November is Rotary Foundation Month

To honor Rotary Foundation month, I wanted to share some details about OUR foundation and what we’re doing around the world.

Improving access to education through our Foundation

It’s an astonishing figure: 57 million children worldwide are not in school. Improving access to education is a key to breaking the cycle of poverty, and Rotarians are working to do just that. Using grants from The Rotary Foundation, members partner with communities to provide affordable textbooks, to integrate technology into the classroom, and to ensure that students have access to clean water. See for yourself how the Foundation is changing the world through education. And help by promoting your club’s education-related activities and by donating during Rotary Foundation Month.

Low-cost shelters and simple schools will be eligible for global grant funding

For three years beginning 1 January, clubs and districts will be able to use global grants for the construction of low-cost shelters and simple schools, under a change approved by Foundation Trustees in September. However, the construction must be a part of a comprehensive project related to an area of focus. For example, such construction could be part of a project that includes vocational training and job placement assistance that’s designed to lift families out of poverty, or it could be part of a larger, comprehensive effort to educate children. Construction by itself will not be eligible for global grants. More information will be coming soon about how to create a global grant project that includes construction of low-cost shelters and simple schools.

Support Rotary on Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is a day dedicated worldwide to celebrating generosity. On 29 November, join those committed to making a difference by giving to The Rotary Foundation online. It’s also a great way to help your club reach its centennial giving goals.

Changes coming to the grant application

Watch for the debut in December of the Grant Center, which will feature both a new look and a streamlined grant application.

Centennial grant recognition

The Rotary Foundation’s centennial celebration will include recognition of major achievements related to its programs, including the important work that Rotary clubs and districts carry out using Foundation grants. Here’s a certificate template that districts can use to recognize outstanding district grant-funded projects completed in 2015-16.

Also, the Centennial Celebration Committee selected several noteworthy global grants completed in 2015-16 to be highlighted at the Atlanta convention in June. Here is the list of grants selected.

Focus on Membership

Each month I try to share ideas to help our clubs grow membership. This month’s thoughts come to us from the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill, Washington, DC

6 ingredients for membership growth

Posted on November 4, 2016 by Rotary International

By Quentin Wodon

Let’s admit it: achieving a high growth rate (negative or positive) is easier with a small club. Still, after more than five years of almost continuous decline in membership, my club was excited to report a 60 percent growth in membership from July to October. We had 18 members on 1 July. Now we have 29, with 11 new members inducted in the first trimester of the new Rotary year.

How did we do it? Let me share our recipe:

Ingredient 1: Less meetings, more service and public events. Rotary’s Council on Legislation has given a lot of freedom to clubs on how they organize their meetings. So we decided to reduce our regular meetings from four to two per month, which gives us more time for service work and organizing public events.

Ingredient 2: Better service opportunities. Many Rotarians are professionals and business leaders, yet most do not use their skills when they volunteer with their club. We changed that in our club by creating teams of Rotarians and non-Rotarians combining their skills to provide free advice to local nonprofits on the strategic issues they face. This is not only more interesting in terms of volunteer work, but it is also more impactful to create positive change in the community.

Ingredient 3: Lower cost. By the standards of Washington D.C., our membership dues are not very high, at $600 per year. But this is too much for many. So we created two new membership types – a membership at half the regular dues for young professionals under 35 years of age, and a spouse/partner membership at one third of the dues.

Ingredient 4: Stronger public image. We are organizing better and more regular public events. One of our recent events was a seminar at the World Bank with great speakers on education for peace and social change. That same week we also had a stand at the main festival in our neighborhood. In addition, we have been writing articles for a local blog, the local magazine for our neighborhood in Washington, D.C., and a free newspaper.

Ingredient 5: Strategic planning. We now have a strategic plan, our first since the club’s creation in 2003. The plan gives us a vision, and clear milestones and targets that we are trying to achieve.

Ingredient 6: Luck. Part of our gain in membership was just luck, as two new members transferred from other clubs due to changes in jobs and the location of their workplace. What’s great is that they bring with them a lot of experience in Rotary.

