Rotary International President Sakuji Tanaka's November 2012 Message
RI President's Message - November 2012
Dear fellow Rotarians,
There are many ways to describe our Rotary Foundation. But I think of our Foundation literally – as the foundation for all of Rotary.
We do not often think about the ground beneath our feet. We do not often think about the walls that are holding up our house. We take them for granted. We think about them only when they are not there.
Not long ago in Japan, the ground fell out from under our feet. On Friday, 11 March 2011, a magnitude 9 earthquake shook Japan to its very core. More than 15,000 people died, nearly 6,000 were injured, and another 4,000 are still missing. The total losses of the disaster are estimated at over US$300 billion.
In a matter of hours, half a million people in one of the world's wealthiest and most developed countries lost everything. They went from living in comfort and security to facing an uncertain future in school gymnasiums, tents, and ruined buildings.
In Japan, we are used to earthquakes. We thought we were ready for anything. But no one ever expected anything like this.
What happened on that day changed Japan, and everyone who lives there. It has made us realize how fragile our lives are. And it has made me realize how little separates me from the people I help through Rotary.
It is easy to look at the people we help through our Foundation as somehow different from ourselves. They live far away. We do not know their language or their culture. We do not know what it is like to have no running water, no sanitation, no health care, no education. We look at pictures, and we read stories in the news about poverty, wars, and disasters. We see, from so far away, the people who are living through such terrible times. But it is hard to put ourselves in their place.
Today, I tell you that there is nothing at all separating us from the people we help. We are all the same. Only the circumstances surrounding us are different.
Through our Foundation, we have the power to live the words of our Foundation's motto: Doing Good in the World. Through it, we can do so much more good than we could ever do alone. And it matters so much – to people just like us.
Trustee chair's message - November 2012
Taking the Long View
As the clock ticks down to 1 July, we are in the final stages of preparing for the full rollout of the Future Vision Plan. Our goal is simple: enabling our Foundation to continue Doing Good in the World, and ensuring that we make the best use of every dollar, euro, yen, and peso that we have.
In everything we do in Rotary, we strive for the greatest impact. This means focusing on sustainability – on projects whose effects will go on for years, and on work that will continue to change lives even after Rotarians' involvement has ended. When polio is eradicated, every child who will ever be born will benefit, long after the last drop of vaccine has been put into a child's mouth. PolioPlus is, of course, a unique Rotary program – but it is time to bring that kind of long-term perspective to all our service.
Part of our goal in Future Vision is making sure that we focus on the long view in everything we do. Accordingly, part of that mindset is making sure that we make it a priority to support The Rotary Foundation and its Annual Fund. Our goal is Every Rotarian, Every Year: for every Rotarian to give a gift each year to the Annual Fund, with an average donation of US$100. Meeting that goal would mean $120 million per year for Rotary service. It would also mean an organization in which every single member is supporting, and is invested in, the Foundation's success – making The Rotary Foundation truly Our Foundation.
Wilfrid J. Wilkinson
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Rotary eClub NY1 * Updated 2012