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Rotary projects around the globe

October 2023


United States

For over 100 years, the grand parade of the Washington State Apple Blossom Festival has been a calendar highlight in Wenatchee. Besides the royalty, the motorcycle drill teams, and the floats with local luminaries, there’s another unusual draw: horse manure and, in particular, where it lands. In May, the Rotary Club of Wenatchee Sunrise held a raffle for people to guess where along the parade route the equine excrement would fall first. Those who correctly chose the first “drop zone” were entered into a $10,000 grand prize drawing; four $500 consolation prizes were offered for other zones. The concept, adapted from an idea of the Rotary Club of Hailey, Idaho, raised $14,000 for scholarships, gifts for families in transitional housing, and improvements to a farmers market. “What makes [the event] so fun is the unique and slightly naughty concept for the raffle,” says Kathleen McNalty, a club past president. “Selling the raffle tickets gives us the opportunity to talk to our community about the good works of Rotary in a lighthearted way.”


The Rotary clubs of Solvang, California, and Escuintla, Guatemala, teamed up to bring safe drinking water to the small town of Nueva Concepción. In February, nine Solvang Rotarians, the daughter of a club member, and a member of another District 5240 club visited the rural community, about a three-hour drive southwest of Guatemala City. They joined a professional crew to help drill a $6,000 well funded by their club. The Linda Vista Foundation, created by a Rotarian, will match that with a second well in the area. “You’re soaking wet and you’re dirty, dirty. It’s not a pretty job,” says Linda Johansen, a past president of the Solvang club. “But when clean water comes out, it’s pretty impressive.” During the visit, Rotarian dentists provided free dental care to 50 children in a clinic coordinated by the Escuintla club. Rotarians helped conduct classes on hygiene and nutrition and led craft projects.

  • 7.20 million

    Estimated number of horses in the U.S.

  • 45.00%

    Share of rural households with basic drinking water services in Guatemala


After July 2021 floods that killed hundreds of people, leveled homes, and inundated centuries-old buildings in northern Europe, Rotarians committed millions of euros to help rebuild devastated communities. Nearly two years later, Rotary members along the Ahr River, a Rhine tributary, did not forget the river itself or its fish. Over one week in March, the Rotary clubs of Remagen-Sinzig, Adenau-Nürburgring, and Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler (all in District 1810) released thousands of salmon smolt in a roughly $16,200 restocking. In Schuld, the Adenau-Nürburgring club offered fish-shaped baked treats to children, and a fisheries expert explained the day’s task. “It is crucial to involve children directly in these activities,” says Alex Schoep, a co-president of the Adenau-Nürburgring club. “They have experienced the horrors of the flood catastrophe firsthand, and it is very important that they re-establish a more positive relationship with the Ahr, a river that characterizes and dominates the region.”


The Rotary Club of Barbados has created a series of financial literacy workshops with the help of club members who are financial professionals, including bankers, insurance agents, actuaries, and wealth managers. Dubbed Save, Spend, Thrive, the program includes classroom sessions, mentorship opportunities, and social media messaging. The workshops began in January with sessions for residents and former clients of a center for people with substance use disorders. The effort expanded in April and May through a collaboration with a church in Bridgetown. Topics include debt management, household budgeting, saving, and retirement planning. “To date we have served approximately 100 people, most of them women,” says club member Jamella Forde.

  • 28.00 lbs.

    Fish and other seafood consumed by the average German in 2021

  • 8.90%

    Unemployment rate of women in Barbados in 2022


Each year, the Rotary Club of Morimondo Abbazia dedicates a medal to a charity in honor of the late Ambrogio Locatelli, one of its charter members. In March, the 33-member club designated the Italian office of the nonprofit Rise Against Hunger as the award recipient. In collaboration with the organization, the club gathered 140 Rotarians, family members, friends, and Rotaractors to assemble 17,000 meals for a school in Zimbabwe. The volunteers sorted and weighed rice, soy, and dried vegetables and packed them into bags, which were boxed along with drawings and notes from local children. The effort, which cost about $9,000, was funded by Rotarians and the Locatelli family, says Davide Carnevali, a member of the Milan-area club.

This story originally appeared in the October 2023 issue of Rotary magazine.

Rotary projects make a difference in communities around the world.