R. I. President and Trustee Message

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RI President 2021-22 Shekhar Mehta- Dec 2021

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Dear Fellow Rotarians, Rotaractors, and friends,


Public health is on everyone’s mind due to the global pandemic that still threatens the safety of ourselves and our loved ones. In a sense, COVID-19 has made all of us much more aware of the roles and responsibilities of medical professionals than we were before we had to wear masks and maintain social distance. In addition, while moving through this pandemic, we have also learned about the role we can play in keeping others safe.

December is Disease Prevention and Treatment Month in Rotary. The pandemic unfortunately has schooled most people on the toll that disease takes on our communities. But fighting disease is something that Rotarians around the world have been doing for decades. In fact, it is one of Rotary’s seven areas of focus.

As Rotarians, we believe that good health and well-being is a human right — even though 400 million people across the globe do not have access to essential health services. The work we do in establishing clinics, eye hospitals, and blood banks, as well as in building infrastructure for medical facilities in underserved communities, all returns to a central belief that access, prevention, and education are the keys to stopping deadly outbreaks that harm the most vulnerable.

My exposure to health work began with my Rotary club, Calcutta-Mahanagar. There, among other things, I helped pioneer a program called Saving Little Hearts that over the years has provided more than 2,500 free heart surgeries for children from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Africa. Before the program went international, it started locally with the goal of performing just six surgeries within our community. Today, our goal is to complete another 20,000 surgeries over the next five years.

The world relies on Rotary to tackle challenges like these and to set an example for others. Over the past decade, medical professionals and government workers have provided free health services to 2.5 million people in 10 countries during Family Health Days, which are organized by Rotarians around the world. Similar health camps in India also provide thousands of surgeries to those in need. Medical missions from India to Africa each year are an excellent example of hands-on service in disease prevention and treatment. Rotary members can also get involved at a local level; clubs in the United States and Mexico, for example, fund a free health clinic in Guerrero, a small town in Mexico.

And of course, our effort to eradicate polio is by far the best story in civil-society health care.

This month, think about how your club can focus on preventing and fighting disease. This is the time to take a bigger, better, bolder approach through both club and district projects that can impact more people. Re-evaluate where you are with your goals. Create strategies that can sustain change over years, not months.

Everyone deserves a long, healthy life. When you Serve to Change Lives, your actions today can help extend the lives of others.

Shekhar Mehta
President 2021-22

Trustee Chair's Message - December 2021

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

Trustee chair's message


December marks a special time of year. It’s a time of holiday gatherings and family reunions (COVID-19 permitting). It’s also the halfway point of the Rotary year, when we look back on our goals, reflecting on the what and the why of our work.

First, the what. This year, to stay on course to reach our goal, we need to raise $50 million for PolioPlus, with a 2-to-1 match by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation bringing the total to $150 million. To keep our Rotary Foundation programs running strong, we set a goal to raise $125 million for the Annual Fund. We also aim to raise $95 million for the Endowment Fund in outright gifts and new commitments, and a further $40 million for other outright gifts.

So how do we reach our grand total of $410 million? We must remember that in all great endeavors, including Rotary, we are part of a TEAM: Together, Everyone Achieves More.

You can’t have a great team without great PEOPLE. P stands for pride in our organization, our achievements, and our potential. E is our empathy for others, which we transform into service. O has two parts: the tremendous opportunities to make a difference that Rotary has granted us, and an obligation to pull others up and to increase our ranks. Our second P is for perseverance, helping us stick to our goals, like polio eradication, when the going gets tough. L stands for leadership, and E for enthusiasm — the fuel of Rotary.

While we are revisiting our goals, we also need to remember the why. For me, this needs little explanation. Why wouldn’t you help expectant mothers and their children survive and thrive by supporting a Rotary Foundation grant? And why wouldn’t you initiate programs to help preserve the environment, our cherished home? The pandemic has only renewed my conviction that life is precious, and we must seize every opportunity to enhance the lives of others.

You are one of the PEOPLE on our TEAM. I encourage you this month to join other leaders who participate in Rotary’s strong tradition of philanthropy by making a gift to The Rotary Foundation. It is the season of giving, and every gift counts. Please contribute any amount that feels right by 31 December, and your gift will keep on giving in 2022 and for years to come. There are many ways to give, as a club or an individual — why not set up a giving plan?

The Rotary Foundation offers us countless opportunities to help make a difference in the world. Let us never squander those opportunities, nor take our Foundation for granted.

Judy and I wish you the happiest of holidays.

http://www.endpolio.org/donate.


John F. Germ
Trustee Chair 2021-22

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