It remains to be seen whether we will continue on the path of membership growth for the rest of the year. We expect some members to relocate, so we will need to recruit more members to compensate. But we are making progress, and we have exciting initiatives coming up that should help us become better known in the community, make a larger difference for the less fortunate, and hopefully continue to grow.

Picture of Quentin WodonAbout the author: Quentin Wodon is a lead economist at the World Bank. He holds PhDs in economics and in theology and religious studies, and has taught at universities in Europe and the U.S. He is currently President of the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C. He is also author of the Rotarian Economist blog at


Marlinton Club Annual Dinner

Jan and I had the good fortune to join the Marlinton Club in late October for its annual dinner to celebrate the good works of an Interact member, induct two new members and pin a new Paul Harris Fellow. We started with fellowship time and a delicious dinner at the Inn at Mountain Quest. Max Dunz, an Interactor from the club at Pocahontas County High School, then shared his experiences volunteering at an orphanage in Chematemalan, a city of 160,000 near Guatemala City. It was a great evening of celebration for the club, and Jan and I were honored to be a part of it.


Interact Conference

In mid-October, Interactors from around the district gathered at the Advanced Technology Center at BridgeValley Community and Technical College in South Charleston for a day of fun and inspiration. The day started with a “BANG!” when Batman made an appearance in his Batmobile. His inspiring message of “Find Your Inner Superhero” started the Interactors’ day off right.

District Conference

Mark your calendar and plan to get together for “A Little Bit of Rotary and a Whole Lot of Fun” at Glade Springs Resort, May 19-21, 2017. Friday night we’ll gather to have some fun and relax after a week of work. Saturday we’ll celebrate this year’s accomplishments and hear some speakers to inspire us to keep up the good works. Saturday night we’ll enjoy a great meal, recognize clubs’ great works, and occurrence great hospitality. Sunday we’ll get our marching orders, celebrate a bit more, and head home ready to set the Rotary world on fire!

If you’d like to help on a Conference Committee, please e-mail me at I’ll hook you up!

Registration details will be on DACdb in early 2017.

Atlanta Convention News

The Rotary World Choir is Calling All Singers!

The International Fellowship of Rotarian Musicians (IFRM) forms the Rotary World Choir each year to sing during the Interfaith Service on the opening day of the Rotary International Convention. This coming year in Atlanta to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Rotary Foundation, IFRM is determined to have at least 100 voices in the choir. The choir is open to all Rotarians from around the world. This year in Seoul we had singers from Japan, Australia, India, Korea, England and the USA.


Past District Governor 6540 and Rotary World Choir Director Judy Walker with Barry Oxford member of Carrollton – Dawnbreakers on the Circular Quay in Sydney Australia where the Rotary World Choir sang during the convention in 2014.

As a member of IFRM I invite you to join the Rotary World Choir and sing during the Convention in Atlanta. This is a great way to participate in the convention and meet people from around the world. You will get a new perspective on the international aspect of Rotary. And of course you know you like to sing!

The Rotarians of Districts 6900, 6910, and 6920 in Georgia look forward to having you join us in Atlanta. I am optimistic that with your help we can make this happen.

To get the details and to register to join the choir, go to the IFRM website:

If you want any more information about the Rotary World Choir please contact me, Barry Oxford, via e-mail: I’d love to hear from you if you register.

Remember, you can get on the District 7550 bus to Atlanta! Check out the registration on DaCdb!

Remember, you can travel to Atlanta with your fellow Rotarians from District 7550 if you Get on the Bus! The District has reserved a luxurious motor coach for the trip to Atlanta, and the cost is just $100 round trip. You couldn’t park your car for five days in Atlanta for that price! Go to for details of the trip and for the links to register for the Convention.

District Conference

Mark your calendars and plan to attend the District 7550 Conference at Glade Springs Resort on May 19-21, 2017. Details and registration will be available in early 2017.

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