An Embarrassingly Small Gift?

Written by PDG Helene A. Kalfuss, TRF EREY Coordinator, Zone 26

Is there any such thing as an embarrassingly small contribution to The Rotary Foundation? Just how much does it take to positively change a life? Rotarians may think that the Foundation wants them to contribute a minimum of US$100 per year when all they can afford is $25 or $10. They fear being scorned or embarrassed by making this small gift. Not so!

It is important that every member realize that whatever gift they can afford, no matter the amount, is just as important as what a major donor gives! We can do this by providing our members with an idea of what “things” cost in the TRF world. Most have no idea of how little it takes to change a life.


  • Just two cents a day can buy the Vitamin A needed to prevent blindness in a Vitamin A deficient child or adult.
  • $10 can buy two insecticide impregnated mosquito nets preventing the spread of malaria
  • $25 can fund an intraocular lens implant!

Sharing the impact of donors contributions helps develop a “culture of giving” which will continue year after year and encourage donors to increase their contributions when they are able. Our global contribution rate represents only 27 percent of our Rotarians. Isn’t it time we encouraged our less affluent members to support the Foundation at a level with which they are comfortable? Show them how their small contribution will make a huge difference!

As supporters of The Rotary Foundation, we know that contributions to the Annual Fund allow us to do good in our very own communities or in the world. Helping your clubs encourage every Rotarian to contribute every year means keeping in communication with them, providing ideas that might help and making frequent visits and presentations on EREY TRF program. You can help achieve 100 percent EREY participation by making sure that your members know that no contribution is too small or too big! When Rotarians understand the impact of their contributions, no matter the size, they will give.

EREY: 100 percent is a goal you can achieve!


RI President-elect Gary Huang recognizes Charter Paul Harris Society members in Nairobi

By Yinka Babalola, regional Rotary Foundation coordinator, zone 20A-English

At a colorful dinner ceremony presided over by the visiting Rotary International President-elect Gary C.K. Huang in a Nairobi hotel on 7August 2013, Rotarians in newly formed district 9212 launched their first Paul Harris Society (PHS).

Rotarians in district 9212 pose for a quick picture with President elect Gary C.K. Huang.

Rotarians in district 9212 pose for a quick picture with President elect Gary C.K. Huang.

ARRFC Eric Kimani spoke at the event, asking Rotarians to engage more fully with their Foundation by becoming Paul Harris Society members. Twenty-two Rotarians responded to his personal, passionate speech by committing US$146,000 to become Charter Members of the PHS.

Recently adopted as a formal recognition program, Paul Harris Society membership is reserved for individuals who contribute $1,000 or more each year to the Annual Fund, PolioPlus or an approved Rotary Foundation grant.  Districts who appoint Paul Harris Society coordinators are provided with additional support and resources, helping them identify new members and thanking those who have already made their commitment to contribute each year.

District 9212 recently appointed Past Assistant Governor Richard Omwela as its PHS Coordinator, making it the third district in the zone to make an appointment, effectively showing the success this appointment can have on fundraising. Zone 20A English now has a Paul Harris Society formally in place in districts 9212 and 9101. Regional leaders are excited by the results and are encouraging other districts in the region to appoint Paul Harris Society coordinators, leveraging the immense potential this new donor group delivers to Rotary Foundation efforts.

Speaking at the dinner President-elect Gary expressed his deep gratitude on behalf of Rotary International for the commitment that Rotarians exhibited. He expressed his admiration for how local Rotarians’ financial support of The Rotary Foundation and commented on their deep involvement in Service above Self, as evidenced by the various club projects he had the opportunity to see during his tour.

Learn more about the Paul Harris Society on Rotary’s website.