By Etelka Lehoczky
An inspirational summit and a black-tie dinner were among numerous events held before and during the Rotary International Convention to celebrate the donors who make projects around the world possible.
The Arch Klumph Society Preconvention Ceremony honored new members and those being elevated to new recognition levels. At The Rotary Foundation Donor Summit, Rotary leaders spoke to more than 1,000 people about the impact they have by supporting Rotary’s programs.
Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Ian H.S. Riseley speaks to more than 1,000 people at The Rotary Foundation Donor Summit in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Brittany Anne Scott
André Hadley Marria, the governor of District 6900 and a 2023 People of Action: Champions of Inclusion honoree, and her husband, Walter, discuss their passion for Rotary’s work in disease prevention and treatment. “Our donations make the heart a little brighter and the souls we touch a little lighter,” Marria said. Photo by Brittany Anne Scott
New Rotary International President R. Gordon R. McInally delivers a toast at the Imagine Making a Difference Dinner, which honors the Foundation’s active and substantial donors. Photo by Brittany Anne Scott
The Platinum Band performs during the Imagine Making a Difference Dinner. Photo by Brittany Anne Scott
Rotary International President Jennifer Jones addresses attendees at The Rotary Foundation Unity Ball, the annual dinner honoring Arch Klumph Society and Legacy Society members. Photo by Monika Lozinska
RI President Jennifer Jones, Trustee Chair Ian H.S. Riseley, Past President K.R. Ravindran, and their partners pose at The Rotary Foundation Unity Ball with Arch Klumph Society honorees from India. Back row, from left: K.R. and Vanathy Ravindran, Sanjeev and Kiran Mohindru, Anil and Amita Mohindru, Paola and Ravishankar Dakoju, Vijaya Bharathi Rangarajan. Front row, from left: Jones, Ian and Juliet Riseley, Nick Krayacich. Photo by Monika Lozinska
“Everyone in this room is on their own journey, both in their lives and in their service to others,” Trustee Chair Ian H.S. Riseley said.
He noted that some of those being honored had been members for decades, like himself, and others were new to Rotary. Some had made significant investments and others were just starting to give — but everyone had something in common.
“No matter where you are on your path, you are here today because you have chosen to be a part of something bigger than all of us,” he said.
Many donors talked about why they give to the Foundation and support particular projects. André Hadley Marria, the governor of District 6900, said she was attracted to Rotary because of projects addressing the AIDS epidemic in Africa. After joining Rotary, she founded a program for entrepreneurs from underserved communities and led her club’s first Black history program.
“Rotary showed me the impact that I can have, not only in my own community, but also on the other side of the globe,” said Marria, who was among the 2023 People of Action: Champions of Inclusion honorees. “That is why I first chose to contribute to The Rotary Foundation.”
Two other gala events honored dedicated Rotary donors. At the Imagine Making a Difference Dinner, which recognized substantial and active donors, people had the opportunity to relax and exchange ideas over a banquet. The Rotary Foundation Unity Ball, named for the building that hosted the very first Rotary club meeting in 1905, celebrated members of the Arch Klumph Society and the Legacy Society. It was held at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne’s renowned art museum.
Attendees looked forward to similar events at the 2024 convention in Singapore.