April-May 2023 | Regulars

Ian Riseley – Foundation Trustee Chair’s Column

Ian Riseley – Foundation Trustee Chair’s Column

Whether it be about the environment or Rotary’s Programmes of Scale, Ian Riseley is encouraging Rotarians everywhere to think big and act big.

In a letter to his brother Theo in 1874, Vincent Van Gogh wrote: “If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.”

You can see Van Gogh’s love of the natural world in his paintings: luminous sunflowers, gnarled olive trees, and the starry night sky over a Provençal village. When you see nature through Van Gogh’s eyes or through your own, such as during a trip to the park or a beach, you can’t help but stop to appreciate it. And when you love nature, you also want to take care of it.

April is Environmental Month for Rotary, and Earth Day is the 22nd. Marking the occasion with local projects such as roadside cleanups is fantastic and makes a difference.

Consider also thinking big about protecting the environment — one of Rotary’s seven areas of focus — by partnering with other clubs and districts on a larger-scale project funded through The Rotary Foundation.

The more our clubs work together on larger projects, the more we accomplish. Supported by a Foundation global grant, Rotary clubs in Pennsylvania and Brazil teamed up to provide plastic-processing equipment for a waste pickers cooperative in the city of Rio Claro. The workers, who recover recyclables from trash, increased their income by 50 percent and expanded the cooperative, while contributing to a cleaner environment.

Programmes of Scale grants are among the most exciting developments of Rotary and its Foundation in recent years.

Acting big is also one of the main ideas behind the Foundation’s Programmes of Scale. With each $2 million grant distributed over a programme’s three- to five-year duration, the work done on the ground scales up to fulfill the potential for long-term sustainable change.

The 2021-22 Programmes of Scale recipient, Together for Healthy Families in Nigeria, is hard at work right now on solutions aimed at reducing the country’s maternal and neonatal mortality rates.

Programmes of Scale grants are among the most exciting developments of Rotary and its Foundation in recent years. They will have a big impact on the world. Remember that Programmes of

Scale grants take nothing away from your Foundation grant projects; the money invested is a relatively small portion of the Foundation’s total.

In addition, The Rotary Foundation designed Programmes of Scale to foster greater partnerships, which can include co-funding the initiative.

So, think big this month — about the environment and about global grants and Programmes of Scale — and you will see that, when it comes to the good we can do through our Foundation, the “starry night” sky’s the limit.

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