NOT AN OFFICAL ENTITY OF ROTARY INTERNATIONAL

The Rotary Foundation launched Rotary Grants, Formerly known as the Future Vision Plan, on July 1, 2013.
We encourage all Rotarians to become educated on the new grant structure by using the available RI training materials augmented by the additional information provided on this website. If, after considering all of the facts, you wish to support our informational effort or provide other feedback, please click as appropriate. More importantly, please make your feelings known to your district leaders.

VOICES FROM THE ROTARY WORLD

Rotarians Matter Most invites feedback and may, with the writer's permission, publish selected comments on this page. We gladly accept and will privately respond to comments that disagree with our views, but wish to make clear that this page has been created to provide a voice for Rotarians who share our concerns about Rotary Grants (Future Vision). Comments may be submitted by clicking on any of our feedback links or via email to reply@rotarians-matter.org.  

For those who might wish to engage in open public debate, the Founders of Rotarians Matter Most are active on the Linked In forums and have created discussions in the Official Rotary International Group and the Paul Harris Fellow Group. We abide by group rules that prohibit personal attacks, but are happy to discuss issues that we raise on this website. 

Click Here To Discuss On Linked In   

In addition, we have established an open discussion in Yahoo Groups.

Click to join rotariansmattermost    Click to Discuss On Yahoo

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Editorial Policy: Comments will be selected for publication by our website editor based on whether their content clarifies a concern or objection we have identified, or raises a new concern that we agree should be listed on this forum.  The final decision on whether to post will be at the discretion of our website editor in consultation with senior members of the Rotarians Matter Most group. Rotarians Matter Most reserves the right to edit comments where deemed appropriate, however we will not purposely change the context of the writing nor the points made by the author. We may, from time to time, post editorial responses. In general, we will post by pasting directly from an email or feedback comment, and will usually modify font and paragraph structure. To ensure that the original context and intent of the author is maintained, we do not check for spelling and grammatical errors.  

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From Bill Phillips, Website Editor

In the interest of full disclosure, we are receiving occasional feedback that questions the motives of Rotarians Matter Most and whether we understand The Four Way Test. Some messages are signed, and many are not.  A common thread is that we do not understand Future Vision, or that we have intentionally distorted facts.  We question whether some of the responders have even taken the time to visit this website.  

Our group makes no pretense of neutrality on the FV issue, but we take issue with assertions that we are poorly informed or have less than honorable motives. We have tried to present factual evidence to support our arguments; and we have presented a Ten Step Plan to address our concerns.  Most of our evidence comes from RI publications.  Where we state opinions, we recognize that many will disagree; and we can respect that. We believe that honest people may have honest disagreements without calling the integrity or intelligence of the other party into question.  

We have received very little feedback that disputes the facts we present, and we have promptly entered corrections when cited.  We welcome such feedback, and will gladly correct any factual errors we may have posted. Please be specific.

What we HAVE received are numerous expressions of support, and even thanks for taking a public stand. 

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From: Alex Drougas, Past President, Past District 2484 Grant Subcommittee Chair, PHF X 2

I was the District Grant Subcommittee Chair for 3 years. Ours is a small District in Northern Greece (approxim. 35 Clubs 1000 Rotarians) and we had (and still do) very limited funds available. As a result, during those 3 years as a Pilot District we were able to realize ONLY 8 District Grants and one (1) Global. During the years before FV we averaged 10 Matching grants per year. Some drop, right!!! The District Foundation Committee Chairman and I travelled around the District visiting many clubs and speaking in PETS and other training seminars, but Rotarian reception on the new Grants was anything but enthusiastic as you probably realize from the numbers I gave you above. So, I have become disillusioned with the FV plan and I fear that OUR foundation is not OURS any longer or it's getting there. I have more concerns but they can wait for the near future.

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From: Ron Hogan, Loveland Colorado, District 5440

I'm right with you Bill. Rotary is not the same organization because of Future Vision.  It is looking more and more like the direction of our super liberal Federal government.  The original message I got about the goals of Future Vision was to move the grant process out of Evanston to the individual districts where the knowledge and action is.  The very opposite has happened and it appears that moving everything to Evanston is the goal of RI!

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From Bill Parker, PDG District 7670, Western North Carolina, (USA)

(Personal message to repeated here with his permission).

I just came home from my District Conference.  PDG Diane White was the RI President’s Representative for our conference.  She is from the Virgin Islands and is in Zone 34.  She spent time telling the Rotarians how great Future Vision was going to be.  It was the standard party line.  RI must provide talking points to the reps.

I wrote the attached but decided not to put it into the LinkedIn RI discussion string because it sounds negative and would generate a host of FV Supporters refuting my concerns.  I just wanted to send my concerns to someone who understands.

I also attended my club’s Board meeting today and it is obvious that my club Rotarians just do not understand the tsunami that is approaching.

My wife and I are both Paul Harris Society members ($1,000 annually to TRF), so we do have a dog in this fight, but I don’t see any willingness at the RI level to see that Future Vision is top down directives to a bottom up organization.

Our District Conference has as guest speakers, David Behring, Ken’s son and current CEO of the Wheelchair Foundation and the president of a college who was an Ambassadorial Scholar and wanted us all to know how that opportunity changed his life.  We also had our inbound and outbound GSE Teams to and from India telling us what a life-changing experience they were having!

It almost brings me to tears to see the scholarship and GSE programs facing extinction because RI “wants to play with the big boys”!

Well, enough rambling.   I love Rotarians but hate stupidity.

