RadioRotary interviews Kinderhook Tri-Village Rotarian, Dr. Tam Mustapha, who has held a number of positions supporting The Rotary Foundation, the charitable arm of Rotary International. The motto of The Rotary Foundation, “Doing Good in the World,” describes its main mission, which focuses on improving peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education and literacy, and growing local economies. In 2017 The Rotary Foundation will have been achieving these goals for a hundred years. Anyone can contribute money to The Rotary Foundation, secure in the knowledge that their contribution will be used for work in the focus areas described above, since there is almost no administrative costs to an organization that employs volunteer Rotarians, and what little costs occur are largely paid for with interest on the contributed money.
Pleasant Valley Rotarian, and 2015 winner of the Jeffrey Keahon Foundation Award, David Kruger describes the work of The Rotary Foundation, the part of Rotary that not only does good in the world away from our communities, but also helps fund many local projects. While its most notable success has been the worldwide reduction of polio to a handful of cases in two countries—with complete elimination on the horizon—The Rotary Foundation may have saved even more lives with its projects for clean water, maternal and child health, and peace. It is also the most effective charity because nearly all of every dollar given to The Rotary Foundation is used for its work instead of spent on administration or fundraising.
The ongoing Vassar project for improving education, health, women’s economy, water purity, and forests in Chermaitre, Haiti, is described by the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of the Vassar-Haiti Project, Lila Meade, and Vassar student Sarah Oliver. Andrew and Lila Meade founded the project in 2001, partly in a response to the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. Its original goal was simply a lunch project at a school in poverty-stricken Chermaitre, but it has evolved greatly. So far more than 350 Vassar students have been involved. The project has also attracted the attention and considerable help from the Poughkeepsie-Arlington Rotary Club. One of the major sources of funding is an annual art show and auction featuring work by native Haitian artists.
RadioRotary co-host Jonah Triebwasser, in Sydney, interviews Rotarians from the United States who are also visiting the Convention and others who work with Rotary. Kurt Johnsen from the New Windsor-Cornwall Rotary in Orange County, New York, describes the Rotary Foundation and its progress in the fight to eradicate polio. His wife, Ana Johansen, talks about E-Club 7210, which—although based in District 7210 has members from around the world—provides credits for a Rotary meeting via the Internet as well as doing community service. Past District Governor Ernie Montane, from the Tucson Sunrise Club in Arizona recounts how a visit to West Africa some years ago led to 88 Rotary clubs working together to provide clean water and other services in Togo and Niger. Montane was at the Convention a day early to participate in WASRAG (the Water and Sanitation Rotary Action Group). Liz Odell was representing ShelterBox, the compact box that supplies tents and supplies in disasters. Rotarian Floyd Hammer, from Iowa discusses the origin of Outreach, which began as a construction project at a leper-care facility and not, among other projects, packages three kinds of meals for needy people all over the world. Cat O’Brien reports on Rotary Peace Fellowships, master’s degree and professional programs centering on peace that are paid for by the Rotary Foundation.