Chad Stutsman is the Manager of Fundraising Analytics for The Rotary Foundation. He is patient, understanding, and apparently doesn’t get weary answering the persistent questions of your just-short-of-obnoxious Ready, Fire, Aim reporter. Thank you Chad for digging up the answers to my long list of queries with such grace and good humor.
Nowadays when I explain why I give to the SHARE program and the Annual Program Fund, I say something like: “Giving to the SHARE program is a way to express my trust in the judgment of Rotarians in my District in fixing the problems in our local community. I trust them to design and implement local projects that are worthy of being approved by our District grants committee with funds that I’ve contributed to the Rotary Foundation and are returned to our District as DDF” (District Designated Funds).
This is followed by me explaining: “I’m also expressing confidence in every Rotary club and District in the world, because one half of my contribution ultimately helps to fund global grants that are submitted by like-minded Rotarians who I’ll probably never meet. I like the fact that the service projects we do to fulfill our mission of world peace aren’t designed in Evanston by a small group of experts. Instead, our global humanitarian grants are submitted by Rotarians, just like me, all around the world. Our world peace goal is being advanced by every Rotarian on the planet who submits a global grant, and my contribution helps to support their efforts.”
It occurred to me that there are probably millions of words written about the SHARE program with the near impossible goal of explaining DDF, the mysterious sounding funds that magically appear in our District three years after we make our contribution to the Rotary Foundation. I won’t add to that treasure trove of words in this post. But it also occurred to me that the “other” fund in the Rotary Foundation is the World Fund. Our global DDF is matched dollar for dollar from the World Fund. Our peace fellow program is in part funded through the World Fund. Our District’s polio contributions of DDF are matched 50 cents on the dollar by the World Fund. And I realized I didn’t know a heck of a lot about the World Fund. Hence, poor Chad Stutsman was left to field my endless list of questions. So without further ado, here is my version of everything you need to know about the World Fund.
Note: I’ve written about the super secret team at Rotary HQ that actually influences our global grant behavior before. Check out one of my all-time favorite RFA posts, “A World Peace Conspiracy Revealed at One Rotary Center,”
When we make donations to the SHARE program the proceeds are invested for three years and then one half the money goes to the World Fund. It’s a whole lot of money. To give you an idea, the 2017 beginning balance of the World Fund was $180 million. There is a target for the amount of funds to be held in the World Fund. Per the Rotary Foundation Code of Policies, the World Fund Target is the sum of 50% of the current and prior two years’ worth of contributions to the Annual Fund – SHARE plus $5 million, which is $193M at the end of FY2017.
Stay with me here. BREATHE…..breathe……relax. It’s OK. This makes total sense. We know our donations to the Rotary Foundation Annual Program Fund SHARE are split after three years between District Designated Funds and the World Fund. So here it is. They add up the last three years of contributions to SHARE, divide by two, and add $5 million and there’s the target. The beginning of fiscal 2017 year balance was $180 million and the end of year target was $193 million.
How EXACTLY was the money spent last year? Glad you asked.
The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International
World Fund spending
Fiscal Year 2017
(in US$ millions)
Global Grants $ 33.6
Rotary Peace Centers 1.8
Partnership Grants 0.8
Original Grants and other (Note 1) (0.4)
Program operations (Note 2) 20.5
World Fund match to DDF transfers to PolioPlus 3.5
World Fund transfer to Operating Reserve (Note 3) 20.4
Note 1: Original grants and other primarily includes cancelled grants and
unspent funds for prior year educational and humanitarian grants.
Note 2: Expenses to support grant activities.
Note 3: Per TRF Code of Policy 24.050, if the World Fund balance exceeds the
World Fund Target, then the amount above the target will be transferred to the
Operating Reserve up to the Operating Reserve Target.
Another note to reader: You will note that this is Part 1 of a two-part blog. You need to stay awake for the whole thing. I know the numbers are killing you and (trust me) its hard to be hilariously funny about Operating Reserves. I’m trying my best. I really am. Just challenge yourself to finish Part 1 and we’ll cover the rest next week. OK?
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The Program awards are pretty straight forward and are split between global grants, peace centers, and partnerships. We funded $33.6 million of global grants, meaning the World Fund matched $33.6 million of District global DDF or cash. (Remember, the World Fund matches global DDF $1 for $1, and it matches cash contributions by 50 cents on the dollar.) According to the 2017 Annual Report we funded $73 million of total global grants, so that seems just about right. Click here to read the 2017 Rotary Annual Report.
The $1.8 million to fund the Peace Centers is one of four sources of funding along with distributions from the Peace Center Endowment, donations from individual Rotarians, and DDF from Rotary Districts worldwide. According to PDG Peter Kyle, who is one of my Rotary mentors and a guru of everything related to Rotary Peace Centers, Rotary has met its goal of $150 million in gifts and commitments to an endowment to fund the Peace Centers. The current $158 million total is approx. 40% invested in cash and securities and the balance is in future commitments, ie. pledges from estates after Rotarians pass. The distributions from the endowment provide a $2 million annual subsidy to fund the Centers. The balance of the funding comes from individual contributors and Rotary District DDF from around the world. According to Kyle, the annual budget to run the Centers is $5 million annually, so the World Fund’s $1.8 million will eventually decrease to zero as the endowment grows over time.
The Partnership Grants were 1) WASH in Schools Competitive grants for $400,000 and 2) UNESCO-IHE (now called OJE Delft Institute for Water Education) for $400,000. Click here to learn more about UNESCO-IHE. There is an entire committee working right now on how Rotary can better structure World Fund partnerships. Some day, when I want to torture you even more than I am today, I’ll write about that effort. Oh…and for the conspiracy theorists out there who wonder what the next Rotary global service project will be after polio is eradicated, did you notice that both partnership projects were water projects? It’s probably just a coincidence.
I think that’s more than enough for today’s post. I’ll go through the very important information about Program Operations and Transfers in Part II. In fact, there is an amazingly important number buried in this data that should concern every Rotarian who donates to the Rotary Foundation. Stay tuned for Part II about Rotary’s least known fund…The World Fund.
PART 1 of this two-Part series about the World Fund is brought to you by:
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