Welcome to The Rotary
Foundation Australian Page
A short history of The Rotary Foundation
In 1917, RI President Arch C. Klumph proposed that an endowment be set up
“for the purpose of doing good in the world.” In 1928,
when the endowment fund had grown to more than US$5,000,
it was renamed The Rotary Foundation, and it became a
distinct entity within Rotary International. Five
Trustees, including Klumph, were appointed to “hold,
invest, manage, and administer all of its property . . .
as a single trust, for the furtherance of the purposes
of RI.” Two years later, the Foundation made its first
grant of $500 to the International Society for Crippled
Children. The organization, created by Rotarian Edgar F.
“Daddy” Allen, later grew into the Easter Seals.
The Great Depression and World War II both impeded the Foundation’s growth,
but the need for lasting world peace generated great
postwar interest in its development. After Rotary’s
founder, Paul P. Harris, died in 1947, contributions
began pouring into Rotary International, and the Paul
Harris Memorial Fund was created to build the
That year, the first Foundation program – the forerunner of Rotary
Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarships – was established.
In 1965-66, three new programs were launched:
Group Study Exchange, Awards for Technical Training, and Grants for Activities in Keeping with
the Objective of The Rotary Foundation, which was later
Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) Grants
program was launched in 1978, and Rotary Volunteers was
created as a part of that program in 1980.
was announced in 1984-85, and the next year brought
Rotary Grants for University Teachers. The first peace forums were held in 1987-88, leading to
Foundation's peace and conflict studies programs.
Throughout this time, support of the Foundation grew tremendously. Since the
first donation of $26.50 in 1917, it has received
contributions totaling more than $1 billion. More than
$70 million was donated in 2003-04 alone. To date, more
than one million individuals have been recognized as
Paul Harris Fellows
– people who have given US$1,000 to the Annual Programs Fund or have had
that amount contributed in their name.
Such strong support, along with Rotarian involvement worldwide, ensures a
secure future for The Rotary Foundation as it continues
its vital work for international understanding and world