The Rotary Foundation



The Rotary Foundation


In 2023-24, one of Rotaract Australia’s goals is to promote the Rotary Foundation and engage Rotaractors, and to have at least one Rotaract club per District apply for a Foundation District Grant.


In order to help you help us achieve our goal, we have put together some resources for your learning and development. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Chair Eeshwar Rajagopalan at We will be adding to this page throughout the year.


Global Grant an amazing opportunity paradoxically an underused tool of ...



The Rotary Foundation: The Basics


Watch the below videos to get to know the basics of the Rotary Foundation, or check out this article from Rotary GBI. There are also factsheets available on the Rotary International website here and here. And, make sure to check with your District about your grants seminar.






Resources from Rotary International are available!

Read the FAQ on how .

Also, check out the Learning Center to enrol in courses for more in-depth training at whatever time suits you.




What is the Rotary Foundation?

The Rotary Foundation is Rotary’s own charity. It exists to support Rotarians and their clubs in the charitable activities that clubs choose and undertake themselves. The Foundation taps into a global network of Rotarians who invest their time, money and expertise into priorities that align with our seven Areas of Focus. It was established as an endowment fund to provide an ongoing and sustainable income for Rotary to allow us to ‘do good in the world’. The Foundation’s mission is to enable Rotarians ‘to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty’.

Rotaractors are also encouraged to donate to the Rotary Foundation, as well as utilise the funds through grants. The Rotary Foundation is able to achieve its mission through the contributions of Rotarians and Rotaractors alike.

The Foundation enables people and organisations in Australia to make contributions that are tax deductible in Australia.


How did the Foundation start?

What began as an endowment fund in 1917 with a contribution of US$26.50 from the Rotary Club of Kansas City, US, has grown to be one of the largest charities in the world with contributions exceeding US$1billion.

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How does the Foundation do good in the world?

The Rotary Foundation is recognized as one of the most effective and well-managed charitable organizations in the world, with 12 consecutive four-star ratings from Charity Navigator and an A-plus rating from CharityWatch.

The Rotary Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees. The headquarters of the Foundation is in Evanston, Illinois, USA, but it also has associate foundations in other countries including Australia. All contributions to either the Foundation directly or any of its associate foundations are essential to securing and growing Rotary programs throughout the world. Since it was founded over 100 years ago, the Foundation has spent $4 billion on life-changing, sustainable projects around the world. It currently awards grants averaging about $1 million per day.

But really, how does the Foundation work?

Unlike other charities, 91 per cent of donations received into the Annual Fund are used for programs, with the balance for administration and overheads. One way this is achieved is by investing Annual Fund contributions for three years. The interest earned on the investments helps fund the administration of the organisation.

After three years, 50 per cent of the funds each of our districts contributed are returned to us as District Designated Funds.

Districts can use up to a half for district grants to Rotary clubs to initiate community and international service projects. Foundation committees in each district use the other 50 per cent to support global grants and the End Polio Now program to fight against this devastating disease.

The other 50 per cent goes to the Foundation’s World Fund, which is used to support the Rotary Peace Fellowships and to provide matching funds for global grants. Global grants support activities in Rotary’s Seven Areas of Focus–Peace, Disease Prevention, Water and Sanitation, Child and Maternal Health, Education, Economic Development, and the Environment.

Rotary 7 Areas of Focus - Rotary Club of Uptown Cubao


Why should we support the Foundation?

The Rotary Foundation transforms your gifts into projects that change lives both close to home and around the world. As the charitable arm of Rotary, we tap into a global network of Rotarians who invest their time, money, and expertise into our priorities, such as eradicating polio and promoting peace. Foundation grants empower Rotarians to approach challenges such as poverty, illiteracy, and malnutrition with sustainable solutions that leave a lasting impact.

The Foundation is an enabling charity that makes a difference in the world. It’s a hands on approach to improving lives.


What kinds of Foundation grants are there?

District grants are awarded by District Foundation committees to their Rotary clubs to initiate projects, whereas Global Grants can be applied for projects in excess of $30,000. An international partner is required.


What is an Area of Focus? Why does it matter?

Rotary has seven Areas of Focus (Peace, Disease Prevention, Water and Sanitation, Child and Maternal Health, Education, Economic Development, and the Environment). Global Grants can only be given if your club’s project fits within one or more of these areas.


What are some examples of projects?

Some examples of Australian District Grant projects include supporting kidney disease patients in outback Australia, better nutrition for women and infants in PNG, geriatric services for Uganda, stopping abuse in families and ending domestic violence, improving literacy and numeracy in Indigenous communities, and supporting entrepreneurs in Fiji.

Global Grant projects include equipping a neonatal intensive care unit in Brazil, collecting donated human milk for newborns in the Philippines, training young community leaders in Guatemala, bringing clean water to public schools in Lebanon, and fighting cervical cancer in rural Bangladesh.

More Global Grant projects are available here




How can my club put together a good grant application?

Decide what your club wants to do a project on. Attend your District’s Foundation seminar or contact the District Foundation Committee for guidance. Ask your sponsoring Rotary club for assistance. Check out the Rotary Learning Center.


Why should we give to the Foundation? And how?

How do the investment performance and investment costs and charges of the Foundation compare with other similar-sized funds? Program awards and operations amount to 92% of the expenditure of the Foundation (leaving 8% for administration and fund development). Most international charities have administration expenses ranging between 20% and 40%.

Strong financial oversight, a stellar charity rating, and a unique funding model mean that we make the very most of your contribution. Give and become a part of Rotary’s life-changing work!

Go to Find out more about donating on the Rotary Foundation Australia website.


Can I get training from Rotary International on the Foundation?

Yes! There are more resources available at the Rotary Learning Center. Check out ‘The Power of Giving‘, ‘Areas of Focus‘, and ‘Fundraising Basics‘. Just login to MyRotary and get started learning!


A Timeline of the Rotary Foundation