In 1917, RI President Arch C. Klumph proposed that an endownment be set up “for the purpose of doing good in the world.” In 1928, when the endownment fund had grown to more than US $5,000, it was renamed The Rotary Foundation and it became a district entity within Rotary International.
Five Trustees, including Klumph, were appointed to “hold, invest, manage and administer all of its property…..as a single trust, for the furtherance of the purposes of RI.
Two years later, the Foundation made its first grant of $500 to the International Society for crippled Children. The organisation, created by Rotarian Edgar F. “Daddy” Allen, later grew into the Easter Seals.
After Rotary;s founder, Paul P. Harris, dien 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 Exchang, Awards for Technical Training and Grants for Acticities 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 in1978 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 eld 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 in1917, it has received contributions totaling more than $1 billion. To date, more than one million individuals have been recognised as Paul Harris Fellows – people who hav given $ 1,000 to the Annual Programs Fund or have had that amount contributed in their name.