By Kim Dixon, Rotary Club of Raleigh Midtown, North Carolina, USA
When I served in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Georgia from 2014-2016, I engaged with the International Rotary Club of Tbilisi to support several service projects. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer – and now a Rotary member of the Rotary Club of Raleigh Midtown – I am proud to help integrate our shared service goals as the current President of Partnering for Peace, a nonprofit that promotes and supports the formal service partnership between Rotary International and US Peace Corps.
This spring at the Rotary International Convention, I heard about The Rotary Foundation’s special exemption that permits Rotarians worldwide to apply for Disaster Response Grants if funds will be used to aid Ukrainians or Ukrainian refugees. I approached my district leaders about the possibility of a grant to support Ukrainian refugees sheltering in Moldova. Through Partnering for Peace, I learned that a group of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers called Friends of Moldova had opened emergency centers, which were distributing approximately $20,000 of food and basic hygiene supplies every week to Ukrainian refugees. Together, Friends of Moldova, Rotary District 7710, the Moldova Rotary Club, and the Rotary Club of Chisinau Cosmopolitan applied for a Disaster Response Grant.
I could not believe how quickly The Rotary Foundation processed our Disaster Response Grant application. On 30 June, her last day as District Governor, Angela Jamison signed the Disaster Response Grant application. Our district received $25,000 in grant funds on 20 July, and Moldovan Rotary members received that amount by wire on the same day. Just days later, on 25 July, goods were purchased and delivered: food and hygiene supplies to sustain an estimated 2,400 refugees, including 900 children, for another week.
I still can’t get my arms around the magnitude of the need, how much our Rotary service could help, and – aided by the network and resources of our Peace Corps service partnership and The Rotary Foundations Disaster Response Grant process – how quickly we could mobilize our help. Through the shared vision and connections of Rotary members and Returned Peace Corps Volunteers, we provided comfort and care to thousands of people struggling to deal with the impacts of war in their homeland.
As Rotary members, we can support similar efforts through our donations to Rotary’s Annual Fund. Donations to the Annual Fund’s Disaster Response Fund will support future disaster responses, while donations to the Annual Fund-SHARE will support both district and global projects. Your support of The Foundation brings projects to life, providing meaningful and sustainable support of humanitarian efforts worldwide.
“Imagine, a world that deserves our best, where we get up each day knowing that we can make a difference.”
Jennifer Jones, 2022-23 Rotary International President