Rotarians find innovative ways to fund projects
The Rotary Club of Antananarivo-Ainga, Madagascar, launched a project to supply fresh water for a village of 700, with support from Aquasure France, the Rotary Club of Saint-Etienne Horizon, Loire, France, and The Rotary Foundation. The Matching Grant project included nearly US$4,000 in DDF from District 1710 (France). Photo by Lova Ravoniarijaona
In today's turbulent economy, Rotarians are finding innovative ways to finance humanitarian efforts by making use of their District Designated Fund (DDF) for grant projects and partnering with other Rotary clubs and organizations.
"I feel the current environment has brought a new creativity and incentive to cooperate and collaborate," said Judith Slawny, treasurer of District 6270 (Wisconsin, USA), in RI's LinkedIn discussion group.
Richard Panyik, the regional Rotary Foundation coordinator for Zone 34, which covers the Caribbean and the U.S. states of Florida and Georgia, said district governors should encourage the use of the District Designated Fund.
"The DDF is just sitting in [bank accounts], not doing the community any good," he said.
Even though The Rotary Foundation's Matching Grant budget is fully committed for this year, clubs and districts can still fund projects to meet community needs using DDF. Use of the fund requires a Matching Grant application. But grant sponsors pledge cash and DDF contributions on the application in place of any award from the World Fund.
Larry Levenson, a member of the Rotary E-club of the Southwest, Arizona, USA, said his club used DDF allocations to help fund a Matching Grant project with a club in Rajkot, India, to replace diesel water pumps with ones that run on wind power. In a LinkedIn discussion, Levenson explained how the pumps pull water from the sea; after the water evaporates, workers sell the sea salts as their sole source of income, at about US$2 a day. In the past, the workers had to spend half their income on fuel and repairs for the pumps.
The Caribbean Partnership, which began in the 2006-07 Rotary year with the help of Past RI Director Milton Jones, is another example of clubs pooling DDF allocations for grant projects, in cooperation with Rotaract and Interact clubs. The partnership encompasses about 800 Caribbean and U.S. Rotary clubs from zones 33 and 34 that work together on humanitarian projects.
Past District Governor J.V. Vlass, chair-elect of the partnership, said clubs from other parts of the world are welcome to join. To get the collaboration going, he talked about it every chance he got, he said. Rotarians quickly understood "we're all in the family of Rotary. We're in this together," he explained.
Vlass said the partnership is a two-way street, with clubs in the Caribbean helping clubs in the United States and vice versa.
Clubs and districts should contact their district governor about using their DDF to get involved in community projects.
Giving to the Annual Programs Fund through Every Rotarian, Every Year, is the best way to expand the availability of Matching Grants in future years.