Rotary is a volunteer, international, non-sectarian, service organization comprised of 1,200,000 members representing 200 countries. Its power lies in its ability to bring together leaders and technical experts who share a mutual mission to improve health, support education and alleviate poverty. Working as partners it achieves lasting change through the combination of local oversight and the resources of an international organization.
Since 1985, joined by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Health Organization, Rotary members have helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio. Its mission is for the eradication of this dreaded disease from the face of the earth within the next few years. In the past year over 1,165 global grants and programs totaling $70 million have been directed to humanitarian projects, scholarships and vocational training teams. The results of these efforts have helped fight disease, provided clean water, saved mothers and children, supported education, promoted peace and helped the economy of local communities.
The Rotary Foundation has consistently been given the highest rating of four (4) stars by Charities Navigator, an American independent charity watchdog organization that evaluates charitable organizations in the United States. It also was ranked third in CNBC’s annual list of “Top 10 Charities Changing the World.”
And what has it done for our community? We are located in an area of New York State that has experienced huge economic downslides. Once prosperous, we have lost most of our major industries and their employment. Our citizens leave due to tax restraints, and our young people seek a more stable and productive way of life elsewhere. We have been inundated with flooding and recently a drug war has taken its toll. But despite the “doom and gloom,” what is remarkable is what our Rotarians in Upstate New York have accomplished in these past few years, because we are Rotarians.
Our Rotary District 7170 encompasses seven counties – Broome, Delaware, Chenango, Cortland, Otsego, Tioga, and Tompkins. To date we have 1360 members – men and women of all nationalities and creeds who meet at various times throughout the week. With all the problems and dilemmas that we have experienced within our communities, we have still been able to make a big difference in the world. We have been awarded Rotary global grants that will bring clean water to Nepal, Haiti, Costa Rica and Uganda, as well as a grant in India that will help woman shed poverty and become independent. We have contributed to two international scholarships and bought an Eeg machine to a hospital in Turkey. Computers and school supplies were sent to Lesotho, Africa. We have supplied beds for an orphanage in Liberia, a Human Heart Valve Tissue Bank in Sri Lanka, helped build a pond for a Children’s Home in Kenya, contributed to maternal & child health in Guatemala, brought toilets to the Dominican Republic, helped free a village from slavery and built a rice farm in Africa. And what about our own communities? Rotarians have built handicapped ramps, furnished robotic materials for schools, supplied food pantries, and purchased winter coats, diapers for children, beautification tools, musical instruments, and library shelves. It has built community gardens, playgrounds, underwritten conferences on drug abuse, brought hand washing awareness to young people and even underwrote a book for preschoolers about their community – and recently we were awarded a grant for over $107,000 to help fight the epidemic of drug addiction that has enveloped our communities. Our district is small in comparison to others around the world and not wealthy – but just look what we have accomplished – thanks to Rotary, its grant process and its networking! Our contributions to The Rotary Foundation and are willingness to give “Service Above Self” has enabled this to happen. We have risen above our own difficulties and helped others around the world and within our own communities. We are very proud to be Rotarians. Lana Rouff, Member of The Rotary Club of Binghamton and Past District Governor