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.


For reasons stated in our concerns and objections, we believe that Future Vision (also known as Rotary Grants) is a flawed program that could lead to undesirable consequences including Clubs and Districts organizing their own foundations, Rotarians deciding to escrow their contributions, or Rotarians deciding to redirect their contributions through more direct channels.  Such actions would deprive Our Foundation of badly needed revenue which would not be good for TRF, RI or the people we serve.

Substantial time, talent, and treasure has been expended in the implementation of the new grant structure.  Nevertheless, there is still work to be done. We offer the following "TEN STEP PLAN" for actions that could be taken to address remaining flaws in the program:

1.  We note that the RI Board of Directors and the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation are dedicated, capable Rotarians who believe there are compelling reasons to embark on the implementation of Future Vision. We also note that many Rotarians, ourselves included, are not fully aware of such reasons. We recommend that, consistent with the prudent handling of sensitive information, RI and TRF be more forthcoming with these compelling reasons, and more importantly how they justify the draconian elimination of logistical support for popular, worthwhile, and successful programs.
UPDATE (July 1, 2013):  We believe this recommendation is still appropriate.
UPDATE (April 1, 2015):  We believe this recommendation is still appropriate.

2.  We note the latest information from a high level foundation source reports that 140 Global Grants have been closed versus 535 applications approved through the entire pilot. This means that only one in four grants have completed the entire reporting cycle. We believe the pilot needs additional time to identify and correct issues related to large Global Grant reporting and sustainability.  We also note that FV has updated application procedures and guidelines, and plans to update other reporting procedures.  We recommend that the worldwide roll out of Future Vision be postponed for one to two years.  This will provide time for the Staff to implement, publicize, and TEST the new improvements.  This will also allow the pilot to gain practical experience with the full reporting and sustainability requirements of multi-year Global Grants.  Most importantly, this will demonstrate in a tangible way that the leadership of RI and TRF is not only listening, but visibly responding to concerns and thus address the Rotarian disenfrachisement that is being reported.

UPDATE (July 1, 2013):  While postponement is no longer an option, can we really say that the roll out should have proceeded with only 52%* of district leaders feeling adequately trained and able to implement the new requirements?            *Click Here to View Calculation

UPDATE (April 1, 2015):  We are still hearing that there are problems with satisfying sustainability requirements and that TRF has created a cadre of trained individuals who can assist grant applicants with this issue. Nevertheless, we concede that Future Vision is now a fait accompli and can only hope the remaining problems will be addressed in the near future.

3.  We note that there are many worthwhile projects that are obtaining TRF funding through traditional Matching Grants. We recommend that such projects be "grandfathered" and allowed to continue.  This will ensure that projects currently being performed by clubs and districts are given sufficient time to arrange different sources of revenue whether if be through self funding, project modification, or other methods.  This could be done by waiving certain requirements in the new Global Grant including the US$30,000 minimum, having to directly address one of the Six Areas of Focus, and the added requirements for sustainability (especially the onerous monitoring and evaluation requirements).  The waivers could be granted for a specified number of years and we suggest that three (3) years might be an appropriate number.  The most important thing is that groups and supporting Rotarians who are currently benefitting from Rotary involvement do not feel abandoned.

UPDATE (July 1, 2013):  We believe this recommendation is still appropriate.

UPDATE (July 1, 2015):  The grandfathering of existing projects is now a moot point.  Unfortunately, there is a growing number of Rotarians who are reporting that they feel abandoned by TRF and are choosing to self fund their projects without TRF involvement.

4.  We note that "problems with GSE" have been put forward as the reason for its elimination.  Group Study Exchange (GSE) is usually the first and often the only direct exposure that clubs have to the international nature of Rotary.  We also note that GSE nominally focuses on the young professionals that Rotary needs for its continued viability. 

We recommend that access to the World Fund be provided for districts that wish to continue the traditional GSE program, and that TRF continue the logistical support currently being provided for the GSE program.  This could be done by allowing Districts to apply for a single Global Grant to support GSE instead of VTT (Vocational Training Team). We recommend that specific problems with the current program be clearly stated and that Districts so inclined be allowed to seek appropriate rule waivers in order to rectify these problems. 

UPDATE (July 1, 2013):  We believe this recommendation is still appropriate.  

We further note the following statement made by Dr. Harmind Singh Dua during his acceptance of a major RI Service award at the 2013 RI Convention in Lisbon. "If I were to pick one defining moment from amongst all these years, it would have to be--without a shadow of a doubt--my trip to Pittsburgh, PA as a member of the Group Study Exchange team" .

