Japanese Rotarians use district grant to meet humanitarian, educational needs
Members of the Rotary Club of Kyoto Yawata, Kyoto, Japan, present gifts to children at an elementary school in Baoji, Shaanxi, China. The club used district grant funds to expedite repairs to the school, which had been damaged by an earthquake. Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Kyoto Yawata
During the first year of the Future Vision pilot, many clubs and districts have gained experience with the new, simplified grants structure offered under The Rotary Foundation’s Future Vision Plan. District 2650 (Japan) has supported more than 40 projects this year alone.
District leaders got a head start by asking clubs to identify projects they would like to carry out and applying for a 2010-11 district grant in June. After the US$271,000 grant was approved and paid in July, the district immediately distributed funds to 42 club projects.
The district leadership team knew that all of the proposed projects were eligible for grant funding because they had identified them ahead of time in their spending plan, a requirement of the district grant application process. The spending plan also helped them to quickly report on the completion of the projects to the Foundation.
With the grant, clubs carried out projects such as providing computers, sewing machines, and other vocational training equipment to a village in the Philippines and repairing an elementary school damaged by an earthquake in China’s Shaanxi Province. They also helped fund many local initiatives, including scholarships.
According to district leaders, before participating in the Future Vision pilot, many area clubs didn’t fully understand the flexibility offered by district grants in funding a variety of projects.
But after clubs learned more about the grants, including the terms and conditions, "they showed their support for the Future Vision Plan, got a better grasp of district grants, and participated more actively," the leaders stated in a report. "As a result, we had many meaningful projects in various areas."
Global grants, which fund larger projects that support the areas of focus, also allow for greater flexibility in developing and supporting many types of projects and activities. These grants enable clubs and districts to request funding for multiple projects in one comprehensive grant application. A club or district could apply for a single global grant to support a vocational training team in conjunction with a humanitarian service project, for example.
Global grant applications are accepted on a rolling basis throughout the year, offering clubs and districts a more flexible timeline for planning their activities and preparing applications. For instance, a student could submit an online scholarship application in May, be approved by the Foundation in June, receive funds a few weeks later, and start school in September. “Future Vision improves upon the current scholarships program significantly,”says Foundation Trustee Chair Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar.
With district grant funding, he says, "scholars [can] be funded either locally or abroad at any level, for any length of time, either for a degree or certificate program, or simply for a period of study." Districts are encouraged to develop their own scholarship criteria and administrative procedures.
What advantages and challenges have you experienced in the Future Vision pilot? Send your response to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written for Future Vision Pilot News