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From PDG Chris Pretorius, District 9400

I’m also interested in your discussions and should like to make helpful suggestions. There is a need for making Global Grants more user friendly to clubs in the light of the words Past RI President Bill Boyd used when he addressed us at the Assembly in 2006. His words were: Rotary only happens at club level; all other activities are in support of this. 

Kind Regards
PDG Chris Pretorius
District Governor Personal Representative 2012/13
Grants Sub-Committee Chair TRF9400
 

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From David L. Rosmer, District 7600

This is a great website that supports a great concept, i.e. that Rotary should be run the way Rotarians wish it to be run, as opposed to the hierarchy in Evanston.  The most glaring example of this to me, and to my colleagues who have cooperated to sponsor a large number of projects in the central Philippines since 1984, is that individual club/Rotarian participation has been eliminated or at least so far removed that it is unfelt.  Rotarians are told to write checks or donate money without any of the actual involvement of them in the projects to be supported.  Additionally, areas such as operations for harelip, cleft palate, cataract and other similar surgeries are dismissed by the Rotary hierarchy as mere "band aids!"  This is insulting to the Rotarians who sponsor the operations and denigrating to the ones who receive the benefit of Rotary care.  Cheers, DLR

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From Martin (Mac) McGee, RC of Galesburg (Ill, USA), District 6460

Yes, I am a supporter of rotarians-matter.org . 

At PETS we were told that the MOU had to be signed by both Club President and PE. But we had to get the details from our own district. That will happen in April for my district..

Lets say a club decides not to qualify, what are the ramifications? If they choose to send their donations to their club foundation to fund projects. I can see the decline in donations to TRF for APF..

Did we lose our Autonomous status or Sovereignty as a Rotary Club?

Will we see a resurgence in WCS (World Community Service) in direct funding of projects between sister-clubs and districts with no TRF participation?

P/S: I joined Rotary in The Philippines at RC Mabalacat, D379 in 1986. I know Dave Rosmer personally, we are from the same club in the Philippines. We have invested BST equity (Blood, Sweat and Tears) into Rotary.

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From: Andy Dunlop, District 1070, RC of Sleaford

I'm just a member, nothing special, that's been in 3 years. A committee member on fund raising. I knew nothing about this matter until my club sec told me of the "order" he received not to respond to any of your mails or bother with it. Which he immediately did, of course, and they then tried to tell him off. I'm incensed at the attempts to hide it and the waste of cash.

Thanks Andy!   While most District Governors appear willing to trust their clubs by allowing them to view our message and decide for themselves how they should respond; a small number, mostly in RIBI Districts, are attempting to censor our message.  Thank you for joining our group!--ED

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From Geraldine Sheridan, Patchogue, NY

As a member of the Rotary Club of Patchogue (NY) since 1987, perfect attendance, past president and present District Officer, I object heartily to the elimination of most of these worthy projects.  Is it that RI only wants our money as it may seem?  By the way, I am a Benefactor (albeit a small one) early on, so you can see that I truly care. Have 5 Paul Harris Fellowships and working on the 6th. Right now am a widow on a small pension but willing to continue to give about 60% of my free time to Rotary projects both local and international.

Geraldine M. Sheridan

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From David Pickering, District 9350

I'm a new -ish Rotarian and feel some of these changes have the potential to sideline small clubs. If we lose the multipliers, why do we need Rotary? Can do things on our own and contribute our club fees to our cause instead of to Rotary. Seem wealthy nations/clubs are completely out of touch with poor clubs and the needs of poor countries. Small schemes are desperately needed.

Also suggest the Gates foundation funding be used to educate everyone whose life is saved, don't claim the "feel good" and leave the rest to the poor countries which have no means to educate those "saved" lives, this helps no one. Take a look at Somalia. Each saved life faces a future of abject misery and should say "Thank you Rotary". For what ? Doing less than half the job is worse than doing nothing. Rotary should be known for finishing what it starts.

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From Sanjay Bhansali, District 3050 (3052 from July, 01, 2013)

The plan in a big way shall come in between Service to Community and the Indian Rotarians and Clubs. I strongly feel it should not be implemented in the Indian Sub Continent

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From: John Oliver, District 1140

These moves are disastrous for small clubs such as mine. We have already found the procedures for obtaining even a small Matching Grant to be Byzantine in the extreme and not something we have any incentive to repeat. The last one took over three years to accomplish.

I'm afraid that TRF now ranks very low in our fund-raising priorities.  Charity will begin at home in future!

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From: Guillermo Medina, District 4110

Poor pilot results, Districts pilots without grants, I am very worried about amounts and administration way

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From: Armando Fonseca Mendes, District 1960, Rotary Club da Portela

The district projects will have not enough financing funding. The needs are not located only on Asia and Africa. The funding funds will be spent mostly on image projects FV is concerned on, receive money FV is against the Rotary philosophy to make projects on Clubs local communities. 

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From: CHENG LIM, LIOH;
           Rotary Club Tampin District 3300 Malaysia

You have expressed truly how we felt in similar circumstances. Rotary Club Tampin District 3300 Malaysia has been carrying out projects utilizing Matching Grants funding for many years. With the implementation of Future Vision Plan, our club has now lost this source of funding that jeopardized our service to our community. 

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From: Jerry R. Moore, District 6960

In my 20 years of Rotary with Perfect Attendance from the day I joined my Rotary Club, I have been very Satisfied with Rotary International, but this FV program will Destroy over 50 percent of local Rotary Clubs.

