R. I. President Message

RI President 2018-19 Barry Rassin - June 2019

Dear Fellow Rotarians,

As I look back on all the things I have seen and the people I have met since becoming president of Rotary International last July, I am certain of this: Rotary’s capacity to transform lives for the better is unparalleled. Our impact is far beyond anything I could have imagined when I first became a Rotarian.

I think about the Rotarians I met in Pakistan, who partnered with Coca-Cola to improve sanitation in Karachi’s neighborhoods while supporting polio eradication efforts. I think about the Puerto Rican Rotarians who are helping entire communities rebuild their lives after Hurricane Maria. I think about the German Rotaractors who are working to save bees — whose role as pollinators is so important to our planet — from extinction. I think about the six Rotarians and Rotaractors who were honored as People of Action: Young Innovators at Rotary Day at the United Nations in Nairobi, Kenya, in November for their work to create novel solutions to tough challenges.

It seems like only yesterday that I stood on a stage in San Diego and asked you to Be the Inspiration in your clubs, in your communities, and in the world. Your response was an inspiration to me. You are paving the way for Rotaractors to become our future leaders, helping start new Rotaract clubs and working to include Rotaractors in Rotary events and projects in your communities. You are working hard to eradicate polio, participating in 4,200 events in more than 100 countries for World Polio Day. And you are carrying out transformative projects that will create lasting change in your communities and in the world.

This year, I also saw how Rotary’s work to build peace is bearing fruit. The 98 Rotary Peace Fellows who are studying at our peace centers will soon graduate, joining more than 1,200 others in applying their conflict resolution skills to problems that need solutions. And this month, Esther and I will travel to Hamburg, Germany, for a convention where people of all races, nationalities, religions, and political backgrounds will unite because they want to make the lives of all people better.

Seeing what Rotary means to people — to the communities we serve and to Rotarians themselves — has deepened my affection and admiration for all that Rotary is and does.

Soon it will be time for Esther and me to return home to Nassau. When we get there, I will look out on the vast sea that surrounds our island, and it will remind me of Rotary’s limitless possibilities, and of the amazing future that awaits us beyond the horizon. I look forward to sailing there with you.

Barry Rassin
President 2018-19


Trustee Chair's Message - June 2019

Ron D. Burton, Trustee Chair 2018-19

Trustee chair's message

A message from The Rotary Foundation Trustees

As thousands of Rotarians around the world board flights to Hamburg for the Rotary International Convention in just a few days, someone in line might see one of our pins or a Rotary tag on our luggage and ask, “Are you a Rotarian?”

After we answer with an enthusiastic “yes,” there’s much more to say about how we, as people of action, are making the world a better place — through our connections within clubs and through the transformative power of The Rotary Foundation.

We can talk about how Rotary implements projects that will help communities long after we’re all gone. We can describe how clubs in one country pool funds with those from another to make communities healthier, more prosperous, and better educated. We can share how our clubs partnered with global health leaders to bring the scourge of polio to its knees. And we can proudly note that much of the good that Rotary does now and will do in the future is because of the Foundation and its promise to transform gifts into projects that change lives.

As we gather in Hamburg to mark another successful Rotary year, we have much to celebrate. At publication time, we had approved 1,078 global grant applications, with total funding of $76.5 million.

Last July, we launched the community assessment component as a requirement for all global grant or vocational training team applications as part of our commitment to sustainability. That approach also informs why we established the Rotary Disaster Response Fund and Grant this year, which allows distribution of grants up to $25,000 for worldwide Rotarian disaster response.

We also saw the Rotary Peace Centers significantly grow and increase their impact. From among record numbers of applicants in 2019, around 100 Peace Fellows will be chosen, and once they graduate, they will join more than 1,200 others in applying their conflict resolution skills to global problems.

And as of this writing, we are extraordinarily close to meeting this year’s fundraising goal, but we still need your help to surpass it.
We are committed to strengthening and growing the Foundation for the future. As we look forward to a new Rotary year and opportunities to make an even greater impact in communities worldwide, we would like to thank our chair, Brenda M. Cressey, for her leadership during the past two months. Should you have questions about the Foundation’s recent leadership transition, we invite you to find more information at my.rotary.org.
There are countless ways the Foundation fuels our ability to be proud Rotary members. In turn, there is so much we can do to help it grow.

End your Rotary year on a high note: Visit my.rotary.org/donate. We thank you for your generosity and for all you do in Rotary.

Ron D. Burton
Trustee Chair 2018-19

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