By David Rogers. November 16, 2016. BLOWING ROCK, NC — Exactly 100 years ago, outgoing Rotary International President Arch Klumph proposed that the then fledgling and relatively small service organization set up an endowment “for the purpose of doing good in the world.” A century after the initial contribution of $26.50, the Rotary Foundation has nearly $1.5 billion in assets net of liabilities, one of the largest and most prestigious international fellowship progams in the world.
COVER IMAGE: Rotarian Bill Thorn was all smiles in wearing the appropriate party attire. Photographic images by David Rogers for Blowing Rock News.
What makes that billion dollar-plus number even more remarkable is the amount of money that the Rotary Foundation gives away each year in worldwide projects aimed at forestalling hunger, promoting peace, aiding in worldwide healthcare, and promoting economic development. In 2014-15, for example, the Rotary Foundation had some $232 million in program giving, ranking it about 25th among U.S. foundations according to the list from the Foundation Center, a New York-based source of information about worldwide philanthropy.
Former Blowing Rock club president Virginia Vanstory, this year serving as the local club’s Rotary Foundation chair, presented Monday’s program at the regular meeting of The Rotary Club of Blowing, in Timberlake’s Restaurant at Chetola Mountain Resort. Vanstory was a treasure trove of knowledge about the work of the international organization and its history.
From its first grant to the Crippled Children’s Fund in 1929 to the Foundation’s current funding efforts to eradicate polio, Vanstory noted for the club members’ benefit that the organization had distributed more than $3 billion worldwide to promote children’s health, foster peace among nations, provide shelter for the homeless, provide clean water in developing nations, grow local economies, and more.
Vanstory presented special recognition banners and pins to club president Ray Pickett that were awarded to the Blowing Rock club for its support for the Rotary Foundation, including its achieving a 100% “sustaining member” status for the 2015-16 club year.
In other club business, Kitty Lumpkin offered her thoughts on the importance of early detection of breast cancer and Ken Wehrmann provided details of the upcoming Holiday Party in December.