Our club has 35 members of mostly working people, with the next few years, AMERICA is going Down along with the US Dollar and we do not need ROTARYInternational to go Down, also.   This new FV will be the worst mistake Rotary has ever made.  You will not have the membership to do what Rotary needs to continue being #1 in Service Clubs.  

SO SAD.

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From: Chris Ohly, District 1290

Too much centralization in Evanston, too little involvement of local clubs

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From: Glenn Stewart, District 7080

I was active in the past. But Future Vision has cause to loose interest in Rotary. The main reason is it is not club run but being run and controlled by RI and the DG are really puppets of RI.

The good thing we used to promote like GSE etc. are gone - why be a Rotarian after 40 years. 

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From Curtis Guilbot, District 5870

I'm concerned.  I'm new (again) to Rotary, after years away from it, raising a family and building my business. 

I have seen the same type of (often well-meaning) reorganization in organizations all over the world. NPOs must change with the times. Leaders must NOT lose touch with the core values of members.  When gatekeepers are incentivized to say "no" rather than "yes," they sap any motivation of volunteer members to participate.  Perhaps Boston Consulting Group, or KPMG told the leaders that such changes would make it easier to attract institutional funding, and the difference would outweigh contributions from districts.  What they miss are two key facts:  (1) in troubled economic times, institutional donors scale back, like everyone else.  It's better to have 500,000 small donors than one or two big ones. (2) Rotary's mission is not to attract top-heavy institutional donations, but to provide minimally viable structure and guidance for local MEMBERS who want to make a difference.  If the bureaucracy is too burdensome, members will disengage and direct their precious efforts towards

 local churches, PTAs, United Way organizations, or any number of other options. Rotary leadership would do well to remember that all service groups, like politics, are local. 

A side note about leadership traveling first class:

 I'm a consultant.  I travel regularly.  There is no such thing as "business class" flights anymore; they are all called "first class."  And they are far from luxurious.  But the seats are marginally bigger, and allow you to get work done, if need be on the flight, and arrive in a better mood, if not more well-rested.  I travel business class or first class (true first class premium seats are usually only available on flights of 2,000 miles or more). But I charge my clients for COACH.  I don't begrudge leaders traveling business class, but they should know better than to charge back their lifestyle choice to the Rotary organization.

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From Michael Tacke, District 9350

The backbone of the active membership are active professionals, which do have only limited time budgets available for Rotary Business. The new concept requires detailed time consuming training and long term dedication. This would exclude more than 90 % of our club members. Only large clubs could train and "cultivate" Future Vision. 

As a Rotary " Gypsy " with several years in Mexico and Africa I have not seen many clubs structured for the new Grant System. 

The other upcoming challenge is the administration capacity of the districts, which would require long term "employees" to be trained and able to handle long and mid term projects. 

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From Peter Dupen, PDG-District 9270

Dear Fellow Rotarians,

Thank you for conveying the thoughts of many Rotarians on 'Future Vision.  Attached is a letter sent by my Rotary Club, the Rotary Club of Hillcrest, near Durban, South Africa, to the involved Rotarians of our district 9270. It correlates many of factors raised on your website and your letter to club presidents. (Click Here to Read)

Yours in Rotary,

PDG Peter Dupen. 

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From: Binod Khaitan, District 3291, Past President of RC Central Calcutta, District Chair, DGSC, Assistant Governor, Coordinator, Advisor, Currently : Vice Chairman South Asia region of Rotary Leadership Institute.
Trustee Secretary of Eastern India Rotary Welfare Trust of RID 3291

May I draw your attention to a DVD and the efforts of RID 3290 uploaded on Utube ...
http://youtu.be/tS__L2JBTnQ
There are six case studies downloaded on Utube and are available for viewing - "Rotary Preventable Blindness - RID 3291"  Wish and hope TRF does NOT scuttle & kill ROTARIANS energies & efforts to further RI major program PREVENTABLE BLINDNESS.

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From Madhukar Malhotra PDG District 3080, DRFC 2013-16 

 

GSE is a wonderful program & has many benefits beyond the benefits to the team members, given below is an extract from Rotary Showcase, there are hundreds of such stories. GSE besides building understanding & goodwill and furthering the cause of Peace in this world also offers a rare opportunity to thousands of Rotary members around the world, maybe the only opportunity to engage with people from other countries.

The first person account below is copied from the Rotary International Facebook page & to think that GSE is being scrapped or curtailed in the Future Vision program, RI definately needs to rethink on this program: 

Group Study Exchange made me the Rotarian I am Posted on December 27, 2012

Ana Cáceres become a Rotarian thanks to taking part in a Group Study Exchange.

 

Ana Cáceres became a Rotarian after taking part in a Group Study Exchange.

By Ana Cáceres, a member of the Rotary Club of Autonomia, Argentina

 

Being part of a Group Study Exchange (GSE) team to District 5420 (Utah, USA) and District 7510 (parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, USA) provided me with the main ingredients I needed to become a Rotarian. More importantly, the experience shaped my life. 

On 15 March 2007, I began my exchange period in Utah. I knew enough English to communicate but adjusting from almost 40 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit)  in Santiago del Estero to the chilly American spring was rough!  Much was different — the food, customs, religion, schools, people. But the love shown by my host families in the Rotary clubs of Salt Lake City, West Jordan, Murray, Brigham City, Cache Valley Morning-Logan, Park City Sunrise, Sugar House, Moab, Richfield, Dixie Sunrise, St. George, Cedar City, Centerville-Farmington, and my beloved Ed, Edith, and Marcia from Princeton, New Jersey, helped me adjust. When I left for home, it was hardly the end of the GSE experience. As time went on, I realized how much I benefited from what I had experienced there: the ability to survive  cultural shock, new language and communication skills, and the ability to respect differences. 

