R. I. President and Trustee Message


RI President 2021-22 Shekhar Mehta- Nov 2021

Dear Fellow Rotarians, Rotaractors, and friends,

I first discovered the value of service when I saw how a few simple acts can immeasurably change lives. It began when I joined others in my club for a project to bring toilets and clean drinking water to rural villages near our city. It moved forward when we promoted sanitation and provided opportunities for education across the country, thanks to generous gifts from supporters who believed in our projects as much as those of us on the ground did.

There is no better time of the year to be reminded of that generosity than November, which is Rotary Foundation Month.

As the charitable arm of Rotary International, The Rotary Foundation is the engine that powers so many Rotary projects throughout the world. The Foundation transforms your gifts into projects that change lives. It is the Foundation that helps us to get closer to our goal of eradicating polio, to show more people how we promote peace through tangible actions, and to demonstrate the impact our projects have in our areas of focus.

Consider some recent projects that were made possible by the Foundation:

• The Rotary clubs of Guatemala La Reforma, Guatemala, and Calgary, Alberta, received an $80,000 global grant to organize a comprehensive plan to train nurses and rural health care workers to prevent and treat cervical cancer and to implement a sustainable system of referrals in seven regions of Guatemala.

• More than two dozen hospitals in Honduras received personal protective equipment for their medical staff thanks to a $169,347 global grant sponsored by the Rotary clubs of Villa Real de Tegucigalpa, Honduras, and Waldo Brookside-Kansas City, Missouri.

• The Rotary clubs of Cotonou Le Nautile, Benin, and Tournai Haut-Escaut, Belgium, received a $39,390 global grant to provide agricultural training at an ecologically responsible permaculture mini-farm connected to a center for children in Sowé, Benin. This will help a new generation of farmers become economically self-sufficient.

I like comparing The Rotary Foundation to the Taj Mahal, a monument of one man’s love for a woman. The Foundation is a dynamic monument of our love for all of humanity.

This month I am asking all Rotary clubs to bring attention to the Foundation. It is what connects all Rotarians worldwide and transforms our collective passions into projects that change lives. Visit rotary.org/donate; once there, you will have an opportunity to give directly to the program you’re most passionate about.

Thank you for giving your all to Rotary. You are the reason that Rotary is able to do more and grow more. Let’s continue to represent that important legacy this month, this year, and beyond as we Serve to Change Lives.

Shekhar Mehta
President 2021-22

Trustee Chair's Message - November 2021

John F. Germ
Trustee Chair 2021-22
Chattanooga, Tennessee

Trustee chair's message

When people ask me what The Rotary Foundation is, I tell them it’s the heart of Rotary. You may have heard before that Rotary has an intelligent heart. The Foundation combines our emotional response of compassion with pragmatic action. With both heart and brains, you can change the world.

So, what does the Foundation mean to you? November is Rotary Foundation Month, but do you really know our Foundation?

First, it truly is our Foundation. The Rotary Foundation doesn’t belong to me or the other 14 trustees, nor to the RI Board of Directors, nor to the RI president. It belongs to each Rotarian around the world.

And it’s there for all of us to change the world. We save mothers and children because we have compassion, and we know how to plan. We provide clean water and sanitation where they’re needed to those who need them, because we build strategies based on a community’s needs. We combine support for peace, education, and economic stability for at-risk communities with an ability to manage big projects.

Giving to the Foundation is smart, too, because in doing so, you multiply the value of that gift. How many other foundations can you think of that identify the projects, fund them, and run them on the ground themselves? Ours is the only one I know. And we get it all done at such a relatively low administrative cost. This is one reason Charity Navigator consistently gives the Foundation a four-star rating.

I sometimes get asked a question: How much should I be giving to the Foundation? Each year, make a gift of what you can afford to give. For some, that is $100, and for others, more. What’s most important is that you give something, because each generous gift helps us meet the increased demand we’re seeing from members for global grants and our other programs.

This year, we want to raise $50 million for PolioPlus, which will be matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, for a total of $150 million. If every Rotary club contributed just $1,500, we would surpass this goal. We have other goals as well — for the Annual Fund, the Endowment Fund, and outright gifts — adding up to a grand total of $410 million.

We will get there if we set our hearts — and minds — to it. But remember, it’s not about the money; it’s what the money can do.

There’s a saying that goes, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

The Foundation is that stone, so let us turn ripples into great waves with it, using our hearts and our minds.


John F. Germ
Trustee Chair 2021-22

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