San Cataldo, November 01, 2019
My dearest friends,
November is the month devoted to Rotary Foundation, the tool that allows our clubs and districts to promote humanitarian actions around the world. For years, the Foundation has received the maximum rating for the quality of its organization from Charity Navigator. Last year, it collected 414.7 million dollars, of which 131 for the annual Fund, 88 million for the endowment Fund, 157.7 for the ‘Polio Plus’ Fund and 37.6 for global Grants and other donations.
The pride for our Foundation is the Polio Plus program for which, last year, it invested 156 million dollars. Since 1985 we have helped immunize over 2.5 billion children, committing over 2,8 billion dollars. The Foundation also supports the training of peace scholarship holders in six ‘Rotary Peace Centers’, spending about 4 million dollars a year: since 2002, the scholarship holders have been 1,245, from over 120 countries.
Moreover, it spent 77 million for 1,306 global grants which financed international activities to support Rotary’s six areas of operation, among which humanitarian projects, scholarships and vocational training teams. Last year, district grants were 503 for a total of 27 million dollars.
After three years, half of our grants return to the District, in the form of district grant. This year, we have received over 128 thousand dollars, with which we have already financed a district grant with 19 projects, for about 73 thousand dollars and a global grant of 42 thousand dollars for literacy, in Pakistan (our contribution was 8 thousand dollars).
These numbers, alone, should make us understand the importance of continuing to support the Foundation not only with the contribution but, above all, by promoting humanitarian projects all over the world.
Only a few days ago, we celebrated the 7th World Polio Day, through various information and fund-raising events. The event promoted by the District took place in Palermo and saw a great participation of the Rotarians of western Sicily. Numerous other events were promoted by individual Clubs. A heartfelt thanks to the District Commission and sub-commissions, the area delegates, all the Clubs participating to these events, all the artists and scholars, who gave their time and professionalism.
In the past month, the president of Rotary International, Mark D. Maloney and many Rotary International leaders were in Catania, for the Institute. We hosted all the Governors of the Italian districts who visited and appreciated our land. Together with them, we visited the clinic of the Rotarian association ‘Health and Solidarity’ and were received by the mayor of Catania. In short, our Sicily has shown its best.
I had the honor of representing the Italian Governors at the award ceremony for the 58th edition of the ’Galileo Galilei International Award of the Italian Rotary Clubs’. A prestigious award that, this year, opens up to young researchers working in our District. The competition notice for the assignment of two scholarships is published on the District internet site.
I took part in the inauguration of a banner dedicated to the End polio now campaign, located in the Cefalù hospital, on the initiative of the Palermo Mediterranea Club and Cefalù – Parco delle Madonie Club.
I had the pleasure of visiting two important humanitarian projects in Malta: Dar Leopoldo, a home for the homeless, supported by the La Vallette Club, and the house for the disabled, Dar Il Kaptan, supported by the Malta Club. They are projects of great importance which demonstrate our clubs’ commitment in favor of ‘the last’.
Another major event was the ‘Blue Rotarian International Event’ in Mazara del Vallo. It involved the Clubs of the Drepanum Area with numerous initiatives, including a table tennis tournament for the disabled. Our Rotaract Clubs promoted an interesting and participated convention devoted to sustainable development. At the end of the four-day celebration, the traditional interreligious event dedicated to peace was held, with the participation of ministers of different religions, in piazza San Francesco, overlooked by the church of the same name and the mosque.
Particularly engaging and suggestive was the final moment during which I read the Rotarian invocation, in an atmosphere of great emotional participation that I will never forget. Many thanks to the Drepanum Clubs and, in particular, to the Mazara del Vallo Club for organizing this important event. That proves, once again, that our Rotary has a concrete commitment to Connect the World.
A warm hug.