This Group Study Exchange impacted me, and through my involvement in Rotary it has impacted the lives of many others. I am one of the 2,000 program alumni who have joined Rotary after trying this kind of scholarship.  I joined Rotary on 29 June that same year. I have served through many avenues in my club, taken part in district conferences and institutes, in community services projects, on many important works of translations, and it all goes back to my exchange. It has helped make me the kind of Rotarian I am.  On 1 November of this year, I was chosen as the team leader of a GSE going to Rotary District 7570 (parts of Tennessee and Virginia, USA).

Thanks Rotary. Thanks friends.

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From Mervyn Cole, President RC of Helderberg, District 9350

It seemed to me from the start that FV was not club driven but Accountant driven. A $15,000 grant may not do a lot in Chicago, ergo they want to get rid of such piddley amounts but it does a lot in Nomzamo or Kayalitsha out here in Cape Town.  

The kids on GSE got so much out of their trips, bit you cannot measure experience financially. 

I think that the 6 Areas of Focus are too restrictive and we will always be looking at ways to slot our projects that do not fit the criteria into the scheme: and some good projects will fall down because of it.  

Getting rid of the Ambassadorial Scholars and replacing them with a much more restrictive scheme may be poking ourselves in the eye, but I think now is too early to say.

Do I think FV a good idea? No, but I fear objectors may be doing too little too late to stop it. 

Accountants Rule, OK?

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From John Sobotincic, Cleveland Heights, Ohio

As president of a small and older club, 66 is the youngest member and we have 18 members, The Shaker Heights Rotary Club has been trying for 2 to 3 years to fund a project that would provide a 15 passenger van for an orphanage in Honduras. As FV came about the district in Honduras, Sorry but I don't have its number, was designated as a FV district and our district 6630 was not.  That prevented us from pursuing matching grant from TRF for the last 2 years, reading your materials it appears that this would be a waste of our time going forward. 

I have been in Rotary for over 22 years and have 3 PHF, 2 for me and one for my wife, and my desire was to have a meaningful say in how a grant is to be funded.  This looks like an impossibility, and the only vote any of us Rotarians has is with our wallet, and that may be what it takes! 

John Sobotincic
Cleveland Heights, Ohio 44118

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From: Bill Parker, District 7670, Past District Governor

Another area of concern is the Ambassadorial Scholarship.  Our District has observed a steady decrease in District Designated Funds (DDF) over the past six years.  It appears that the cause of this is due to the Polio Plus match requirements placed on our District by Rotary International.  Now, with less DDF, it is hard to fund scholarships out of our own monies at $26,000 per student.  I do not see a willingness in the future District Governors to continue Ambassadorial Scholarships.

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From: Gloria Nethercutt, District 3790, Past President, District Grants Chair, TRF Major Donor 

Our flagship project is Medical Surgical Program, dating back in 1986. We have a list of people to help; year after year, the list builds up. From matching grants with generous partners, we are able to save many lives. Now our club is worried that there is no more MG this coming year. Where do I get at least $16,000 contributions to get the minimum match of $15,000 from TRF? 

Our club is MG-savvy and a regular MG practitioner. For receiving that much, we make it a point to CONTRIBUTE reasonably well to the Foundation. Now, I do not know what we will be contributing for if we are not able to build MG under the FVP. To build goodwill and international understanding is not enough reason for our members to dip into their pockets and pay their hard earned dollars to TRF. 

There's got to be a practical reason why Rotarians give..... 
In our case, we give, because we are able to participate in the ideology of service that Rotary stands for. If we can not participate anymore because Rotary makes it hard for us to do so.....then why should we give?????

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From Bashir Khanbhai, District 1120, PP RC of Sevenoaks

Dear Fellow Rotarians,

I am sending you this email in my personal capacity and not in my capacity as PP and current chairman of Community Service & Youth Committee of the Rotary Club of Sevenoaks.

I tried my best (in my year of Presidency 2011/12) to use the facilities offered under FV to apply for and secure matching grants for helping orphans access water in their schools in Africa. Our Club is in a pilot district and so is the overseas club who are our co-sponsors.

The complexity of the FV system, the unnecessary bureaucracy and central control of District and RI did not enable me to progress despite our ability to raise sufficient funds to realise the project.

The monopoly of authority for decision making vested in District and RI discourage and even disable Rotary clubs from doing significant charitable work overseas that they can and should do.

The layers of bureaucracy at District, RIBI and RI continue to waste money in a way that would be considered quite unacceptable by the public whogive generously to Rotary worldwide.

Bashir Khanbhai

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From Ken Barnard, District 9750

I need more information , however , the concerns need to be addressed, and quickly.

Change has to be implemented in a way that addresses a need for change , and the change agents need to be mindful of inclusion , winning the hearts and minds of the worker ,and not be a changer for the sake of change, or, to change as an exercise of power newly acquired .

I am concerned that the Future Vision changes have not addressed the above points

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From: Brian Hickey --You should stay around.   
They implemented the plan in our district and it dramatically changes the way we conduct international service projects. We’re a small club of 49 members, but each year we attempt to directly sponsor an international project.  Typically we fund at least $10,000 (at the club level) and through the magic of matching grants we would end up with a project with a value of $25,000.  Under the new system our $10,000. contribution would now only be large enough to attract matching grants at the District level with a maximum of $5,000. So Future Vision has meant to us that our projects have been reduced in size by 40%, and quite frankly that doesn’t feel like a win!
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From: From Bill Mills, Grahamstown, D9370, South Africa. 

