed districts
to participate. During the pilot phase, the Foundation will operate
along parallel tracks, with the pilot districts following the guidelines
for the new models and the remaining majority of districts seeing little,
if any, change in the way they participate in Foundation programs.
"This transitional pilot stage will allow us to identify and work
out any issues that we might not have anticipated," said Trustee
Chair-elect Jonathan Majiyagbe, who is vice chair of the Future Vision
Committee. "We can also use this period to develop strategic cooperative
relationships needed to work with 530 districts." The transitional
period will also give Rotarians time to adjust to the many changes underway.
Past RI President Luis V. Giay, who chairs the committee, recognized
that the magnitude of change involved may be difficult for some Rotarians
to accept quickly. "Our Rotary culture is slow to change and must
be given time," Giay said, "but change is imperative for our
Foundation’s health. I believe that ultimately we will experience
a broader and deeper commitment to our Foundation as Rotarians see the
measurable outcomes of their work."