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.

CONCERNS AND OBJECTIONS
As with any large program, Rotary Grants (Future Vision) is not perfect. There seems to be broad agreement on this fact, and TRF has consistently promised to address problems as they arise. In this spirit, we are listing the specific concerns and objections we have developed from a careful study of the program and its implementation. We believe these concerns should be addressed sooner rather than later, and provide a Ten Step Plan for how these may be addressed.  We believe that when it comes to setting the direction and making decisions on which programs will be funded, the policy makers and staff of Our Foundation should always be mindful that field experience, preferences, and input of Rotarians Matters Most.

1. The disenfranchisement of Rotarians during implementation and especially during testing conducted under the Future Vision Pilot. We believe that Future Vision signals a shift from RI's traditional emphasis on autonomously operating clubs. We see this shift as a movement away from the inward focus and bottom up emphasis that many Rotarians have known and financially supported for decades. We also believe that limiting support to large high impact projects will force a shift away from mid-sized projects that can be managed and are historically preferred by individual clubs. This will lead to fewer Rotarians being able to practice significant "Boots on the Ground" service, thus disenfranchising the very Rotarians who have been "Doing Good In The World".

We believe that The Rotary Foundation will no longer be perceived as "Our Foundation", but will instead be seen as just another large impersonal charity that is asking for financial contributions. We are concerned that a significant number of Rotarians who have provided long term, significant support for The Rotary Foundation will withdraw or curtail their support. 

Most disturbing of all is the very real possibility that the most affluent and administratively capable districts could eventually decide to bypass TRF by forming their own foundations.  The business case for this will become even stronger in 2015 when a 5% administrative fee will be assessed on Rotarian and non-Rotarian contributions. 

 

It is often said that the Future Vision Train is leaving the Station and that Rotarians can either get on board or be left behind!

Does Our Foundation Really Want To Risk Leaving Many Of Its Active Supporters on the Platform?

2. The lack of two way communication during the implementation and especially during the testing conducted under the Future Vision Pilot.

We were informed by a Zone Representative that the Future Vision Implementation Team solicited input only from DG's, and DRFC's representing volunteer Pilot Districts. These individuals publicly committed to supporting the program, and therefore cannot be considered impartial observers. There was little or no direct input requested or accepted from Clubs. Survey results from the linked in forums show that one in three Rotarians have concerns about the program; and TRF itself reported immediately prior to launch that 48% of leaders from non-pilot districts felt they were insufficiently trained or would find it difficult to implement the program's sustainability elements in their districts. We believe that efforts to describe drawbacks to the program as opportunities for Rotarians to "embrace change", "think out of the box", or "pool resources" are disingenuous attempts to apply positive spin to a flawed program. Quite frankly, we know of nothing in the rules governing the now defunct traditional model that would have prevented clubs from practicing these same techniques.  The difference under Future Vision is that they are now COMPELLED to do so.

We have received multiple reports that Rotarians expressing disagreement with aspects of Future Vision have been asked to remain silent. This is certainly the case for the founders of our group. A limited number of District Governors, especially in RIBI, even demanded that our group refrain from presenting our views or encouraging clubs in their district to make their opinions known. Nevertheless, many Rotarians have courageously chosen to post their concerns on this website. Click here to view.

3.  The elimination of logistical support for the popular Group Study Exchange (GSE) program. For many Rotarians, GSE is their first and only direct exposure to the international aspect of Rotary. We believe that this program has been a major factor in enabling Rotarians to identify humanitarian needs and make contacts needed to develop successful humanitarian projects. We believe that GSE is an important tool for Rotary to introduce itself to young professionals, the very demographic we are trying to attract. We know of several cases where clubs have lost members and districts have lost TRF contributions on the prospect of losing GSE. We believe that without logistical support from TRF, the districts will have great difficulty in finding partner districts with whom to exchange, and that exchanges with districts with low DDF will have to be funded from both ends by more affluent districts. 

We cannot see how GSE can survive in such an environment, and believe that this popular and worthwhile program will die a slow and agonizing death. We therefore fully support the efforts of the SaveGSE movement.

                    

4. The elimination of the Matching Grant program in favor of the larger and more difficult to obtain Global Grant.  We believe this leaves a major gap in The Rotary Foundation's World Community Service effort.  

We believe this  will discourage all but the largest and most grant savvy clubs from attempting significant WCS projects; and more importantly, we feel that the loss of mid-sized projects will limit the number of Rotarians who can actually participate in international "Boots on the Ground" service. We believe this will have an adverse effect on recruitment of young professionals who are looking for a place to practice hands on service. We believe there is insufficient funding for the new District Grant program to fill this gap, and further believe that districts with average or below average DDF will find it difficult, if not impossible, to practice hands on service outside of their own communities.

5.  Sustainability Paradox with narrow interpretations that deny Global Grant funding for otherwise worthwhile projects. We applaud the Trustees' recent decision to waive sustainability requirements for life saving surgeries.  We believe that similar waivers should be given to proven projects that provide permanent life changing benefits. Such projects would include cataract removal or correction of congenital deformities. 

We believe that rules requiring the provision of specialized equipment, creation of training programs, and complex gathering of information creates a Sustainability Paradox. Such requirements may actually work against one or more of TRF's Pillars of Sustainability and cause denial of otherwise worthwhile projects. Medical missions that provide services unavailable for the intended beneficiaries, and provision of personal equipment such as wheel chairs, crutches, prosthetics, or eyeglasses would fall in this category. Projects that support larger efforts can also be affected. For example if Polio Plus was not RI's signature program with its own funding channel and high profile partnerships, we believe grants supporting NID Teams and other grass roots immunization efforts would be denied under the current rules of sustainability. We believe that sustainability can be achieved in ways not recognized under Future Vision, and its requirements should therefore be enforced with a healthy dose of common sense.

6.  The imposition of onerous measurement and evaluation requirements to support Demonstrated Impact of Global Grants. We believe this places a potentially unmanageable burden on host clubs that may have limited resources and administrative skills. We note that TRF's Global Grants Monitoring and Evaluation Supplement is 15 pages long! We believe the resulting metrics are of little practical use to the sponsoring club, host club, or the intended beneficiary.  If these groups feel that such metrics are useful, they will create them without a TRF mandate.  

We can see no other purpose for mandated standard metrics than to allow for comparison of one project to another. This calls into serious question TRF's assertion that it is decentralizing control. 

We know of at least one case where monitoring and evaluation was used as a virtual hammer to crush a Global Grant Application.

Click Here for Details.

We further believe that the three year pilot had insufficient time to identify and address problems related to long term sustainability and mandated reporting that is required to support "Demonstrated Impact".

To be clear, we support requirements that ensure the proper accounting of project funds.  Our objection extends to requirements for development of unrelated measurement schemes for tracking of arbitrary, standardized metrics that have nothing to do with actual expenditures or project execution. 

Click one of the links to learn more about each concern, or click here to return to our home page

Click here to view a Serious Consequence, our Local Foundation Concerns.

Click here to view our Ten Step Plan To Fix Future Vision.