RI President 2018-19 Barry Rassin,
- July 2018
Dear Fellow Rotarians,
One year ago, your Rotary International Board of Directors
adopted a new vision statement, reflecting our aspirations for our
organization and its future. It reads, “Together, we see a
world where people unite and take action to create lasting change
– across the globe, in our communities, and in ourselves.”
That simple sentence distills so much of what is essential about
Rotary. We unite, because we know that we are far
stronger together than we could ever be alone. We take action,
because we are not dreamers, but doers. We work
to create lasting change that will endure long after our
involvement has ended – across the globe and in our
communities. And perhaps most important of all, we work
to create change in ourselves – not just building a better
world around us, but becoming better people ourselves.
A quotation attributed to French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
goes: “If you want to build a boat, don’t begin by collecting
wood, cutting boards, or assigning tasks. Begin by awakening in
the souls of your workers a longing for the vast and boundless sea.”
Each of us came to Rotary because we had a longing – to have
an impact, to make a difference, to be part of something larger
than ourselves. That desire, that vision for a better world and
our role in building it, is what drives us in Rotary. It’s
what made us become members, it’s what motivates us to serve,
and it’s what led me to choose our theme for this Rotary year:
Be the Inspiration.
I want to see Rotary Be the Inspiration for our
communities by doing work with a transformational impact. It’s
time to start moving forward, by removing the barriers that are
holding us back. Let’s make it easier to make adjustments
in our clubs or start new clubs that suit different needs. Let’s
work to strengthen Rotaract and smooth the transition from Rotaract
clubs into Rotary. Let’s give all Rotarians the flexibility
to serve in the ways that work best for them, so that every Rotarian
finds enduring value in Rotary membership.
Truly sustainable service, the kind of service we strive for in
Rotary, means looking at everything we do as part of a larger global
ecology. This year, I ask all of you to Be the Inspiration
for sustainable service by addressing the impact of environmental
issues on our work. The environment plays a key role in all six
of our areas of focus, and that role is only becoming greater as
the impact of climate change unfolds. It’s time to move past
seeing the environment as somehow separate from those six areas.
Clean air, water, and land are essential for healthy communities
– and essential for the better, healthier future we strive
Be the Inspiration – and together we can,
and we will, inspire the world.
Trustee Chair's Message - July
Ron D. Burton, Trustee Chair
About a year and a half after I joined my Rotary club, I
terminated my membership because I missed four consecutive
meetings. That was the rule at the time. I’ll freely
admit – I didn’t care much for the food or the
weekly meetings. I didn’t think they were the best
use of my time. But the real issue was that I wasn’t
engaged. I had no role, I had no reason to be a member,
and I didn’t need to go to a luncheon meeting every
week that appeared to offer me absolutely nothing.
But then my incoming club president asked me to chair the
club’s Rotary Foundation committee for the next Rotary
year. That was a turning point for me, and the rest is history.
I want you all to think about engaging those members who
have their doubts about Rotary. In 2018-19, I need your
help. I want you to join me in focusing on our four core
goals for the Foundation.
First, the No. 1 priority of our entire organization (and
this won’t be a surprise) is ending polio. We must
fulfill our promise of a polio-free world to every child.
Second, we must increase the sustainability of our service
efforts within the six areas of focus. This means conducting
thorough needs assessments. It means working with communities
to see what they really need and get them to buy in –
to own the project and measure it over time.
Our third priority is to encourage districts to use all
their District Designated Funds. Whether through district
grants, global grants, or PolioPlus, there are many ways
to form transformative partnerships and put these funds
Finally, we choose to build our Rotary Foundation Endowment
to $2.025 billion by 2025. Our comprehensive fundraising
goal for the year is $380 million. These funds will allow
us to continue the life-changing programs that Rotary members
undertake every day. But we each need to think about our
Rotary legacy. The Endowment is our future.
So please join me, and let’s make this a legacy-building
year for Rotary. Your legacy, Rotary’s promise.
Ron D. Burton
Trustee Chair 2018-19
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