NOT AN OFFICAL ENTITY OF ROTARY INTERNATIONAL
RI response is posted below (I have added > marks to separate paragraphs). It is posted without comment as authorized by RI:
Positioning Rotary on the Global Stage
Rotary has recently received inquiries about our relationship with the Clinton Foundation and the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI). We wanted to answer those questions and provide additional insight into the approach Rotary is taking to connect with influential organizations that can help Rotary successfully achieve its goals — and promote the good work we do globally.
One of the three pillars of Rotary’s strategic plan is to enhance our public image and raise awareness and understanding of our organization, particularly with respect to polio eradication, our other humanitarian efforts, and Rotary’s many youth programs. This is particularly important since surveys of Rotarians consistently highlight our members’ concern that Rotary is not receiving the appropriate level of credit and recognition for the great work that we do.
As part of this effort, over the past few years we have initiated a wide range of activities, including expanded media outreach, a more engaging use of social media, organization of Rotary-sponsored events and conferences, preparation of public relations materials for use by Rotary clubs and Rotarians, and publication of articles and opinion pieces in leading U.S. and international media.
As an additional element of this broad-ranging plan, Rotary representatives take part in high-level meetings, conferences, and events organized by the United Nations, the Organization of American States, the World Economic Forum, CGI, UNICEF, the World Health Organization, and many other public and private foundations and entities around the world. Participation helps position Rotary in the international development community as a key influencer of the humanitarian agenda.
With respect to CGI: A recent story in an Internet publication listed The Rotary Foundation as a contributor to the Clinton Foundation. This is not correct. No Rotary Foundation funds have ever been contributed to the Clinton Foundation or to CGI. We alerted the publication of this mistake and the story has been corrected.
Rotary, as with every other major organization that participates, does pay an annual membership fee in order to attend CGI conferences. Since 2011 (over a four-year period), Rotary International has paid in total $54,000 in membership fees to CGI. The Board has considered these opportunities important to advance our mission. These membership fees form part of Rotary International’s budget, which is approved by the RI Finance Committee and the RI Board.
CGI is a nonpartisan initiative of the Clinton Foundation that convenes a series of conferences around the world to discuss and implement innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges, many of which Rotary is tackling. The Rotary International president and other senior Rotary leaders have participated in several CGI events since 2011. They have taken advantage of these events — and many others — as a very effective opportunity to establish relationships with potential corporate and foundation partners, as well as to promote Rotary and our causes.
The participants in CGI conferences and events include high-level government, business, and civil society leaders, who come from a wide variety of political, ideological, religious, ethnic, and geographic backgrounds. Other prominent nongovernmental organizations that have participated in CGI events include Lions International, Feed the Children, Habitat for Humanity, the Nature Conservancy, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and many others.
The connections and contacts made, and the exposure achieved at these events, help in no small measure in positioning Rotary. These activities also generate greater awareness among an influential audience of the scope of Rotary’s activities around the world and support for Rotary initiatives such as water and sanitation, peace, and polio eradication.
Outstanding Questions from Linkedin discussion on CGI:
§ Did the RI Board of Directors authorize these expenditures, or are these an initiative from the Secretariat?
Rotary participation in events such as CGI are part of a multi-year outreach strategy designed to enhance our public image and raise awareness and understanding of our organization, particularly with respect to polio eradication, our other humanitarian efforts and Rotary’s many youth programs. The budget supporting this outreach strategy is approved by the Rotary International Finance Committee as well as the Board of Directors as part of the review of the Rotary International annual budget.
§ Who are the senior leaders who have attended CGI meetings?
Rotary senior leaders who have attended CGI events include the RI President, Rotary Foundation Trustees and the General Secretary.
§ What measurable results have been achieved from RI attendance at these meetings?
Through attendance at CGI and similar events, Rotary has developed relationships with high-level contacts in the government, business and non-profit sectors. As part of this effort, Rotary has participated in more than 100 prearranged one-on-one meetings at these events. Such contacts provide significant public relations value and have raised Rotary’s profile in the international development community. At these events, Rotary senior leaders have participated in media interviews and as speakers in panel discussions. In addition, these events provide very effective opportunities to establish relationships with leaders and potential corporate and foundation partners. Meeting face-to-face with global leaders highlights what Rotary does and builds support for our causes, such as the effort to end polio, and ultimately helps Rotary clubs better serve their communities around the world.
§ Has RI applied for a complimentary membership to CGI similar to that offered by WEF? Please note that the CF FAQ page lists that such memberships are available on a competitive basis.
As part of the effort to reduce costs whenever possible, RI applied for complimentary membership in CGI. RI staff also spoke with senior CGI staff on this issue. Unfortunately, the application was not approved. In general, CGI does not extend complimentary memberships to larger organizations such as Rotary.
With what other organizations do we have similar relationships? And, how much does RI or TRF pay in membership fees or otherwise contribute to these organizations?
As part of the outreach strategy, Rotary participates in events sponsored by other similar organizations, such as the World Economic Forum, UNESCO, the Organization of American States and the United Nations. Generally, these organizations either do not charge for participation or waive participation fees for nonprofit organizations. Others, such as the Social Good Summit, can charge registration fees, although these are significantly less than the membership and registration fees charged by CGI. No Rotary Foundation funds have been contributed to CGI or any other public or private forum in which Rotary has participated.