Personal experience from 14 busy, committed and happy years of funding needy organisations with Matching Grant money from generous overseas partners has confirmed the disastrous impact that the FV rules are having on smaller clubs and on seriously disadvantaged communities, incapable of sustaining many planned new projects at the future replacement/repair stage. 

 I have viewed with dismay the practical effect of the FV rules. I have prepared a 7-page "barrack-room-gripe" and have sent copies to TRF CEO and gave a copy to President Lee during his recent visit to us over Easter.  What good it will have, only Heaven knows. All I can say is that it is seriously cutting down our ability to assist, and has "turned off" the interest in Rotary of our various Project Leaders. Some are questioning the veracity of Rotary's claim to care about the defenseless and disadvantaged and poverty-stricken people, certainly in our District. 

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From: J Armando Jeronymo
RC Botucatu-Norte, D4310, Brazil
 
I visited your website and was very impressed and worried with what I read and as the current year's TRF committee chairman I'll be taking it to my club as a complement to RI/TRF official information.
Also, I privately discussed the matter with senior members of my club who seems to share your view that the current TRF policies can lead to clubs losing interest in them.
Please add my email address to your distribution list and let me know if I can help in making your position heard and let fellow Rotarians make better informed decisions and stances regarding what at least for the time being still is OUR foundation.
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From: Rick Vaughan, District 6980
I am not sure why this has not been more clearly explained on the club level by our district governor during his annual visit to see us. I feel this is being slipped under the radar.  This type of activity has me questioning my role in Rotary.
 
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From Bill Parker, PDG District 7670, Western North Carolina, (USA)

(Posted on the Linked In Forum and repeated here with his permission).

All, 

I am the source of the information that the Rotary Foundation may apply the six areas of focus onto District Grants as well as Global Grants. This was stated by Sally Platt to my District Presidents Elect and Foundation Chairs during the second Grants Management Seminar. 

I have been telling everyone that the clubs decide what projects they will do and District, Zone, and RI support the clubs. If the Rotary Foundation applies the six areas of focus to the District Grants, this means that Non-Global Grant Scholarships, Group Study Exchanges, and Club small projects would have to use this yardstick against everything that they would do involving TRF funding. This, if true, significantly increases the role of TRF onto controlling everything that the clubs do. 

Why would any club not create its own 501 (c) (3) (in the United States) or other club foundation, and then use 100 % of the member's donations to do anything without restrictions?? This would make TRF irrelevant. 

Until now, I have tried to remain silent and give Future Vision a chance to succeed, but if there are plans for TRF to reach down to the lowest level of club activities, this is a call to arms. 

Joe Brownlee, is forcing District Grants under the six areas of focus a future TRFplan or is Sally Platt in error??? 

Bill Parker
Immediate Past District Governor
Multiple Paul Harris Donor 

Joe Brownlee has responded with an emphatic NO to Bill's question--ED

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From Ivar Schacke, RC of San Miguel de Allende-Midday, Mexico, District 4160

San Miguel de Allende 2013-02-22

Introduction

Our club i.e. Club Rotario del Medio Dia A.C. in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, has received a mail from a group of  distinguished Rotarians expressing concern about the plan of The Rotary Foundation (TRF) to roll out on July 1st 2013 its Future Vision Plan. The mail contained a list of 5 specific concerns and a list of 10 steps to fix Future Vision. 

Our club has carefully read the two lists and below expressed its opinion on the 10 steps suggested to be taken by TRF.

Response to the ten steps

1. Reason for embarking on Future Vision--In light of full transparency by Rotary we support the suggestion that TRF and RI should explain the compelling reasons for implementing Future Vision

2. Postponement for 1 or 2 years before implementing Future Vision--While we agree that several procedures of Future Vision may need to be revised in light of experiences gained from the pilot Districts and clubs (we are a pilot club) we are of the opinion that such revisions will be necessary from time to time. However, we do not feel it to be a good idea to postpone the full implementation of Future Vision due to expected revisions, but we would expect TRF before July 1st to undertake any revision found necessary by pilot clubs/districts, c.f number 5 and 6 below. Should TRF decide not to react to the ten steps it may very well be necessary to postpone implementation.

3. Traditional matching grants--We support the suggested “grandfathering” of existing projects. However, we suggest that such assistance be only granted for 1 year.

4. Group Study Exchange--We do not have any experience with this program and thus can not comment.

5. Project sustainability--We feel that the term sustainability be much more precisely defined. Actually we suggest the word sustainability to be deleted and replaced with a better and reality description of what Rotary projects should seek to ensure for the longer term use of the project. It may for example be  explaining how to replace or fix or maintain a piece of equipment. No one can seriously ensure sustainability of any project.

6. Demonstrated Impact--This again is a term that may for many projects be extremely difficult to fully describe. It may require substantial work which does not have much influence on a project. We support that this term be withdrawn from the requirements.

7. Funding gap--We would like to know how many projects and how much money (both %-wise) of projects by non-pilot clubs over the last 3 years have been above 30.000 USD. Likewise it may be useful to know the same numbers for projects in the “gap”. If many projects have been within the gap it should be considered to lower the minimum sum for global projects to e.g. 20.000 USD as suggested or allow a greater part of DDF to match global grants.

