The Rotary Foundation Also Supports Peace Corps Volunteers

In addition to the Polio Plus Program, which The Rotary Foundation (TRF) has committed more than $1.2 billion, the TRF also has the Matching Grants Program. Since its founding in 1965, it has funded more than 35,000 projects for a total of more than $464 million. There were more than 1,600 grants in the 2011-12, Rotary year, totaling more than $34 million.

Very often, Peace Corps Volunteers' project are also support by The Rotary Foundation, and the volunteer's home-town club match the grant. For example, our own New York Rotarian, Tom McConnon's project was awarded $125,000 in a 1981 The Rotary Foundation Matching Grant. As a Peace Corp Volunteer, Tom was assigned to start-up a refrigeration and air conditioning program in St. Vincent, West Indies. However, when he arrived at the technical college, he found that his 1,000 sq. foot classroom was empty. There were no desks, no books, and no equipment. Fortunately, the Dean of the college informed Tom that the local Rotary Club had arranged funding. Tom's program was designated to teach the "young men of the West Indies to repair the equipment that othe region already had". Within several weeks, The Rotary Club of Toronto, Canada contacted Tom that they would be sending container-load of tools, books, desks, and even a small pick-up truck for Tom. Within two months, Tom's classroom was properly supplied, and more than thirty young men were learning the skills necessary to repair refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.

Tom would be the first to acknowledge, if not for The Rotary Foundation, his students would have wasted months for the USAID grant which eventually did eventually come, and his students would not have been train as quickly.

(Both pictures show N.Y. Rotarian Tom McConnon with some of the students of the 1982 St. Vincent, West Indies program. They were the major beneficiaries of TRF Matching Grant Program. (Tom is with the beard.)