Sept. 2016 President John's
RI President's Message - September 2016
Dear Fellow Rotarians,
In the summer of 1917, only a few months after
the United States entered the first world war, Rotary held its eighth
annual convention in Atlanta. Although many Rotarians at the time
thought the convention should be canceled, the Board of Directors
ultimately agreed with Paul Harris that it should continue as planned.
In the midst of such uncertainty and fear,
Harris penned, as part of his convention greeting, some of the most-quoted
words in Rotary:
Individual effort when well directed can accomplish much, but the
greatest good must necessarily come from the combined efforts of
many men. Individual effort may be turned to individual needs but
combined effort should be dedicated to the service of mankind. The
power of combined effort knows no limitation.
Fittingly, it was at this convention that
then-President Arch C. Klumph proposed a Rotary endowment fund “for
the purpose of doing good in the world.” The power of combined
effort was joined by a new power: that of combined resources. It
was a combination that has proved unstoppable and has been behind
so much of Rotary’s work for the last 100 years. Today, it
is difficult to imagine Rotary without its Foundation. It was the
Foundation that turned Rotary from an organization of local clubs
into an international force for good with the power to change the
In this Rotary year, we are marking the centennial of our Rotary
Foundation in the city where it all began: Atlanta. Our 108th Rotary
International Convention promises to be one of the most exciting
yet, with inspiring speakers, great entertainment, and a wide array
of breakout sessions to help you move your Rotary service forward.
And of course, we’ll be celebrating the Foundation’s
centennial in style.
Whether you’re a regular convention goer, haven’t been
to one in a few years, or haven’t yet attended your first,
the 2017 convention will be the one you won’t want to miss.
Atlanta is a great destination in its own right, with great food,
friendly people, and many local attractions to enjoy. But the real
reason to come to the convention is always the convention itself,
and the people, ideas, inspiration, and friendship you’ll
find there. To learn more, and save money on registration, visit www.riconvention.org.
See you in Atlanta!
John F Germ
RI President 2016 - 17
John F Germ, President, Rotary International
F. Germ, President, Rotary International 2016-17
Sept. 2016 Trustee
Trustee Chair 2016-17
A few months ago, I read a story in this magazine about a man named
Carl Sanders, a member of the Rotary Club of Kenosha, Wis. Sanders
had developed a successful painting business despite the fact that
he could not read – a shameful secret that he struggled to keep
This story surprised me a little. I tend to think of illiteracy as
a problem that mainly afflicts people in poor countries, not U.S.
Rotarians. But Sanders’ situation is not so uncommon. Even in
a wealthy country like the United States, millions of people lack
basic reading skills.
Sanders’ story had a happy ending. He shared his secret with
a fellow Rotarian, who steered him to a local literacy program and
encouraged him as he tackled his reading lessons.
Our Rotary Foundation wants to create more such happy endings, and
there is no shortage of people who need them. Today, more than 750
million adults are functionally illiterate globally.
In 2015-16, our Foundation awarded 146 global grants totaling $8.3
million to support basic education and literacy projects worldwide.
These projects vary considerably – from providing computers
and school supplies in Ghana to sponsoring an after-school homework
program in the U.S. to developing a literacy and mentoring program
for Roma girls in Bosnia, a project that addresses the gender imbalance
that exists in many parts of the world.
In my country, Rotary has been on a literacy mission for the past
few years. India has a population of 1.2 billion and is about 75 percent
literate. Illiteracy occurs mainly in rural India, where most people
So Rotary in India joined hands with the government to eliminate
illiteracy, especially among women, because literate women raise literate
families, ensuring a better future for all. Indeed, the numbers are
staggering, and when it is done, the impact could be incredible.
As we observe Basic Education and Literacy Month in September, let’s
think about the millions of people whose chances for success remain
blocked by illiteracy. Our Foundation is helping many of them, but
with Rotarian support and involvement, we can do so much more.
Trustee Chair 2016 - 17
- Kalyan Banerjee, Trustee Chair 2016 - 17
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