The Rotary Foundation

The Thomasville Rotary Club enthusiastically supports and participates in its many and varied philanthropic activities through the Rotary International Foundation (RIF), the Georgia Rotary Student Program Foundation and District 6900.

The club’s foundation chairs work tirelessly with club members to promote annual giving to the RI Foundation’s various programs and to the Georgia Rotary Student Program Foundation. Half of all funds raised by the club for the TRF return to the club three years later to be used to fund projects within our community. The remaining dollars are used by the RI foundation to support its many mission in the pursuit of peace, world understand and improvement in the quality of lives around the globe.

The Thomasville Rotary Club partners with Rotary Clubs across the globe to fund international projects through Global Grants which improve the lives of people whom we have never met who find themselves far less fortunate than we are. Most recently our projects have impacted the elderly in India and orphans in Serbia.

Each year the Thomasville Rotary Club requests funds through the District Grant process to fund local projects which primarily focus on the education of young children in Thomasville with the ultimate goal of improving the local high school graduation rate. The club also supports literacy in Thomasville through the Southwest Georgia Literacy Grant when available.

The Foundation support committee, chaired by Marta Turner and supported by 129 member donors spent over 200 hours soliciting member donors and contributing to the Foundation. The project began in early November with an announcement at a regular club meeting. This was followed up with a letter to each member showing the contribution necessary to attain Paul Harris fellow level or the next Paul Harris Plus level. Results: We raised $31,704 for the Annual Fund to date, a new record, by far, for Thomasville Rotary.

The Georgia Rotary Student Program (GRSP) is close to the hearts of Thomasville Rotarians because the program was originated by Thomasville Rotarian Will Watt. GRSP is designed to promote world peace and understanding by sponsoring students to study in Georgia colleges and universities. The Thomasville Club funds (through the GRSP Foundation), sponsors, and hosts a foreign student each year. The club selects a host family which in turn selects a student from candidates solicited by the GRSP organization. While the students live in dorms with their American counterparts, they spend many weekends and holidays with their host families and club members learning about life and culture in the US. Many life long bonds have been formed through this feature of club life.

Another peace mission supported through the foundation is Group Study Exchange (GSE.) Many Rotary districts around the globe fund exchange teams of young non Rotarian professionals led by an experienced Rotarian. In the name of peace, each team visits their partnering district for 4- 6 weeks, living with and supported by local Rotarian host families during their travels to learn about the local culture. Thomasville has exchanged most recently with Argentina and Brazil and looks forward to participating this year with Taiwan.

The final feature of the foundation puzzle is the Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI.) The Rotary Leadership Institute (RLI) is a multi-district, grassroots leadership development program of member districts organized into regional divisions in various parts of the world. The Rotary Club of Thomasville is in the Sunshine Division. It is not an official program of Rotary International and is not under its control. The RLI seeks to have Rotary Clubs in member districts identify those Rotarians who seem to have potential for club leadership (not necessarily as club presidents) and provide those so identified with a quality education in Rotary knowledge and leadership skills.

The RLI course is organized into four parts:

  • Part One: The Rotarian. Courses include Object of Rotary, Rotary beyond the Club, member retention, Rotary opportunities, ethics and vocational service, and Rotary Foundation.
  • Part Two: The Rotary Club. Courses include analyzing your Rotary Club, leadership – team building, strategic planning, service projects, membership attraction and public relations.
  • Part Three: The Rotary Journey. Courses include Rotary history, international service, leadership effective strategies, Rotary Foundation II, communication techniques, and making a difference. Understand what it means to be a Rotarian and how you can use your RLI knowledge to better your club.
  • Graduate: A compilation of information from the first three sessions. Available only after the completion of Part Three.