We consider VTT to be a worthwhile addition to TRF programs, but caution that its required emphasis on area of focus and large minimum project size disqualifies VTT as a viable substitution for GSE. If Our Foundation is truly serious about delegating more control to the Districts, why not provide an "either / or" option?  

5.  We note that the Future Vision definition of Project Sustainability is completely at odds with the perception of many clubs and districts that are actively participating in Humanitarian Projects.  We recommend that Project Sustainability guidelines recognize that the provision of certain infrastructure, life changing medical and dental procedures, and hard to obtain medical devices including wheelchairs, crutches, eyeglasses, etc. provide inherently sustainable benefits.   

UPDATE (July 1, 2013):  We believe this recommendation is still appropriate.

6.  We note that the Measurement and Evaluation Pillar of Sustainability (also known as Demonstrated Impact) places an enormous burden on host clubs that may have limited resources and administrative capability.  We further note that the resulting metrics frequently are of little practical use for the benefiting group, the host club, or the sponsoring club. We recommend the elimination of this pillar as a "drop dead" requirement for Global Grant approval.

UPDATE (July 1, 2013):  We believe this recommendation is still appropriate.

UPDATE (April 1, 2015):  We are still hearing that there are problems with satisfying sustainability requirements and that TRF has created a cadre of trained individuals who can assist grant applicants with this issue. Nevertheless, we concede that Future Vision is now a fait accompli and can only hope the remaining problems will be addressed in the near future.

7.  We note that the funding gap identified by our group creates a serious gap in the types of projects that can receive TRF funding.  This effectively disqualifies mid sized projects that, based on a previously reported 80% allocation of funding, have been the projects of choice for most clubs and districts.  We recommend the creation of a mid-level grant that would provide access to the World Fund for projects falling into the "funding gap".  Such a grant could be administered by Zone or District resources and would fund projects that fall around the traditional "sweet spot" at US$15-20,000.  We also support recommendations made by others that the US$30,000 minimum project size for Global Grant projects be reduced.  We believe that reducing the minimum to US$20,000 is a good place to start and that US$15,000 would be even better.

UPDATE (July 1, 2013):  We believe this recommendation is still appropriate.

UPDATE (April 1, 2015):  We are hearing that more and more Rotarians are recognizing this issue and are expressing support for these and similar suggestions.

8.  We note that the transfer of smaller projects to District control under the District Grant program is a beneficial feature of Future Vision, however we believe that this initiative is being inadequately funded.  We believe the resulting shortfall could encourage Districts to form their own foundations or otherwise make other arrangements for funding. We recommend an increase in the percentage of APF/Share contributions that are allocated to the Share fund with a commensurate increase in DDF available to the districts.  We also recommend an increase in the percentage of DDF that may be allocated to District Grants.  The ultimate effect would be to place even more control into the hands of District resources; thus further supporting TRF's stated goal of streamlining operations.

UPDATE (July 1, 2013):  We believe this recommendation is still appropriate.

UPDATE (April 1, 2015):  There is anecdotal evidence that more and more Rotarians are self funding their projects and bypassing TRF.  This has not yet shown up in TRF's contribution numbers.

9.  We note the reluctance of some Rotarians to sign MOU's required for the club qualification and grant application process.  This is due to a perceived individual liability for the person signing the document. Some European Rotarians have reported that this is a matter of law in their region.  We recommend that TRF clarify this requirement and the resulting expectations.  

UPDATE (July 1, 2013):  We acknowledge that FV roll out manager Joe Brownlee has posted a clarifying statement on the Linked In forums.  We urge all Rotarians who are developing projects under Future Vision to carefully evaluate and seek legal guidance concerning the implications in their locality.

UPDATE (April 1, 2015): We have heard of no instances where this has been a problem.

10.  We note that after two years of participation in the Future Vision Pilot, there are pilot districts and clubs within pilot districts that no longer wish to participate in the program.  We recommend that current pilot districts be allowed to remove themselves from the pilot by a vote of the clubs and any clubs in districts remaining in the pilot program be allowed to move their affiliation to a neighboring non-pilot district.

UPDATE (July 1, 2013):  This recommendation is now a moot point.

The above recommendations are offered by Rotarians Matter Most in a good faith effort to encourage changes that will ensure the ultimate success of Future Vision.  We believe that FV, as it is currently configured, is a seriously flawed program that should be fixed sooner rather than later.  We believe that taking prompt and visible action on some or all of these recommendations will fulfill TRF's stated promise to adjust the program as problems are identified.  

We believe this will minimize the potential of Rotarians, Clubs, or Districts turning away from The Rotary Foundation in favor of redirecting their International Service efforts or financial support through other channels. 

Rotarians Matter Most wants to be part of the solution.

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