Letter from Ian Riseley, Rotary International President 2017-18

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Dear fellow Rotarians,

Did you know that only five percent of Rotary’s members are under the age of 40? It’s an alarming statistic, and one that should prompt all of us to take action. Engaging Younger Professionals, a new online toolkit, helps clubs understand this important demographic and rethink membership, from a broad perspective down to a tactical level. It’s a great starting point for clubs that want to broaden their membership but don’t know where to start.

Telling Rotary’s story is an essential part of bringing in the new members Rotary needs to thrive. Our new People of Action video, “What We See,” and more information on the People of Action campaign, are now available to download from the Rotary Brand Center. Contact PR@rotary.org if you have any questions.

Of course, the best support for our public image is the work that is Making A Difference around the world, every day. I’m excited to announce the launch of the 2019 Rotary Peace Fellowship application, the process for selecting the social change leaders who will earn either a fully-funded master’s degree or a professional development certificate in peace and conflict studies at one of six Rotary Peace Centers at leading universities around the world. Up to 100 fellowships will be awarded for the academic year, and the application deadline is 31 May 2018. District officers play a key role in selecting applicants

If you are planning on applying for a global grant next year, remember that starting 1 July, any club or district that applies for a global grant to support a humanitarian project or a vocational training team will be required to conduct a community assessment first. The club or district will complete the Global Grants Community Assessment Results form and upload it with the global grant application, found in theGrant Center. You may use district grant funds to conduct the assessment. For more information on assessments, see Rotary’s Community Assessment Tools.

If you’d like to apply for a global grant but don’t know where to look for an international partner, we’ve put together some resources to help:

  • Rotary Ideas, a platform that allows you to request partners, materials, or international support and contributions;
  • Rotary discussion groups, a forum for clubs to exchange project ideas and request assistance;
  • Rotarian Action Groups, members and others who are experts in a particular field and who help club and district projects;
  • Intercountry committees, networks of Rotary clubs or districts in two or more countries working together on service projects, sponsoring new clubs, or other activities;
  • Project Fairs, regional events that Rotary districts host to encourage international friendship and collaboration; and
  • Rotary Fellowships, independent, social groups that share an interest in a hobby, recreational activity or profession.

If you need more help, or just have questions, staff members are happy to work with sponsors to pre-review applications, give feedback or advice, and help redesign projects into something eligible for funding. Staff are also available to come to training events. (Depending upon our budget, hosts may need to subsidize the costs.)

Finally, one last reminder about our Tree-Planting Challenge this year. I’ve asked every Rotary club to have one tree planted for each member by 22 April 2018, which is Earth Day. If you haven’t planted your trees yet, there’s still time!

Don’t forget to log into Rotary Showcase to report the trees you’ve planted. I look forward to learning how many Rotarians have come together through this challenge,Making A Difference for a better planet Earth.


Ian Riseley, Rotary International President, 2017-18