The Rotary Foundation (TRF) and clubs invest in our future leaders and philanthropists by funding scholarships for undergraduate and graduate study.
In 1947, following the death of Rotary’s founder Paul Harris, scholarships were the first large programme funded by The Rotary Foundation to be set up. To date, more than 350,000 scholarships have been awarded.
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Types of scholarship
Rotary clubs offer scholarships for secondary, undergraduate, or graduate study.
District grants can be used to sponsor a secondary school, undergraduate, or graduate student studying any subject, either locally or abroad. The scholarship may cover any length of time, from a six-week language training programme to a year or more of university study.
Global Grants are for graduate students studying abroad in one of Rotary’s seven areas of focus and planning on a career allied to that area. Scholarships last from one to four years and can include an entire degree programme. Global Grant scholarships are funded using cash or District Designated Funds matched by the
The Value of Rotary Scholarships versus Humanitarian Aid
To answer this question, consider the impact of education. Humanitarian aid and development are relatively easy to measure and for some are the best solution to helping people. Others, see that investment in people and education can have a bigger return over a longer period of time. In the end, there is no right or wrong answer.
Both perspectives can co-exist and Rotary offers Rotarians a menu of programmes from which to choose. Rotarians do have a strong historical commitment to supporting education through scholarships and this is likely to continue as long as Rotarians choose to support Global Grant scholars and the Rotary Peace Centres.
This is the beauty of our Rotary Foundation. We have seven areas of focus, we offer opportunities to support humanitarian projects, graduate scholarships and adult skills building through our Vocational Training Teams. Rotary, supported by its own charity The Rotary Foundation gives members the opportunity to get involved with an area that they are passionate about.
Our scholarship programmes will have a large positive impact on our society, supporting Rotary’s aims of ‘Service Above Self’.”
Last year TRF approved 1,197 Global Grants. Of these grants, 1,027 (86%) were for humanitarian projects, 145 (12%) for scholarships and 26 (2%) were Vocational Training Teams. This distribution of activities is relatively consistent year to year.
So, we can see that the majority of Rotarians’ and TRF’s investment is in humanitarian projects. However, a small percentage of our members see value in helping young people to gain a graduate degree in one of our areas of focus. They believe that this will have a larger positive impact on our society.
In a survey of our scholars between 2014 and 2018, respondents told us:
- 90% of Global Grant scholars are using their Area of Focus expertise in their paid work;
- 91% stated that Global Grant scholarships are helping scholars achieve their career goals and make a positive impact in their chosen Area of Focus;
- Most Global Grant scholars hold positions in organisations that are making a difference in society;
- 10% of respondents are current club members. Most of those who were not club members are still in contact with members;
- 68% of respondents are interested in increasing their engagement with Rotary through membership, service programmes, or alumni networks.
Our scholarship programmes will have a large positive impact on our society, supporting Rotary’s aims of ‘Service Above Self’.