8. District grants--We have serious concerns regarding the size of DDF and the % that may be used for grants. Referring to number 7 above it may be a good idea to follow the recommendations of the 10 steps. We may suggest this to be done gradually over a 3 years period to gain experience with district grant projects.

9. MoU requirements--We support the recommendations of the 10 steps.

10. Remove clubs from Future Vision--We can not support this recommendation. We feel this would undermine the entire idea of change of the way TRF is supporting clubs. 

Other comments

Our club has undertaken 2 global grant projects during our time as pilot club. We want to stress that we have had no problems dealing with the new system and we generally support the idea of smaller projects being finance via the district. This being said we strongly support the comments made above. We expect TRF to listen and to react very soon to the concerns raised, in order to clarify the majority of the concerns before July 1st. If TRF chooses not to react, the consequences may be very serious as clubs and members may find it difficult to support TRF.

We wish our commitment to TRF to flourish and our projects to be rewarding and fun to plan and execute.

San Miguel de Allende, Gto, Mexico

February 22, 2013

Club Rotario del Medio Dia A.C.

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From PDG John Satchel and PP Lesley Satchel,
                                                Knysna Rotary Club D9350

We have looked at the document What are your thoughts on Future Vision? and the www. Rotarians-Matter.org and have some thoughts to add.

In the first place, and VERY important in our opinion, is the personal and unique nature of every Rotary Club. Rotary International does all its humanitarian work through the clubs and they are the workplaces of all projects and fellowship throughout the world. We have attended meetings in many Districts and many countries, and every single Rotary Club is unique.  The members are a specific group of people who are focused and work well together, the club has its own atmosphere, formal or less formal, and each town has needs and requirements different from other areas. One seldom sees city clubs with hands-on connections with the wider community that clubs in rural areas have.  Each geographical area also has unique needs.  Developing countries also have very specific needs within quite small spaces.  It would be counter-productive to throw all the needs together in the hope that something better would emerge, it would not!  Global Grants would be much larger, much less personal to each club, and one would struggle to get Rotarians to feel involved in projects that do not “speak” to them.................

 (Click Here To Read The Entire Message).

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From: Gwenn van Schalkwyk, President, Letaba Rotary Club 

The Matching Grant Process made it possible for CLUBS to become ROTARY RELATIVES in working together making friends and becoming FAMILY to the extend that visits was organised and many friendships caused an INTERNATIONAL relationship 

FUTURE VISION  Projects is going to KILL ROTARY as the purpose for feeling the warmth of the FAMILY of ROTARY has now changed to raising your own funding to making a project work as the long chain of compliance is tiring and is going to make ROTARIANS join other service organizations as making the wishes for good projects real, stays a wish list.

I don’t see a positive future for the FUTURE VISION PROJECTS.  

The GROUP STUDY EXCHANGE to my opinion, and we hosted many GSE visitors, I could never understand, it was to meet visitors with influence from other countries to make friendships for possible sponsors for projects.   WE NEVER HAD ANY MEMBER OF ANY GSE TEAM who made any effort even to communicate with us or any member of our club…. 

VOLUNTEERS on he other hand, was the most marvelous people and till today we still have contact and still receive funding from their clubs as they were visitors to our communities and accertained the need and therefore will always assist with help.  Would love to get a MEDICAL TEAM to visit our rural areas in a VOLUNTEER project and if RI can assist with the Travel cost, we will do the hosting… and make real Rotary friends.

Best regards

Gwenn van Schalkwyk

PRESIDENT   LETABA ROTARY CLUB 

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From David Marshall, Brits/Hartbeespoort Rotary Club, District 9400

To whom it may concern,

We would appreciate if you could list the unanimous support from the entire membership of the Brits/Hartbeespoort Rotary Club (Club No. 17306), now in the combined District 9400, regarding your position on Future Vision. We have been part of a pilot district and the experience has been precisely as you have described in your letter and it has seriously curtailed our active engagement with international clubs in raising matching grants and supporting smaller more intimate projects which are so necessary in our communities.

We have raised our concerns with our current District Governor, Martin Forsyth-Thompson at our annual review and feel that you should carry the full support from our entire club in trying to get through to the RI Board to reconsider their decision to implement FV. We objected to the proposal of becoming a pilot district but we were clearly in the minority, or we were over ruled by District Officers at the time who choose to include us in the pilot program.
 
Your continued progress on your attempts to get through to those at the highest levels would be appreciated.

Regards,

David Marshall-Secretary
Alice Meyer   -President

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From: Daniel Counio, PP RC of Athenes Elysee, District 2470

I strongly believe in the Matching Grants , The Ambassador Scholarship and of course in the small or bigger  project that can be Handlle by a club or clubs . We ,Rotarian are simple people,everyday people  but that only care a bit more . We should always have the freedom to choose our Objective and where to make our action . This Freedom must be therefore flexible  and it is a must for our club The centralisation of the power to decide, could be seen has a very dangerous path  that may provoque disapointment and a vast protest worldwide . Very Cordially  Daniel  COUNIO  Greece Past President Rotary Club Athenes Elysee

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From Linda Benton: Herrin, IL

It sounds to me like the Rotary name is all we will be left with.  If this is true, then I see no point in contributions for every Rotarian Every Year to continue.  

