The Rotary Foundation


How it Began

At the 1917 Rotary convention, outgoing president Arch Klumph proposed setting up an endowment “for the purpose of doing good in the world.” That one idea, and an initial contribution of $26.50 from some leftover convention funds, set in motion a powerful force that has transformed millions of lives around the globe. Rotary is dedicated to causes that build international relationships, improve lives, and create a better world to support our peace efforts and end polio forever. The Rotary Foundation (TRF) transforms donor gifts into service projects that change lives both close to home and around the world.


100+ Years of Progress

Since its founding more than 100 years ago, TRF has invested billions of dollars in life-changing, sustainable projects that have included health, wellness, and patient care: clean water, hygiene, and sanitation initiatives; education, training and economic development programs; environmental protection; peace initiatives; and disaster relief and recovery.


A primary focus of TRF is PolioPlus whose goal is to eradicate polio and work to control a host of other diseases. Rotary launched PolioPlus in 1985 and was a founding member of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988. Through decades of commitment and work by club members, Rotary International, and its partners, billions of children have received the oral polio vaccine.

Global Grants

TRF also helps fund global grants for large-scale international activities with sustainable, measurable results. These grants support Rotary’s areas of focus and allow Rotary clubs the opportunity to take part in projects aimed at achieving the foundation’s goal of doing good in the world.

In the past, the Rotary club of Lake Buena Vista completed a successful global grant that saved the lives of women and children in rural Chhattisgarh, India where rheumatic heart disease (RHD) was causing disabling and potentially deadly heart-valve problems. The first global grant to address this problem was led by the Rotary Club of Trans Arpa Bilaspur and the Rotary club of Orlando Evening in district 6980. A team of dedicated Indian doctors surmounted many cultural, physical, and monetary challenges to perform 19 life-saving valve-replacement surgeries.

Rotary LBV Action

However, there were many more RHD cases in the area, and another global grant was initiated. Karuna Sabharwal, this club’s TRF chairperson spearheaded the development and approval of a second global grant for the needy people of Chhattisgarh. This time, Rotary LBV as international host, partnered with the Rotary Club of Bilaspur Midtown in India. Using $72,000 grant, the program successfully completed 51 heart surgeries that were planned.

Recently, our club’s dedicated TRF chair embarked on a new global grant effort. This time, the goal is to establish an eye bank managed and sustained by Dada VirendraPuri Ji Eye Institute (DVPEI) in Jabalpur, India. This would greatly facilitate the source needed for corneal replacement surgeries every year. Statistics show that India has one-third of the world’s victims of blindness. They also indicate that 52 million of them could benefit from cornea-transplant surgery. This need strains the availability of corneas. Less than one fourth of the required corneas are collected every year. An eye bank would help make more corneas available for the transplant surgeries.

How You and Your Club Can Help

We are in the process of funding the global grant in order to earn TRF approval and monetary support. The total budget for the project is $95,000, and sources of funds are District Designated Funds (DDF) from other clubs and straight monetary donations. To help, please email LBV Rotarian Karuna Sabharwal