The Bradley Sunrise Rotarians continued their observance with a presentation from Cleveland Rotarian David Carroll who just ended a three-year term as the District 6780 Foundation chairman.
Carroll’s presentation highlighted the Foundation’s history and the role it has played in a number of varied projects all designed to give a helping hand to those in need.
“This is the month we do celebrate and recognize all the different programs of the Rotary Foundation,” Carroll said.
He gave a narrative of the origins of the Rotary Clubs.
“Rotary got its beginning in 1905 with its founder Paul Harris from Chicago,” Carroll said. “He was a young attorney and really just wanted some friendship and people to do something with to make a difference in the lives of people.”
Carroll said the original small group was formed of businessmen from different locations who would rotate the site of their meetings to different locations.
“In 1917, Rotary International President Arch Klumph proposed an endowment with the purpose of doing good in the world,” he said.
He noted when the Rotarians met that year in Atlanta there were 2,500 members in attendance representing 267 clubs.
“Look how Rotary has grown because there are 3,400 Rotarians in our district alone in 66 clubs,” Carroll said. “You can see how Rotary has grown when it is not unheard of to see 15,000 at a Rotary International convention.”
The new endowment was begun with a donation from Kansas City of $26.50.
“Our district at that time went all the way into Kentucky and the Chattanooga club was established in 1914 and they sponsored the Cleveland club in 1924,” Carroll said.
The Cleveland club went on to sponsor the Bradley Sunrise Club in 1926.
“When Rotary held its 1928 convention in Minneapolis, the endowment had grown to $5,000. It was at that convention the endowment was named the Rotary Foundation and became a distinct entity,” Carroll said.
He said the first Foundation grant was made in the amount of $500 to the International Society for Crippled Children, later known as Easter Seals.
“When the founder, Paul Harris, passed away in 1947 the contributions poured in as memorials,” Carroll said. “This is recognized as the turning point of monies coming into the foundation. Since that first donation over $1 billion has been given to the Foundation.”
The Paul Harris Fellow recognition was then created to reward those members who have accumulated $1,000.
“Today, more than 1 million have been recognized,” Carroll said. “There are more than 5,000 and some have multiple recognitions.”
The local district has also been involved in the Ambassadorial Scholar program, having sponsored more than 100 scholars who were given the ability to study abroad with the hopes of fostering international understanding.
Rotarians funded the first “3H” grant — health, hunger and humanities — which was a project to immunize 6 million children against polio in the Philippines.
“James Bomar, from our district in Shelbyville, administered the first polio drops in 1979,” Carroll said. “It set the stage for Rotary’s decade-long commitment to eradicate polio.
He also mentioned several other projects where the district clubs have continued funds totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars.
“Our district has a huge heritage when it comes to supporting the Foundation,” Carroll said. “I think our district does a wonderful job and we set the standards very high for giving and for using the funds. Around the Rotary world, this district is really known for its leadership in giving and using the funds.”