Welcome to The Rotary Foundation Australian Page
A short history of The Rotary Foundation
The Great Depression and World War II both impeded the Foundation’s growth, but the need for lasting world peace generated great postwar interest in its development. After Rotary’s founder, Paul P. Harris, died in 1947, contributions began pouring into Rotary International, and the Paul Harris Memorial Fund was created to build the Foundation.
That year, the first Foundation program – the forerunner of Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarships – was established. In 1965-66, three new programs were launched: Group Study Exchange, Awards for Technical Training, and Grants for Activities in Keeping with the Objective of The Rotary Foundation, which was later called Matching Grants.
The Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) Grants program was launched in 1978, and Rotary Volunteers was created as a part of that program in 1980. PolioPlus was announced in 1984-85, and the next year brought Rotary Grants for University Teachers. The first peace forums were held in 1987-88, leading to the Foundation's peace and conflict studies programs.
Throughout this time, support of the Foundation grew tremendously. Since the first donation of $26.50 in 1917, it has received contributions totaling more than $1 billion. More than $70 million was donated in 2003-04 alone. To date, more than one million individuals have been recognized as Paul Harris Fellows – people who have given US$1,000 to the Annual Programs Fund or have had that amount contributed in their name.
Such strong support, along with Rotarian involvement worldwide, ensures a secure future for The Rotary Foundation as it continues its vital work for international understanding and world peace.
Get to know The Rotary Foundation’s Goals
- Eradicate polio, our top priority
- Build a sense of ownership of our Foundation among Rotarians through their contributions to the Annual Programs Fund, the Permanent Fund, and our Rotary Peace Centres
- Continue our progress on the Future Vision plan and align our service projects with the six areas of focus
- Peace and conflict prevention/ resolution
- Disease prevention and treatment
- Water and sanitation
- Maternal and child health
- Basic education and literacy
- Economic and community development