The Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Foundation: The Give and the Get

Founded in 1917 with an initial donation of $26.50 from then-RI President Arch Klumph, The Rotary Foundation (TRF) has provided more than $4 BILLION to support Rotary projects, created by clubs and districts, that have changed lives and saved lives around the world.

Donations to TRF are the “fuel” that power all these projects. Rated 4 Stars by Charity Navigator, TRF assures donors that their gifts will be used for the projects intended and that they will be completed on time and on budget. Donors can be confident that fellow Rotarians in charge of the project – “boots on the ground” wherever in the world it is – will make sure it happens. And TRF is remarkably efficient, with only 5-6% of funds donated used for administration or fundraising, compared to 20% to almost 50% by other organizations.

There are many ways to donate to TRF – and many ways that TRF recognized donors.


Giving on-line

Just go to and you can make your donation instantly, charging it to your credit card and allocating it to the fund or cause most important to you.

Giving by Check

The easiest way is to Google “Rotary, form 123”, and the contribution form will download as a PDF. Just print it, fill it out and mail it in with your check.

Consistent, Scheduled Giving

Just Google “Rotary Direct” and you can schedule your gift to be charged to your credit card monthly, quarterly or annually. Again, you can allocate your gifts to the fund or cause most important to you. This is the BEST way to make sure you are a donor to TRF each and every year: You can “Set it and forget it.” Of course, you can change or discontinue your donations at any time.

Special Request

Please consider allocating your donation(s) to Annual Fund-SHARE. Your gift will be invested and do good in the world for 3 years. After that, nearly 50% of your donation will come back to District 5160 as District Designated Funds. (The other part will go the World Fund for grants.) This is the primary source of funds for District and Global Grants given by the district to qualifying clubs at the beginning of each Rotary. (More about grants to follow…)

Paul Harris Fellow

For the first $1,000 in cumulative donations to TRF, the donor will be recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow (PHF), named in honor of Rotary’s founder and first president. For each additional $1,000, the donor will be recognized as a PHS+1, +2, etc., up to +8. (Recognition up to this level is given for a combination of cash and points. More about points to follow…) There is a specific lapel pin for each PHF level so that donors can recognized for their increasing levels of giving.

Major Donor

When a donor has contributed a total of $10,000 or more (cash only; points do not apply), they will be recognized as a Major Donor and receive a very distinctive diamond shape lapel pin or pendant. Additional Major Donor recognition is given when a donor reaches $25,000, $50,000 or $100,000 in cumulative giving. (At $250,000, a donor is welcomed to the Arch Klumph Society with a very special AKS pin. Please contact the District Rotary Foundation Chair for more info.)

Paul Harris Society

Donors who commit to donating $1,000 or more to TRF each year become members of the Paul Harris Society (PHS) in recognition of their sustained giving. Many donors become PHS members by giving $85 (or more) per month via Rotary Direct. To indicate your desire to make the commitment and join this group, just Google “Rotary, Paul Harris Society,” click, scroll down to “JOIN” and complete the form. PHS members receive a distinctive chevron-shaped attachment to be worn with their PHF or Major Donor pin. The more than 300 PHS members in District 5160 are responsible for more than 60% of TRF giving each year. Please join them!

Gifts of Appreciated Assets

While most donors write a check or charge their credit card to make a gift, some wise donors know that they can make an even more generous gift by donating appreciated assets, such as stock that has increased in share price since they bought it – and get a great charitable tax deduction. Here is an example:

Investor A bought 1000 shares of Company B for $10 per share 20 years ago. That stock is now worth $50 per share. They know that if they sell that stock, they will have to pay capital gains tax on $40 per share. Instead, they decide to donate 200 shares to TRF. Their cost basis is only $2000 but they will be able to claim a charitable income tax deduction for the full fair market value of the stock donated: $10,000. They become an instant Major Donor to TRF without affecting their cash flow while enjoying the deduction when they file their taxes next year. (Please consult your CPA or financial advisor for specific details about your personal situation.)

In some cases, appreciated assets can be donated to create a trust that provides income to the donor(s) for the rest of their life (lives) with the remaining value going to TRF after their passing. Please contact DRFC Mark Roberts for more info about this option and other Planned Giving opportunities.


Thanks to the generosity of donors to TRF from District 5160 in previous years, our district is able to make District and Global Grants from District Designated Funds returned by TRF to us each year. Here is how it works:

During the 2020-2021 Rotary year, donors contributed well over $600,000 to Annual Fund-SHARE. Those funds were invested for three years to cover the minimal overhead charges that TRF incurs. At the beginning of the 2023-2024 Rotary year, half of that amount went to the World Fund to be used to make grants to support Rotary club projects around the world. The other half came back to our district: 50% for District Grants – most of which went to clubs to support projects in their communities – and the other 50% to for Global Grants for projects that our clubs support around the world.

Donations to Annual Fund-SHARE are by far the largest source of District Designated Funds. (Some donors have made planned gifts to create an endowment which generates returns every year that also come to the district.) Please keep this in mind when you designate YOUR donations to TRF!

Clubs can apply for District Grants for the next Rotary year by submitting applications to the Grant Review Panel beginning on May 1. The application process is done through the Grants Module on DACdb. Please take the time to review that process in advance to become familiar with it.

To be eligible to apply for a grant for a project, a club must have at least one member participate in the District and Global Grant Seminar which will be conducted via Zoom on Saturday, January 27, 2024. Ideally, the club’s President-Elect and the project manager should participate in the seminar to familiarize themselves with the application process and the responsibilities they will assume if their club receives a grant.

If a club initiates an International Service project with a total budget of $30,000 or more, it can apply for a Global Grant through the district. Applications for these grants can be made at any time during the year.

For more info about the grant application process, please refer to the DACdb Grants Module or contact District Grants Manager Danie Schwartz:

For other questions about grants, please contact District Grant Review Panel Chair, PDG Jon Dwyer: