District 9110 has raised a record $150,000 for The Rotary Foundation, writes Ehi Braimah
Rotarians around the world are generally encouraged to contribute and participate in The Rotary Foundation (TRF) in pursuit of the TRF’s mission to “do good in the world” in a sustainable way. The Rotary Foundation was founded in 1917 as a non-profit arm of Rotary International.
With an endowment of nearly $1.7 billion and a steady stream of annual funds, TRF has continued to do good in the world by funding life-changing, impactful projects. By 2025, the goal is for the fund to grow to $2.025 billion, but if Rotarians don’t make regular contributions, the fund won’t grow. It is a commitment that we must all make by also inviting family members and friends to support the Foundation.
We now live in a world full of complexities largely dictated by globalization and rapidly changing technologies. As Rotarians, we care about following the global trend of events, constantly innovating outside the box, and intervening when necessary. For example, no one prepared for the Covid-19 pandemic, a major public health crisis that threatened our common humanity.
What about the global economic recession or the Russian invasion of Ukraine? These events have far-reaching reach and impact around the world, with far-reaching consequences such as the growing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine and the rising cost of goods and services.
More than 1.4 million Rotarians are building great relationships through exciting scholarships at more than 35,000 Rotary clubs around the world. As “people of action” sharing responsibility for solving the world’s pressing problems, we come together to promote peace, fight disease, grow economies, support education, provide clean water, save mothers and children and protecting the environment – these are Rotary’s seven focus areas.
When the Change Maker District Governor of Rotary International District 9110 covering Lagos and Ogun States, Remi Bello, FCA, constituted the District Rotary Foundation Fundraising Committee and invited Niyi Adelaja, Past President of the Rotary Club of Ikeja, to become president, it was an excellent choice because the CEO knew what he wanted.
With the right motivation from the district governor, Adelaja, whose goodwill and network of friends are legendary, rallied his committee members in more than 10 meetings to plan and execute what turned out to be an event. large scale at MUSON Centre, Lagos on Saturday 19th February 2022. To my knowledge, Adelaja is a first class Rotarian of commitment.
The district organized the Rotary Foundation fundraising dinner using a completely different but creative approach. The new model ensured that payments by Rotarians and non-Rotarians for event tickets and program booklet advertisements denominated in US dollars were paid directly into each contributor’s TRF account.
It was a win-win scenario for these contributors – there was no separate registration fee for the event while accumulating TRF contribution history. This innovation encouraged Rotarians to pay the TRF and reserve their seats at the gala nite. According to Adelaja, the expenses incurred for the gala dinner were covered through the individual support of his committee members, friends and associates of the committee members and the District. Nigerian Breweries Plc and International Breweries Plc also supported the gala nite with their wide range of beverages.
Another remarkable thing Adelaja did was buy 26 tickets at $250 each for members of her home club, the Rotary Club of Ikeja. It was an IOU that was eventually redeemed. Adelaja strongly believes that the TRF dinner should achieve two goals: encourage contribution to the TRF in a friendly atmosphere and use the platform to attract quality people to Rotary. More than 300 guests attended the gala evening. In addition to the dean, Prince Julius Adelusi-Adeluyi, 22 former district governors and other Rotary leaders were present.
To encourage Rotarians, three categories have been created for fundraising. There were $250 (Silver category), $500 (Gold category) and $1,000 or more (Platinum category) tickets for sale. As Adelaja also revealed in a phone interview, there were more subscriptions for $1,000, mostly by Rotarians who wanted to become Paul Harris Fellows. However, the amount paid determined the privileges Rotarians and their guests enjoyed for each category – including the assortment of beverages served and seating on site.
CEO Remi Bello thanked Adelaja and his committee members for their ingenuity and outstanding performance. During his speech, he praised them for their selflessness and commitment. In addition to their individual support, the committee members also mobilized external support with the donation of food and beverages.
The event had the Rotary International Endowment and Major Gifts Advisor and “Passion Queen,” former District Governor Ijeoma Pearl Okoro of District 9141, as guest speaker and fundraiser. She has shown great skills as a spectacular fundraiser. Approximately $150,000 was raised at the TRF Gala – a significant achievement and record breaking feat in District 9110.
District Governor Remi Bello also appreciated district Rotarians for their confidence in district leaders’ ability to be innovative on the one hand, and for embracing the new model that could redefine how fundraising dinners funds from the TRF are organized in the future. The other.
There are three ways to contribute to the TRF. These are the Annual Fund, the Polio Plus Fund and the Endowments and Major Donations (EMG). As part of the Annual Fund, Rotarians can donate $1,000 to become Paul Harris Fellows (PHF) or a member of the Paul Harris Society (PHS) through a recurring PHF by donating $1,000 each year.
There is also Every Rotarian Every Year (EREY) where Rotarians are encouraged to contribute $100 to the TRF per year. You can become a Major Donor with an outright payment of $10,000 or a cumulative contribution of $10,000 over a period determined by the donor – whichever suits you.
Of course, contributing to the TRF is not mandatory for Rotarians. However, the various annual fund options explained above clearly recognize that all five fingers are not equal. The flexibility underscores the need for Rotarians and non-Rotarians to support the TRF according to their respective financial and giving capabilities.
Our contributions to the Polio Plus Fund have also been significant with outstanding results. A contribution of $10 is the minimum expected by every Rotarian to save a child from paralysis. It is important that we highlight the work that Rotary and the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) have done to end poliomyelitis, a crippling and deadly disease caused by the poliovirus that most commonly affects children under five.
The virus spreads from person to person usually through contaminated water and can attack the nervous system, affecting the spinal cord. According to information available on the Rotary International website, Rotary has worked for more than 35 years to eradicate polio and, as a founding partner of the GPEI, polio cases have been reduced by 99.9% since Rotary’s first project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979.
Rotary members have contributed more than $2.1 billion and countless volunteer hours to protect nearly three billion children in 122 counties from this crippling disease. Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in governments’ decisions to contribute more than $10 billion to the effort.
Today, polio remains endemic only in Afghanistan and Pakistan after Nigeria was declared polio-free two years ago by the World Health Organization. For every dollar Rotary spends on polio eradication, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation matches two dollars.
In the Endowment and Major Gifts (EMG) category, you can choose to become a “Benefactor”, “Bequest Society” or “Arch Klumph Society” (AKS) member. When you include the endowment fund as a beneficiary of $1,000 or more in your estate plans or when you contribute $1,000 or more to the fund, you become a “benefactor” and receive a certificate and badge from the TRF to wear with a Rotary. or PHF pin.
When you pledge to make future donations of $10,000 or more to the TRF, you will be invited to join the “Bequest Society” and this may include Rotarians, family members and friends. Membership in the Arch Klumph Society is lifetime and awarded to contributors who achieve cumulative or pure contributions of $250,000 or more to TRF. Payments can be made through cash, securities, real estate and life income arrangements.
Although contributions in the various categories are denominated in US dollars as Rotary has a presence in over 200 countries and territories around the world, payments are made in Naira to the designated district’s TRF bank account.
There are over 530 Rotary districts worldwide with 17 districts in Africa (Zone 22) but Nigeria alone has four districts.
Braimah is a PR Strategist, Publisher/Editor of the Naija Times