The Rotary Foundation
            Founded in 1917, The Rotary Foundation (TRF) has been doing good in the world for more than a century. As its mission statement states: “The Rotary Foundation helps Rotary members to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace by improving health, providing quality education, improving the environment, and alleviating poverty.” Donors to TRF can designate their contributions to go to various purposes, including Polio Plus, the Annual Fund, Endowment and/or more specific purposes. Polio Plus funds go immediately to the battle to eradicate polio. Annual Fund money is invested for three years and the income from those investments go to fund the operations of TRF and Rotary International. After those three years, annual fund dollars are used for grants and projects throughout the world – and in the districts from which the donations were made.
The Endowment Fund
            Endowment funds are held in perpetuity, invested, and income from those investments provides long-term support and stability to Rotary’s work in the world far into the future. Gifts to Endowment can be of any size and can be given at any time. Some people think of leaving large gifts to TRF’s Endowment through their wills or other estate documents, but even a small donation today will begin generating funds for Rotary projects and will continue doing so far into the future. Income from donations designated “Endowment – SHARE” will be divided between TRF’s World Fund and the donor’s home district.
Major Gifts
            Major Gifts are one-time donations of at least $10,000 to TRF. They may be given to Endowment, the Annual Fund, Polio Plus, or even some combination of these.  Major Donors are donors (or donor units such as couples) whose cumulative giving totals $10,000 or more. Again, such donations are not limited to Endowment giving. There are multiple levels of major donors.
Legacy Gifts
            Bequests are provisions that Rotarians or other donors make in their wills or other estate documents. Bequests can be to Endowment, Annual Fund, Polio Plus, or even specialized purposes, such as Rotary peace programs. Donors can also create Life-Income Gifts, such as charitable gift annuities (CGAs) or charitable remainder trusts (CRTs), that provide lifetime income to the donor(s) or other designated people.
            The Rotary Foundation provides special recognition for various types and levels of giving. Most Rotarians are aware that a person can be designated a Paul Harris Fellow for a gift of $1000 to The Annual Fund. A comparable gift of $1000 to the Endowment merits recognition of the donor as a Benefactor. Various Major Donor levels are recognized, including membership in the Arch Klumph Society for cumulative giving of $250,000 and above.
Ways of Giving
            Numerous options are available for making donations to TRF, including check (made out to “The Rotary Foundation”), credit card, and wire transfer. Many Rotarians like to give through Rotary Direct, a monthly credit card charge of whatever amount the donor wishes to set. For larger donations, gifts of stock, real estate, or other appreciated assets may provide special tax benefits to the donor. Individuals 70.5 years of age or older may make qualified charitable distributions (QCDs) directly to TRF from their traditional individual retirement accounts (IRAs) and thereby avoid being taxed on the required minimum distributions (RMDs) required of taxpayers over 72. Beginning January 1, 2023, it even became possible for older donors to create a Legacy IRA – a onetime transfer of up to $50,000 from a traditional IRA to create a charitable gift annuity or charitable remainder trust. TRF staff are happy to assist donors to find giving options that fit their needs, interests, and passions.
Roger Aeschliman (Rotary Club of Topeka)
District 5710 Endowment and Major Gifts Chair
Eric Thompson
Major Gifts Officer, The Rotary Foundation
Elizabeth (“Lizzy”) King
Planned Giving Officer, The Rotary Foundation
Karena J. Bierman
Director of Gift Planning, The Rotary Foundation