I recently told my friend I’m about to get my Paul Harris +2. The response was silence and “what?” Rotary, like many groups, has a lot of acronyms. These codes might seem strange to the outside world and new members, but those letters and numbers mean a lot not just to Rotarians but to people all over the world who the work of the Rotary Foundation helps.
When I joined Rotary, it took me about 8 years to get my first Paul Harris Fellowship. A “Paul Harris,” named for Rotary’s founder, is a recognition given to those who contribute $1,000 to specific Rotary Foundation programs. Each additional $1,000 gives the member additional recognition.
At first I didn’t really get why earning a Paul Harris was so important. There are so many nonprofits doing good work. Why did I need to support the Rotary Foundation in particular?
It wasn’t until I saw the power and impact the Rotary Foundation and our club could achieve that I got serious. Through RI and Club funds, our club has been able to impact our local community and our global community through grant-funded programs, which are supported in part by the donations to the Rotary Foundation members make to earn their Paul Harris awards.
In particular, our club, in partnership with several other clubs, recently completed a Global Grant for a sustainable water project in Ndabibi, Kenya. This project brought water to over 20,000 people and would not have been possible without member contributions to the Rotary Foundation. When 7 Rotarians and I journeyed to see the project in Kenya this summer, I knew we would all never be the same. We were truly able to witness first-hand the impact contributions to the Rotary Foundation make. Rotary and the foundation changed my life and inspired me to do more to impact the lives of those around us. Thanks Paul Harris!