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From Linda Mottram, District 1210

My club has voted with it's feet and will not be supporting foundation. We are small and did not feel able to sign the MOU. We decided that we prefer to support our own local projects and to continue to support our own International initiatives eg we pay school fees for an orphanage in Malawi where our own members have been working. The loss of GSE will be very short sighted, I have actively supported this programme for the last 20 years by hosting incoming teams to the UK and this has resulted in many long term friendships. My husband was a team leader to Brazil and the experience encouraged him to work overseas, team members from that team in 1993 are still friends and all of them found it a life changing experience, one is now the owner of an IT business, another a senior executive in local government and another a Company Director - all have families and regularly devote time to charitable fundraising and have been rotarians. I have also mentored Ambassadorial Scholars at our local university and have seen them blossom and go out all over the world in senior posts ....many feel that their first international experience through Rotary has been invaluable. Where will such experiences now take place???

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From:  Bob Griffiths, District 1100

The potential loss of worthwhile exchange programmes, and the limitation on grants and their use add to my long held concerns that Rotary is becoming a corporation driven from the 'top', which is the exact opposite of how it was conceived and contrary to the ethos of Rotary as I know it (Rotarian for 33 years).

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From David Biggs, District 1220

The revised levels are too high for smaller clubs to contemplate TRF grants - as the Germans say "If the sausage is too high, the dog doesn't jump" In my view the rational choice now is for clubs to directly support projects using 100% of their own funds rather than donating to TRF.

I would hope that this group will go on to look at the operating costs of TRF and expense levels associated with it. Having initiated the COL motion to end RI & TRF expensed First Class air travel to highlight this I remain concerned that TRF (&RI) financial reports indicate levels of cost that seem excessive.  No one in our district can actually explain TRF finances which only adds to the concern. 

I hope that our COL motion is strongly supported.

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From Drake Zimmerman, District 6490, Major Donor level 2, Past District Foundation Chair,  Co Founder Rotarians Action Group on Malaria and Alliance for Malaria Prevention 1996 Rotarian of the Year, Hall of Honor and other District and Club level, Community and Regional awards; Chartered Financial Analyst, Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy, Juris Doctor

My concern is that this group does not USE THE OUTRAGE as an OPPORTUNITY TO SHAPE ROTARY FOR THE FUTURE. 

Key is to USE THIS OPPORTUNITY (another word for 'problem', in caps) to reform Rotary Programs. 

ONE DRIVER: MONEY(Boomers are not going to tolerate the current ways to give to TRF. Reform DDF and a few new campaigns could attract billions from donors globally, positioning TRF as THE PLACE TO GIVE SERIOUS MONEY and MAKE GREAT THINGS HAPPEN. There is more money goign to charities than ever before. The big donors are CRYING OUT FOR A Rotary that is FUNCTIONAL. The messages are unique - give with US, with OUR money, multiplied by OUR VOLUNTEERS connected to the WORLD's GREATEST ORGANIZATIONS, (with others paying overhead) Compare Buffett's gift to the Gates Foundation - TRF as the 'people's version of the Gates Foundation' with an ESSENTIAL DIFFERENCE: We ROTARIANS also have our own Volunteers - by the tens of thousands- locals working to CUT EXPENSES and GET MORE DONE, because it is THEIR - it is OUR MONEY, being used, too. 


An organization may need a real crisis to come up with some change.  We ROTARIANS have an unparalleled OPPORTUNITY to PLAY ESSENTIAL ROLES on the WORLD STAGE. We can make massive, gigantically good things happen, and happen quickly, given half the chance. 


THE BEST THING: Most of the rest of the World has NO IDEA that Rotary internally has done such stupid stuff. (those who do are in organizations that have done, gee, DO MUCH STUPIDER STUFF and usually much more publicly.

 
COUNT OUR BLESSINGS that FV got tangled in its underwear without doing too much damage. 


WE CAN PULL THIS OUT and few outside the organization will be the wiser. those that do know us are uninformed and think of us as our Grandfather's Rotary, nice, mostly ineffectual, well intentioned bunch of older men who are not that well informed. OK, who can argue against that effectively? 


Rotary is 'retro' - another word for 'ripe' - in so many ways, seriously in need of revamping. 


The OPPORTUNITIES are:
1. To build LOCAL AND GLOBAL efforts based on Rotary's many STRENGTHS
2. To Articulate BIG VISIONS for Global Campaigns: universal safe water/sanitation, Education for all, etc, plus solve some relatively smaller problems like wheelchairs for all, Prosthetic limbs for all, micronutrients for all, solve 'avoidable blindness', to name a few. NOT that Rotary would take them on as "Corporate Causes" 
3. To USE ROTARIANS'UNIQUE STRENGTHS in KEY ROLES: Rotarians would provide the VISION, the CONNECTIONS, the FORUM to Convene solutions that CONNECT THE PARTNERS, Create Common MAPS - GIS MAPS, LITERALLY, as part of the SOLUTIONS
4. ESTABLISH/Expand The Rotary Foundation as a CONDUIT FOR CONTRIBUTIONS to these many causes. (Polio Contributions were handled this way, so there is precedent for those who cannot abide change.) 
5. To TRANSITION RI and TRF to new, responsive systems to a new generation. 


We BOOMERS are NOT GOING TO ABIDE by these systems - like 'let's wait 3 years before we get HALF our money back'. Wow, a great gig if you can get it, AND who is going to give TRF any serious money with that extended time frame. 

I could give you serious detail that would look like 'venting'. I'd rather stick with humor. With FV they stepped in a pothole that used to be a latrine hole, deep, fertile, ripe and rich. "SWIM FOR LIFE!" should be their battlecry.  Future Vision is almost entertaining to watch happen, like the slapstick proverbial misstep into a latrine pit. 

