CHARLESTON -- In addition to the community service work of the Charleston Rotary Club, the club also supports local and international projects through The Rotary Foundation.
Club Secretary Bill Warmoth said the foundation’s focus is on peace and conflict resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, and economic and community development.
A major Rotary Foundation effort is Polio Plus, the program to eradicate polio worldwide. Working with organizations such as the World Health Organization and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Rotary Foundation has contributed millions of dollars in an effort to rid the world of this crippling disease.
Currently, polio has been wiped out in more than 99 percent of the world.
Gifts can also be directed to the Annual Fund, the primary funding source for Rotary programs. The Annual Fund shares half of the available funds with the various Rotary districts around the world. The Charleston Rotary Club has used grants from that money to assist in providing technology support to Charleston school district students in kindergarten and sixth grade the past two years.
Anyone who contributes $1,000 to the Rotary Foundation is recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow, named for the founder of Rotary International. Three Charleston Rotarians recently earned Paul Harris Fellow recognition at the club’s annual Christmas Party. Rich Wandling, Michael Watts and Bill Lair each were recognized for their latest $1,000 contributions.
Warmoth said 40 current Charleston Rotary Club members are Paul Harris Fellows, including several who have achieved the recognition multiple times for additional $1,000 contributions.
Throughout its history, the total number of Paul Harris Fellows from the Charleston club is 160. Thirteen current members also qualify as Sustaining Members. That means they are contributing at least $100 a year to The Rotary Foundation.
In addition, the club has four Major Donors after contributions of $10,000 or more to the Foundation.
The Charleston Rotary Club meets at noon on Tuesdays in the Rotary Room of the Charleston Public Library. The club’s local service focuses on youth. Charleston Rotary provides “I Like Me” books for all first-grade students in the Charleston school district, presents leadership awards to Jefferson Elementary School students, sponsors the Charleston High School Interact Club, offers a $1,000 yearly scholarship to CHS graduates attending EIU and sponsors Rotary Youth Exchange students.
In addition, the club is partnering with the Excellence in Education Foundation to provide technology equipment to kindergarten, sixth grade and high school classes.