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Rotary Happenings: Paul Harris Fellow and Society Awards handed out
March 12, 2019

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"Be the Inspiration" is Rotary International's motto for the year and recently at the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club, we had one heck of an inspirational meeting. We had as our honored guest our own Rotary District 6960 Gov. Sandra Hemstead. She didn't come to really take the podium to speak, but to participate in the swearing in of the club's new members, Heather Scott and Gene Hardy, and to help take part in the awarding of club members' Paul Harris Fellow and Society Awards.

A Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute, or who have contributions made in their name, of $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation. Rotary established the recognition in 1957 to encourage and show appreciation for substantial contributions to the foundation. The mission of the foundation is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education and the alleviation of poverty. The foundation is a not-for-profit corporation that is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the foundation who share its vision of a better world. The foundation was created in 1917 with a $26.50 contribution by Rotary International's sixth president, Arch C. Klumph. Thanks to his vision and staunch advocacy, and the extraordinary generosity of Rotarians worldwide, that fund has become one of the world's leading humanitarian foundations holding assets of $1 billion. The foundation receives a four-star overall score from Charity Navigator.

The foundation transforms gifts into projects that change lives close to home and around the world. As the charitable arm of Rotary, the foundation benefits from a global network of Rotarians who invest their time and expertise ensuring that projects are high-impact and sustainable and meet the most pressing needs of the communities they serve. Strong financial oversight, a stellar charity rating and a unique funding model means that Rotary makes the very most of contributions.

"The Every Rotarian Every Year" initiative asks every Rotarian to support the foundation every year. Many of the 1.9 million Rotarians contribute to the foundation either with their home clubs contributing a small contribution of $35 to $50 per year for each member or by directly giving to the foundation either through their personal Paul Harris contributions or receiving gifts in their name to Foundation Giving.

Rotarians are working toward the goal of reaching $1 billion in net assets and $1.025 billion in commitments for future gifts, totaling $2.025 billion for the endowment by 2025. As of June 2018, net assets came to $466.5 million and commitments totaled $804.9 million, for a combined total of nearly $1.3 billion.

Now what happens to these endowment investments? Through the SHARE system, contributions to the foundation are transformed into grants that fund local and international humanitarian projects, scholarships and activities. At the end of every Rotary year, contributions directed to the Annual Fund-SHARE from all Rotary clubs in the district are divided between the World Fund and the District Designated Fund, or DDF. At the end of three years, a district can use the DDF to pay for foundation, club and district projects that the club and others in the district choose. Districts may use up to half of their DDF to fund district grants. The remaining DDF may be used for global grants or donated to PolioPlus, the Rotary Peace Centers, or another district.

The Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club has or soon will be receiving district matching grants for our club projects in Guatemala (wheelchairs), Haiti (water wells) and Belitz.

As San-Cap Rotary Foundation Chair John Schwandke and Hemstead were calling out the names of the local Rotarians receiving Paul Harris awards, it was evident that our club members truly walk the walk of giving of their treasure, time and talent to benefit the club and their dedication to the mission of Rotary International is apparent in what as individuals they do for Rotary. They are truly an inspiration. The list of members to receive Paul Harris Awards and Paul Harris Society Chevrons this time were:

- First-time Paul Harris Award Fellow Recognition pins and medallions: James Davis, Cindy DeCosta, Gary Dwyer, Jerry Gorby, Richard Green, Ralph Kern, Richard Mattern, Paul Prestia and Greg Scherer

- Paul Harris Fellow +1: Barbara Ellis, E.J. Nealey and Michael Raab

- Paul Harris Fellow +2: Jean DeDouvre, Bill Letendre Sr. and Clark Rambo

- Paul Harris Fellow +3: Jack Alexander and Bunny Ospa

- Paul Harris Fellow +4: Scot Congress and Joel Ospa

- Paul Harris Fellow +5: John Carney

- Paul Harris Society pin and chevron to new club members: Roger Grogman and John Henshaw

What is the difference between a Paul Harris Fellow and Paul Harris Society member? Anyone who cumulatively contributes $1,000 during any time period becomes a Paul Harris Fellow. A person can also be named a fellow if someone else uses 1,000 foundation recognition points to honor him or her as such. A member of the Paul Harris Society contributes at least $1,000 each year to the Annual Fund, PolioPlus Fund, or approved Foundation grants.

For information about the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club, visit sanibelrotary.org or www.facebook.com/sancaprotary. The club meets every Friday at 7 a.m. at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, at 949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel; visitors are welcome to attend.

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