Shall we get them a ladder? When? 

It started by destroying longstanding working relationships built among clubs and districts that were often functional. It then took a bunch of buzzwords like 'sustainability' and misapplied them in ways that made them worse than useless. They grafted it onto the surreally complex system of DDF and then in several STROKES OF GENIUS: changed the rules, changed them again, keep telling people that the rules are not final, and stripped out several popular programs without replacements. Wicked!  Machiavelli would be proud, but the people directing the circus seem NOT to have mucked it up intentionally. They appear to have very little clue, let alone competence. Listening is the least of their skills. They ignored lots of advice and counsel they DID GET from people who had done lots of grants, have clear understanding of the terms they are abusing and might still (talk about surreal- you couldn't hallucinate this:) be willing to help get them out of the muck. Rotarians are nice. Do not mistake that for not seeing how deep that former latrine pit is that they have stepped into. 

This FV FIASCO COULD BE the BEST THING THAT EVER HAPPENED TO ROTARY. 

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Letter to District 5890 Governor Ed Charlesworth from Stephenie Coleman, daughter of RMM Founder Steve Coleman

Dear Mr. Charlesworth:

My name is Stephenie Coleman and I am a 2nd year veterinary student at Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine. My father has been a Rotarian and involved with the International Group Study Exchange for as long as I can remember. 

It deeply saddens me to learn that the Rotary Foundation will be eliminating GSE from Rotary. My sister and I were raised with this program and we have hosted many different guests from many different countries throughout the years since I was a young child. I can comfortably say that the experiences gained through the GSE program have played a part in molding my sister and me into well rounded young American adults.

The first GSE my family hosted was an experience I will never forget. Ms. Martina, as my sister and I called her, was from the Czech Republic and she was part of the first GSE group to come to the U.S. after the fall of the Berlin Wall. I did not understand the impact of this visit when I was a child but looking back she was a wonderful ambassador for her country and did a great job helping us understand the culture and people of Eastern Europe. Although it was only one person and one family she forged relationships that were representative of bonds between countries on a global scale. I have such fond memories of her time with us and to think that families of Rotarians with young children will no longer be able to have experiences like these is truly disappointing.

As I have gotten older and have more knowledge about my state and country I have come to appreciate the times with GSE even more. It is, of course, good and necessary to learn about other countries and how other people live and work. These types of lessons are invaluable and help us open our minds to the possibilities that things can be different and people can be different but still important to the wholeness of the Earth. GSE teaches us much more about our own country, and through my experiences I have become a better American citizen and have more pride in my culture and heritage.

I have discussed with my parents which country and culture my family comes from. Are we German heritage? Are we English? I came to a conclusion that our heritage is Texan and American. GSE has taught me so much about my country and my culture and how important it is to my own life. I am only 22 years old and I feel that through this program, I have learned so many more valuable lessons about myself and my country than are available to other young adults. Now, more than ever, the American people and American Rotarians need something to reinforce our love and pride for our country and what better way than using the opportunity that GSE provides to teach and show our culture to people ffom around the world.

Last year my family hosted a GSE from Brazil. I was away at college and not able to get to know the group, but I was able to attend the going away party. Although I only met the Brazilians the night before they left, I am still in contact with them over a year later and truly feel that I have a group of friends in Brazil. These friendships would have never been possible without GSE and Rotary.

To conclude, the loss of GSE is truthfully a tragedy for Rotary International. For the past 20 years experiences with GSE have shaped me into an American citizen with an international mind and the point of view that I am a small part of a big world with lots of different people. To think that other families throughout Rotary all over the world will no longer be able to experience this and learn these lessons about themselves and others is heartbreaking and sizeable loss to Rotary.

Sincerely,

Stephenie M. Coleman

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From: Eugenia Echeverria, District 4240, Past Assistant Governor, GSE Team Leader (2006),

Hello Francis, I watched the video (on the merits of learning by listening-ed) and I think there is a lot of truth in it. The question is: Has the Rotary Board really listened to what is really needed. Do the Clubs really want to do bigger projects? Is the community asking for bigger projects? Do the Clubs want to do sustainable projects that imply long term commitments? How (are these long term projects-ed) going to be implemented when the membership is less than 25 members and out of those only 10 members or less really work? Is that going to be sustainable or is it going to make a Rotary Club get involved in less projects because they do not have the capacity to handle them.


Most of the clubs in USA have strong memberships but in our part of the world (Central America) most of the clubs have less than 30 members because its very expensive to belong to a Rotary Club, and there is also time limitations, when most of the people can not decide on their own schedules because they are employees that can not take time out of their work schedules to visit a project. Young generations can not afford the costs and time commitment to join a Club and they are the ones with the energy and ambition to commit to long term projects. When the average age of a membership is more than 55 years old; are those members willing to do long term projects?


I think that MGs were easy enough to do the way they were. The average for a MG was between 15.000 to 20.000 and they were very effective and fast enough, most of them take less than a year to accomplish but all that is going to change.  R.I. has stated that following MG's getting closed properly is a struggle for them because it implies a lot of time and money and is one of the reason they want to change the program. So now instead, the Club will have to do all that, great for headquarters but I believe is not great for the Clubs because Clubs does not have the economic nor the human resources to do it.


Well that is just my humble opinion and as I said I hope I am proved wrong sooner than later but I believed they have not listened hard enough!

Eugenia

Thanks Eugenia!   We thought of this when we saw your post-ed.

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