RI and the Foundation continue on solid financial ground
While serving as your general secretary over the past decade, I've watched Rotary International and The Rotary Foundation grow considerably in terms of size, effectiveness, public prominence, and financial assets. During that time, we also experienced some very challenging financial situations, most recently the economic crisis of 2008. As I write to you in the final quarter of fiscal year 2011, I'm happy to report that both RI and our Foundation continue on solid financial ground.
Due to strong performance of the financial markets during the past two years, Rotary International has more than recovered its investment losses of fiscal 2008 and 2009. With investment returns of 22 percent for the first nine months in fiscal 2011, our reserves now stand at US$134 million. The Rotary Foundation is also experiencing healthy investment returns this fiscal year and has recovered about 80 percent of its fiscal 2008 and 2009 losses. RI and Foundation investment performance has exceeded market performance during the nine months ended 31 March 2011.
As a result of actions taken last June by the RI Board and the Foundation Trustees, RI's General Fund and the Foundation's Annual Programs Fund have been restructured to mitigate the impact of large losses in the financial markets and to provide protection against inflation.
The generosity of Rotarians also helps ensure our financial stability. Through 31 March, contributions totaled $69 million to the Annual Programs Fund and $11 million to the Permanent Fund, increases of $6 million and $3 million, respectively, over the previous year.
These figures are especially heartening when you consider that Rotarians have also been providing tremendous support to Rotary’s US$200 Million Challenge. Since its inception, contributions to the challenge have totaled $166 million through 31 March, illustrating Rotarians' unwavering commitment to achieving a polio-free world. Equally encouraging is the significant progress being made in our fight to eradicate polio in the four endemic countries, particularly India and Nigeria.
The Foundation's improved financial outlook ensures that Rotarians will have substantial resources to help support their vital work. Having previously restored the current year's Matching Grants budget, the Foundation Trustees recently approved a comparable budget for 2011-12. In addition, the budget for the Future Vision pilot will enable pilot districts to adequately test the new grant model before it launches for all districts on 1 July 2013.
A crucial piece of any financial picture is spending. The Secretariat staff is constantly considering how we can keep costs down while meeting Rotarians' wide-ranging expectations for service. By aligning our resources more closely to the strategic plan, taking full advantage of available technology, and closely monitoring our budgets, we have consistently kept expenses at or under budget.
More information about Rotary’s financial position is available online at www.rotary.org/financials. And on 23 May, the RI treasurer's report to the convention will be posted as part of our 2011 RI Convention coverage.
As you may know, I am retiring as general secretary on 30 June. Thanks to the vigorous efforts of the volunteer leadership and the Secretariat staff, I will be leaving Rotary in a strong financial position. My successor, John Hewko, brings a wealth of experience to the job. With the help of our senior leaders and our staff, he will continue to provide the level of careful financial stewardship that Rotarians so rightly expect.
I leave wishing you all the best as you continue in Rotary service.