Why should you give to The Rotary Foundation Annual Fund? Your contribution to the Annual Fund is the primary source of support for Rotary Club projects worldwide. “To ensure that the funds for the projects are there when needed,” says Past RI President Ron Burton, “all contributions to the Foundation’s Annual Fund are invested for three years.” When the three years period is up, the investment earnings of your gift go toward the operating expenses of the Foundation. Your principal is split 50/50, with half going to our District Designated Fund and half going into the World Fund, a pool that the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation use to match grants where they are most needed.” 

To better explain how the TRF Global Grant process works, I want to tell you about a project that I am personally involved with that originated on my trip to India last January. Prior to joining the D5240 2018 NID team in Delhi, Kay Bliss, Susan Weaver and I spent five days visiting the Prashanti International School in the city of Puri, India. Puri is in the state of Odisha on the Bay of Bengal. Odisha is one of the poorest states in India - 80% rural, with many families living well below the poverty index, often on less than 50 cents per day. 
The mission of Prashanti International School (PIS) is to give bright, impoverished children from the surrounding villages a solid foundation in values, academics, and the English language so they can qualify for higher education and good jobs.  PIS currently provides a high-quality English immersion pre-K through 8th grade program for 210 children from low income village families. Forty of these most deeply impoverished students aged 5-17 are provided room and board at the school, and receive full support and tuition to attend PIS through donations from individuals around the world.

Rotary Club of Ojai learned about PIS from our member, Leslie Bouché, who became our International Service Director this year. She and her husband, Bruce, have been deeply involved with the school for 15 years. Over the past three years, our club has used club and District Grant funds to contribute a water filtration system, classroom computers, a water storage tank, and bathroom tiling and fixtures. This year a District Grant is going to provide a new septic system. In the process, we began to partner on some of the projects with local Rotarians (Srikshetra Puri Rotary Club) who are as supportive of the school as we are. 

In January, PIS completed the first phase of a new school building that will allow it to increase student enrollment to 400 students. Eventually they plan a second phase that will add 9th and 10th grades so they can educate children through high school graduation and prepare them for college. The new school building is the most solid concrete structure in the village, so it also serves as a community storm shelter during frequent harsh cyclones and flooding.
During our visit, Kay, Susan and I attended the dedication of the first phase of the new classroom building at PIS. We were impressed with the academic rigor of the education program, but we were even more struck by the emphasis on human values that are taught and lived at the school. As Bruce and Leslie discussed their future plans for the school, we began talking about need for additional building structures, education equipment and staff training.

When our flight to Delhi to join the rest of the NID Team was unexpectedly cancelled, we spent the extra day in Puri getting to know the Indian Rotarians and began drafting a grant proposal.  Having completed two successful global grants previously, the Ojai Rotarians bring grant experience and fundraising ability to the project. Srikshetra Puri Rotary Club has never done a global grant, but they are eager to undertake one to help the school. 
Their team members include a highly respected contractor who is involved in the project, a civil engineer who is knowledgeable about municipal permits and inspections, and some solid businessmen who know how to get things done. Most important, we are all committed to the goals and success of PIS and discovered that we also really liked and respected each other. 

Leslie and Bruce are in almost daily contact with the school and have access to financial records and contracts, which will facilitate getting information for grant reports when needed. Our grant will provide: (1) teacher training to improve advanced English skills and how to incorporate English into all curriculum areas, as well as training in teaching science, computer literacy, hygiene, and the Education in Human Values program; (2) facility upgrades and safety requirements (a border wall, security gate, access road grading and planting for flood control) necessary to qualify for certification as an English education high school; (3) furnishings for 6 classrooms, plus computers and a science lab. 

Earlier this week, we held a Skype call with the India Rotarian Team to discuss the requirements that are expected from them to manage a global grant. Although we started the needs assessment when we visited the school in January, the school principal will conduct formal meetings with teachers and parents to ensure that the global grant includes their key concerns. It seems we have all the components for a successful grant!

Now it is on to fundraising. The Global Grant for English Immersion Education for Indigent Village Children in Puri, Odisha, India will require $63,000 to achieve its goals. To make that happen we need to raise $18,000 in cash from clubs. The district will match the club cash dollar for dollar. TRF then matches club cash $0.50 on the dollar plus the district contribution dollar for dollar. Result: $18,000 (Club Cash) + $18,000 (District) + $27,000 (TRF Match) = $63,000 (GrandTotal)
When the needs assessment, project budget, performance measures and funding are determined, the global grant is ready to be submitted online on the Rotary website. It seems like a lot of work, but there is a number of staff available at TRF and the District to guide you through the process. Remember, that it is your contribution to the Annual Fund that makes this all possible. November is Foundation Month and a good time to make that donation.
Written By: 
Mike Weaver, District 5240 TRF Annual Fund Chair