The answer is quite simple, The Rotary Foundation is promoting the advantages of Future Vision while avoiding discussion of its disadvantages. This is expected and in fact quite proper, it's called salesmanship. In the political arena, and even in the business world, the vetting of such programs and discussion of alternative viewpoints is the job of an independent press, an opposition party, or a business competitor. As an institution Rotary has none of these, therefore Rotarians Matter Most is attempting to fill the role.
As individuals, our attention was drawn when we discovered that TRF is discontinuing or severely curtailing support for programs in which we have become personally committed. Individually and collectively, we have devoted much time to considering how we can work within FV guidelines and still maintain our programs. While studying the printed and electronic literature, e-training modules, and discussing Future Vision with knowledgeable Rotarians (including members of the FV Staff), we have discovered troubling issues that extend well beyond our personal priorities.
One of our main concerns is the general lack of awareness by the vast majority of Rotarians about how Future Vision will affect their efforts to practice "Service Above Self". We recognize that RI and TRF have published many articles and are currently organizing training sessions at the District Level. Nevertheless, the implementation of the Future Vision Program is going largely unnoticed. We believe it is time for a wake up call.
We have frequently been asked in public forums and in private conversations to Give Future Vision a Chance. We submit that we are simply providing a level of scrutiny similar to that applied to projects that apply for Global Grant funding. Therefore, Rotarians who have had their applications returned or denied for some nitty-gritty detail could make the same request--"Give Our Project a Chance".
We believe that we are not only giving Future Vision a chance, but are working to ensure its ultimate success. By encouraging discussion on areas that we have identified as potential problems, we are providing an alternative view that may have been missed by those who created the vision. The view from outside of a fishbowl is different than the view from within; and the view from the top is substantially different than the view from the bottom.
More importantly we are encouraging Districts, Clubs, and individual Rotarians to think about how they might deal with the practical implications of Future Vision. For those who believe this to be an inappropriate activity for a group of independent Rotarians, we ask you to imagine and carefully consider how you would respond in the situations listed at the right.
You are standing at a busy intersection in a large city. A person in unusual dress walks past you into heavy oncoming traffic. There is little chance that he will make it across without being seriously injured, or at least causing an accident. You conclude that this person is probably a foreign visitor who does not understand the "DON'T WALK" sign, and doesn't realize that he is in immediate danger. You can reach out and pull him to the curb, or you can give him a chance to find out for himself. Do you grab the person and risk being mistaken for a thief or hooligan, or do you give him a chance to gain first hand experience with your local hospital emergency room?
You are the parent of a teenage girl who is running with a bad crowd. She is experimenting with drugs, and doing who knows what else. You know about the inherent dangers; but your daughter is rebellious, strong willed, and insists on following an unwise path. You can intervene or you can give her a chance to learn the consequences for herself. Do you intervene knowing that she will see you as an over protective parent who is unwilling to embrace new ideas; or do you try to maintain family harmony, hope for the best, and give her a chance to grow out of it on her own?
You own a cattle farm on the outskirts of a large city. On that farm is a small green space where your cattle graze. Due to certain "deposits" left by the cattle, it is a very lush and attractive spot. A school group arrives for a pre-arranged field trip. The teacher has informed you that many of the children have never seen a farm, and that this will be a great learning experience. At the conclusion of the tour, the teacher asks if they may play for a little bit in the "nice green field". Because the area is used by cattle, you know (from experience) that there are places that they should not step. You can tell the group what to look for so they might avoid the pitfalls, or you can give them a chance to find out for themselves. Do you warn the group and risk being perceived as a cranky old man who wants to spoil their outing, or do you remain quiet and give them a chance to gain hands on experience with one of the inconvenient aspects of raising livestock?
You are a Rotarian with many years of experience. During that time, you have invested heavily in The Rotary Foundation and you have seen the good it has done. You see that your foundation is implementing a vision that is turning away from programs that have contributed to that good. You have been personally committed to one or more of those programs. In many respects, they define you as a Rotarian. You can raise objections and try to save those programs, or you can remain quiet, simply withdraw your financial support, and even consider leaving Rotary. Do you voice your objections and risk being demonized for opposing change, or do you sit back and remain quiet in the name of giving the program a chance?
The founders of Rotarians Matter Most are sincere in our belief that Future Vision is a flawed program that needs modification sooner rather than later. While the demonization from an organization we love has been hard to endure, it was not unexpected. We are prepared to continue our effort, and we invite those who share our passion for the ideals of Rotary and concerns about the direction of The Rotary Foundation to join us.