What do you get when you give to The Rotary Foundation?

Ann Syrett, middle, with Past District Governor Ron Lucas and David Riley, president of the Rotary Club of Newcastle under Lyme

Ann Syrett, middle, with Past District Governor Ron Lucas, who served as her counselor during her scholarship year, and David Riley, president of the Rotary Club of Newcastle-under-Lyme

By Ann Syrett, former Ambassadorial Scholar and member of the Rotary Club Sunrise of Road Town, British Virgin Islands

In April, I paid an emotional visit to the Rotary Club of Newcastle-under-Lyme that had hosted my Ambassadorial Scholarship more than 40 years ago while I attended Keele University in North Staffordshire, England.

As I shared my experiences with them, I reflected upon how much the experience had changed my life. I grew up in Astoria, Oregon, and the cultural differences between small town USA and Keele University were immense. I was delighted by the warmth of my welcome and at the opportunity to speak to 35 Rotary clubs, Round Table clubs (an association of young business professionals founded by a British Rotarian in the 1920s), and similar organizations during my year. It gave me the confidence to pursue a career as a diplomat.

After my scholarship year, I graduated from the University of Birmingham with a Master’s degree in West African history and economics. I signed up with the U.S. Foreign Service and spent the next 30 years traveling the world, representing my country in Rwanda, Great Britain, Haiti, France, Antigua, and Egypt. I also had several assignments at the U.S. State Department in Washington D.C., before retiring to the British Virgin Islands with my husband, Tony, a former Lt. Commander in the British Royal Navy. I am now heavily involved in the Rotary Club Sunrise of Road Town, British Virgin Islands.

Every dime, every cent, every dollar, every pound we give to The Rotary Foundation is put to good use.

As Rotary members, we are regularly asked to give to The Rotary Foundation. This may seem like a very big picture operation. However, that big picture is actually made up of thousands and thousands of individual pixels, representing the individual projects, scholarships, grants, etc., that the Foundation supports.

I was one of those pixels. My life was changed and directed by my year as an Ambassadorial Scholar. Going from small town American girl to worldly-wise Scholar to American diplomat with a 30 year career AND a wonderful English husband were all results of the journey Rotary set me upon. I can personally tell you that every dime, every cent, every dollar, every pound we give to the Foundation is put to good use.

The impact of those donations, given so long ago, are still felt strongly in my life. Your contributions to the Foundation resonate around the world, year in and year out. In my case, 43 years out!

7 thoughts on “What do you get when you give to The Rotary Foundation?

  1. I’ve met many Ambassador Scholars that have served to benefit hundreds, if not thousands of people by their advanced education. This, and several other humanities programs, no longer exist in the TRF programs.

    Ron Nethercutt
    RC Mabalacat
    Philippines

    Liked by 2 people

    • Rotary Global Scholars has replaced Ambassadorial Scholars, but the quality of the programme has not diminished. Our experience is that it benefits a much wider range of exceptionally bright young people and not just those who have convenient access to clubs/districts who can afford to sponsor. Likewise the Vocational Training Teams are a huge success, reaching a far wider range of beneficiaries and producing new Rotarians, some immediately on return from their first visit.

      Like

      • Please explain “Our experience is that it benefits a much wider range of exceptionally bright young people and not just those who have convenient access to clubs/districts who can afford to sponsor.” “Our experience” is that an opinion of RI/TRF? And saying that Ambassadorial Scholars represent “those having convenient access to clubs/district who can afford to sponsor may be considered an insult to those who were named Ambassadorial Scholars.

        Ron Nethercutt
        Major Donor
        Previous GSE Team Leader
        Previous Visiting Rotary Professor

        Like

  2. Pingback: What do you get when you give to The Rotary Foundation? | The Rotary Club of Carteret

  3. This is a great story and yet another example of how a program that was “Phased Out” under Future Vision created a dedicated Rotarian for life.

    Bill Phillips
    PP, RC of Lawrenceburg (TN, USA)

    Like

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