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5 ways to use your District Designated Funds


If you had $50,000 in the bank and your child or spouse needed money for a lifesaving operation, would you leave the account untouched? Of course not. Yet every year, a large amount of District Designated Funds (DDFs) go unused. That’s money that could be used to improve communities and even save lives around the world. 

These funds never expire. But by not using them, your district misses out on opportunities to involve members in the life-changing work of The Rotary Foundation and use your donors’ money to do good in the world.

Here are five excellent ways to use your DDFs to make a difference:


  1. District grants: District grants fund small-scale, short-term activities that address needs identified by clubs in your district. Each year, your district may request up to half of your DDF money in a lump-sum grant to be used for district grants. These grants are flexible. They can be used for activities that don’t align with one of Rotary’s areas of focus but that still fulfill the Foundation’s mission.  

    The Rotary Club of Durango Daybreak, Colorado, USA, used DDFs for district grants to install solar lights in homes on a Navajo reservation. 

  2. Global grants: Did you know that you can also use DDFs to support global grants? These large-scale projects combine DDFs or cash raised by sponsoring Rotary clubs and districts with matching funds from the Foundation. The DDFs you give to these grants is matched 100 percent by the World Fund, so Global Grants are a powerful way to make the most of your DDFs.

    The Rotary Clubs of East Sacramento, California, USA, and Metro Valencia, Bukidnon, Philippines, collected $103,000 in DDFs from eight districts for a project to raise public awareness of human trafficking.

  3. Donations to PolioPlus: Every dollar of DDFs that your district contributes to PolioPlus is matched 50 percent by the World Fund, up to $5 million. In addition, every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication, up to $50 million a year, is matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. So that’s an even bigger return on your DDFs. 

  4. Contributions to the Rotary Peace Centers: Your district can become a Peacebuilder District by allocating a minimum of $25,000 in DDFs to the Rotary Peace Centers each year. Donations fund up to 100 Rotary Peace Fellowships each year. 

  5. Support of the Endowment: Rotary’s Endowment ensures that future Rotarians will have the resources to design and implement sustainable projects year after year. When you give DDFs toward one of the six areas of focus, Rotary preserves and invests your initial contribution while spending a portion of its earnings. This strategy supports Rotary’s causes today and generates funds to further that important work in the future.

Did you know?

The DDFs available to your district are based primarily on the amount that district members have contributed to the Annual Fund-SHARE over the past three years. You can check your district’s balance on My Rotary.

Learn how to find your Available DDF by District report, which lists DDF allocations for grant applications in every stage from draft to approved.

The Rotary Club of Durango Daybreak, Colorado, USA, used three district grants to install solar lights in homes in the Navajo Nation, which covers 27,000 square miles of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Many of the homes are not served by power lines.