R. I. President Message

RI President 2018-19 Barry Rassin, - Sep. 2018

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Dear Fellow Rotarians,

Imagine if we could take a snapshot capturing all of the work Rotary does on a given day. No one – except Rotarians – would believe that a single organization was capable of accomplishing so much. In that snapshot you would see dedicated volunteers working to eradicate polio, setting up microloans, providing clean water, mentoring youth, and countless other actions.

We can do all this thanks both to our geographic reach and to the fact that our clubs are made up of people who are engaged in their communities. As a part of the community that you serve, you know the needs, you have the connections, and you're able to take immediate action. That's why every Rotary club's membership should reflect the diversity of its community.

We've made great strides in this. In Egypt, Indonesia, and Kenya, Rotary is approaching 50 percent female membership. We're also expanding the age diversity of our clubs. In each of our communities, young professionals are eager to contribute their talents, give back, and learn from mentors. Let's share with them what Rotary is all about. The Engaging Younger Professionals Toolkit at Rotary.org has an action plan to help you reach young leaders and Rotary alumni in your area.

Another resource that can help us better reflect our communities – one that is global like us, is a quarter-million members strong, and already shares our values of service and leadership – is Rotaract. Rotaractors are our partners: Team up with them on projects, ask them to speak at your events, and invite them to join your club. Dedicated Rotaractors worldwide are becoming members of Rotary and even starting new Rotary clubs while still serving as members of Rotaract.

The world needs Rotary, and Rotary needs strong clubs and engaged members in order to do more good. It is our responsibility – yours and mine – to make sure everyone who shows an interest in joining Rotary gets an invitation. Make use of the Membership Leads tool at Rotary.org, which helps people who are interested in joining Rotary connect with a club that's right for them. And let's ensure that every member has a reason to stay. By building strong clubs that engage in meaningful projects and have fun along the way, we provide value to our club members that they cannot find anywhere else.

Let's not keep Rotary's story – the story captured in those snapshots of service – to ourselves. I challenge you to invite leaders of all ages, men and women, who are looking for a way to give back. By doing so, you will Be the Inspiration in your community and help Rotary continue to do good in the world.

Barry Rassin
President 2018-19

 

Trustee Chair's Message - Sep. 2018

Ron D. Burton, Trustee Chair 2018-19


I was a district governor in 1987-88, the year that Charles C. Keller was the RI president. (You can read a tribute to Keller, who died in May, on the facing page.) As district governor, I attended the 1988 Rotary International Convention in Philadelphia. There, I heard that there were an estimated 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries. But I also heard some exciting news: We had surpassed our goal of raising $120 million for the eradication of polio. We had raised $219,350,449 (and later, after the accounting was done, that figure was revised to $247 million). What a celebration we had. We proved to ourselves and the world the strength of Rotary and that we could take on a global health challenge.

In the ensuing 30 years, we, along with our partners – the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, UNICEF, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – have raised even more funds, organized National Immunization Days, and advocated with world governments. Our goal has always been to keep our promise to give children a polio-free world, and in 2017, there were only 22 cases.

We've done incredible work, but we know the job isn't over. Once we reduce the number of cases to zero and no viruses are detected in the environment, we must wait for WHO to certify the world officially polio free. That requires at least a three-year period without a single detection of the wild poliovirus in a person or the environment. During that three years, we will still have to vaccinate children and ensure through surveillance that the virus never regains a foothold.
Rotarians have always been on the front lines of this effort – we still are. So, what can you do? Tell everyone you know about Rotary and polio. Make a donation. Update your club and explore how together you could participate directly in the fight.

On 24 October, we'll celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative's formation at our sixth annual World Polio Day event, in Philadelphia, the city where it all started. Host a World Polio Day fundraiser or watch party, and tell us about it at endpolio.org/promote-your-event. For more inspiration, check out endpolio.org.

I need your help. I'm depending on you to help us keep our promise.

Ron D. Burton
Trustee Chair 2018-19

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