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The Rotary Foundation is a non-profit corporation that supports the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programs. It is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.
The Foundation was created in 1917 by Rotary International's sixth president, Arch C. Klumph, as an endowment fund for Rotary "to do good in the world." It has grown from an initial contribution of US$26.50 to more than US$1billion. It has one of the largest and most prestigious international fellowship programs in the world.
PolioPlus: Rotarians have mobilized by the hundreds of thousands to ensure that children are immunized against this crippling disease and that surveillance is strong despite the poor infrastructure, extreme poverty and civil strife of many countries. Since the PolioPlus program’s inception in 1985 more than two billion children have received oral polio vaccine. To date, 209 countries, territories and areas around the world are polio-free. As of January 2012, India was declared polio free for the first time in history, leaving just Pakistan, Nigeria and Afghanistan with endemic polio. As of June 2011, Rotary has committed more than US$850 million to global polio eradication. Rotary has received $355 million in challenge grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: Rotary committed to raising $200 million by June 30, 2012 and met that goal by January 2012. This represents another $555 million toward polio eradication.
PolioPlus Fund: Grants supported out of the PolioPlus Fund that are primarily geared towards national level and supra-national efforts. For example, National PolioPlus Committee chairs or a major partner agency, such as the World Health Organization or UNICEF may apply for these funds. Support is available for eradication efforts in polio-endemic, recently endemic, and high-risk countries, including National Immunization Days, poliovirus transmission monitoring, and other activities.
PolioPlus Partners is a program that allows Rotarians to participate in the polio eradication effort by contributing to specific social mobilization and surveillance activities in polio-endemic countries. In 2003–2004, grants were approved in Africa and South Asia for a total of $330,000.
Humanitarian Grants Programs
Disaster Recovery: Facilitates club efforts to support disaster preparedness and recovery.
District Simplified Grants: Support for short-term service activities or humanitarian endeavors of districts in communities locally or internationally. This program began in 2003–2004 and, projects in 44 countries at a cost of US$5.2 million were awarded.
Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) Grants: Support for large-scale, two- to four-year projects that improve health, alleviate hunger, or promote human development. Since 1978, projects in 74 countries have been funded at a cost of US$74 million. As of 1 July 2009, the Foundation will no longer award 3-H grants, with the exception of projects being developed to support water and sanitation projects in Ghana, the Philippines, and the Dominican Republic.
3-H Planning Grants: Support for the planning activities of Rotary clubs and districts designing 3-H projects of a significant size and impact. Also in moratorium in conjunction with 3-H Grants program.
Matching Grants: – Provide matching funds for the international service projects of Rotary clubs and districts. Since 1965, more than 20,000 Matching Grants projects in 166 countries have been funded at a cost of more than US$198 million.
Scholarships:  Founded in 1947, the Ambassadorial Scholarships program was the largest non-governmental and most international scholarship program in the world. Scholars studied in a country other than their own where they serve as unofficial ambassadors of goodwill. Over 37,000 scholars from some 110 countries received scholarships at a cost of almost US$446 million. The program ended in 2013. Scholarships are now funded by district and global grants and are offered directly through Rotary clubs.
Group Study Exchange (GSE): These annual awards are made to paired Rotary districts to provide travel expenses for a team of non-Rotarians from a variety of vocations. Rotarian hosts organize a four- to six-week itinerary of educational and cultural points of interest. Since 1965, almost 48,000 individuals in more than 11,000 teams from more than 100 countries have participated at a cost of US$85 million.
Rotary Peace Fellowships: Up to 100 fellows are selected every year in a globally competitive process based on personal, academic, and professional achievements. Fellows earn a master’s-level degree or a professional development certificate in peace and conflict studies at one of six Rotary Peace Centers at leading universities in Australia, England, Sweden, Japan, the United States and Thailand.
Rotary Grants for University Teachers: Awarded to faculty members to teach in a developing nation for three to ten months. Since 1985, 377 university teachers have shared their expertise with a college or university in a developing country. As of 1 July 2009, the Foundation has discontinued this program.
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- "Humanitarian Grants – District Simplified Grants". Rotary.org. Archived from the original on 2009-03-13. Retrieved 2014-09-13.
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- "Humanitarian Grants – Matching Grants". Rotary.org. Archived from the original on 2009-03-09. Retrieved 2014-09-13.
- "Create a Scholarship". rotary.org. Archived from the original on March 18, 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
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