Posted by Jake Bourdeau
PDG Lawrence Furbish is the Rotary Foundation District Chair for our Rotary District 7780.  While serving as his club’s president (Rotary Club of of Sanford-Springvale), Lawrence participated in a foundation project and he learned what sets Rotary apart from other organizations. He found that working on the Foundation projects:
1) Magnified what an individual can do or match;
2) Provided increased visibility for his club;
3) Expanded his personal horizons;
4) Increased his understanding of Rotary as an international organization; and
5) Encouraged generosity of his spirit.
During his presentation, Mr. Furbish detailed the several different funds that are available including the:
  1. Annual Fund – The annual fund supports projects and grants, and it is unique in that the money is kept for 3 years, and at the end of the third year, half of the money goes to funds’ global grants, and the other half goes back to the district. One fourth of the half going to the District is kept as a source used to match grants, and some directed back for use as the Club sees fit;
  2. Endowment Fund – This fund comes from wills and estates, and the interest on the donations from all these donations funds various programs (including seven peace center university programs);
  3. Polio Plus Fund – All donations to this fund are applied to fight polio.  The donations are matched at a 2:1 ratio by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. A $10 donation becomes $30 dollars after the match.
Grants from the funds are offered in six (6) areas of focus:
  1. Disease prevention
  2. Water and sanitation
  3. Community and ecological development
  4. Basic education
  5. Child health
  6. Peace building and conflict prevention
A global funded grant project typically requires two clubs to participate: a donor club and a club in the host community. At least one of the club members implementing the grant will need to take a short (a little over an hour) course on grant management which can be found on the District web page.
According to Lawrence, our Club reportedly does well in meeting our fundraising goals. Since Rotary has been keeping track, the Portland Rotary Club has donated over half a million dollars to these funds, including 60 Paul Harris Fellows, and one major donor. That said, his goal is to increase the number of members in the District that donate, since about half us currently participate. Mr. Furbish recommends that everyone participate in one of these funds, since for instance only $10 can provide a mosquito net to a child. 

What are the ways one can participate in these funds? One way is by writing a check and giving it to the Club Foundation Chair or President; you can use your My Rotary Account on Rotary International's website ( and click on the “DONATE NOW” button; or you can self-register on the District's website (District7780.orgusing the form and mail in a check.
(Photo to L-R: PP Jim Willey, 2nd VP Bob Martin, 1st VP Ellen Niewoehner, and PDG Lawrence Furbish.)