Last week I visited the Fredericktowne Club and had the opportunity to preach the gospel about the Rotary Foundation. Like many/most clubs, they offered me a “thank you” gift for speaking….in this case a monogrammed pen with the club name on it. Other clubs have expressed their thanks with contributions to TRF, a jar of pumpkin butter, a club flag, and a coffee mug. Let me say again to them, you are most welcome. The Fredericktowne club, and all of the other clubs who allowed me to visit so far this year, are most generous to set aside some of the club officers time, or the time to do a club program, to learn more about the Rotary Foundation.
I believe most Rotarians have no idea how little is required of Rotary clubs in order to keep their Charter. The list is very small, and goes something like: 1) you have to have meetings, 2) you have to pay your RI dues, 3) you have to be insured, 4) you have to do a service project, and 5) you have to host a visit from the District Governor. 6) you must subscribe to the Rotarian Magazine, and 7) follow RI’s by-laws and code of policies. Notably, there is no mention of Foundation giving on this rather small list. And their is no mention of growing membership, public relations, providing financial and other support to disaster victims, supporting Polio Plus, having fun, being competent, being a force in your community for good, or anything else that a typical club in our District does as part of their club’s mission for “doing good in the world.”
Rotary clubs in District 7620 define themselves in different ways, have different personalities, and generally try their hardest to improve their local community with service projects large and small. For that I am thankful. They routinely exceed what is required of them to be called Rotarians, and for that I am thankful. So to all who have listened to my Foundation rant this year with grace and good humor, and to the club leaders who have agreed to try and change the status quo in their clubs in terms of supporting the Foundation at a higher level of contributions, even though it is not required, and even though RI has set smaller goals for giving then we have set in our District, I say, from the bottom of my heart, “THANK YOU.”