Posted by Bob Ruehl on Nov 17, 2023
Giving and Grants
Program in Panama was finalist for Programs of Scale grant
Digital Interactive Classrooms in Panama was the 2023 finalist for the Programs of Scale grant, a US$2 million award from The Rotary Foundation. The program in Panama aims to improve the quality of education in selected public primary schools by introducing technology in 230 classrooms and training teachers to use it to improve instruction. Learn more about this ambitious program.
Celebrate Rotary Foundation month

In November, we celebrate the impact that The Rotary Foundation has in supporting grants and other projects around the world. During Rotary Foundation Month, you have several opportunities to get involved in raising awareness and funds for our Foundation. 

  1. Support our Foundation on Giving Tuesday, 28 NovemberMake a gift to The Rotary Foundation, and share your support on social media. The top clubs in fundraising, participation, and online giving will be featured on My Rotary. Here are last year’s honorees.
  2. Share our impact. Take time during a club meeting to share our latest video that shows how the Foundation transforms gifts into service projects that advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace by fighting disease, improving the quality of education, protecting the environment, alleviating poverty, and doing even more.
  3. Thank our donors. The Rotary Foundation will be sending special thank-you messages to donors around the world throughout November, but we hope you thank members in your community that participate in service projects. Take a moment to write a quick thank-you note or recognize Foundation supporters during a club meeting.
  4. Give the gift of Rotary. Make an impact in communities around the world by joining members who give the gift of Rotary. Your gift helps create lasting change, from supplying filters that purify drinking water to providing vital medical equipment to neonatal intensive care units. You can share information about Give the Gift with fellow members and other prospective donors.

We recently updated Rotary’s Areas of Focus Policy Statements to clarify what kinds of projects and activities are eligible for global grants in the environment area of focus. If you’re applying for such a grant, check the latest version of the policy statements to make sure that what you’re planning is eligible. If you have questions about grant eligibility, ask your regional grants officer for guidance or for a preliminary review of your application.

Rotary Healthy Communities Challenge

The success of Partners for a Malaria-Free Zambia, Rotary’s first Programs of Scale award recipient, led to an opportunity to build on our strategic partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and World Vision to create a new disease prevention and treatment grant program. Rotary Healthy Communities Challenge will be implemented in four African countries from 2024 to 2027. The challenge will provide Rotary members in target countries with longer-term resources to implement large-scale, high-impact programs to reduce severe disease and death from malaria, lower respiratory infections, and diarrhea — the top killers of children under age five. These programs will focus on vulnerable populations and improving accessibility and quality of sustainable community health systems. Learn more about this challenge.


Here are a few tips that can help you as you prepare and submit your applications for global grants:

  1. Plan ahead for submitting your application. There is no application deadline, and you can submit applications throughout the year. However, if you wait until the end of the Rotary year in June, as many applicants do, your application will take longer to process, and there’s a chance that it won’t be approved during the year in which you submitted it.
  2. Don’t send cash contributions before applications are approved. Wait until you’ve received the official approval notification from the regional grants officer before sending cash contributions, and make sure that you include the grant number with all contributions. Contributions won’t be refunded if your application is not approved. Please also make sure to send only the pledged amount, not more.
  3. Confirm funding before submitting the application. After a grant application is approved, you can’t change project funding sources and amounts, so it’s important to make sure everything is accurate ahead of time. Be sure to check all funding sources and amounts, including The Rotary Foundation Donor Advised Funds, cash, District Designated Funds, directed and endowed gifts, and the World Fund. You can use the global grant calculator to help plan your funding.
  4. Plan for contingencies. As you develop your budget, remember that things can change when you start implementing your project, and exchange rates can fluctuate. Be sure to include funds of up to 10% of your budget to cover any unforeseen expenses that may arise because, as noted above, you can’t change the funding after approval.

During their April 2023 meeting, the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation made a decision to annually recognize districts that achieve at least 90% compliance with grant reporting requirements during a Rotary year. For 2022-23, 39 districts worldwide were recognized for exceptional grant reporting efforts and received a certificate of appreciation signed by the trustee chair. Rotary encourages all districts to aim for reporting compliance above 90% in the next four quarterly analyses and 100% reporting compliance for district grants and district-sponsored global grants for 2023-24. Your dedication to transparent reporting and to stewardship is instrumental in driving meaningful impact within your communities.


If you are planning a technology project in schools, review these tips to have an effective project that improves teaching and learning in schools.

Increase your impact by working with Rotary’s partners

Did you know that Rotary’s partners can help you plan effective and sustainable projects? These partners are part of Rotary’s district resource networks and are actively involved in each area of focus. The partners help Rotary clubs increase the impact of their service projects by providing expertise, a broader network, and service opportunities. Explore our partners page to connect with them.


A theory of change is an important part of planning a service project because a well-thought-out theory of change can serve as an indispensable road map to successfully reaching a project’s long-term goal. But what is a theory of change? Learn about the components of a theory of change and how a theory of change is used in practice, and access resources to help you draft a theory of change for your next project.


Research has confirmed that the single most important factor in member satisfaction is the club experience. Does your club create opportunities for members to serve, locally and globally, that have a personal meaning? Take the Measuring and Reporting Our Impact course in the Learning Center to learn how we can enhance the service experience by compiling and reporting data to show how member participation makes an impact on communities around the world.

Rotary Foundation Reference Guide
The Rotary Foundation Reference Guide provides an overview of Foundation programs and services.
Grant Responsibilities by Leader
Grants Responsibilities by Leader explains club and district roles and lists resources to help carry out these duties.
Project Planning Resources
Rotary has an array of project planning resources to help members answer questions and solve problems at various stages in the process.
A Guide to Global Grants
A Guide to Global Grants helps members who want to apply for a global grant or to make their service projects more effective and sustainable.
Project Fairs
Project fairs connect clubs that are seeking international projects with those that want to find partners.
Learning Center
The Learning Center offers many courses and resources, including information about fundraising and participating in grants.