Table Speech


Rotary Foundation Month Regular Meeting
Aiming at Rotary Foundation Activities Participated by All

November 7, 2018

Mr. Masato Mizuno
Chairman, Rotary Foundation Committee,
RI D2580
Chairman, MIZUNO Corporation

 As November is the “Rotary Foundation Month,” I will make a speech entitled “Aiming at Rotary Foundation Activities Participated by All”.

 Mr. Umekichi Yoneyama founded Tokyo RC in 1920 at the age of 52. His father passed away when he was 5, and he moved to his mother’s hometown, Nagaizumi-cho in Shizuoka Prefecture. He studied at Tokyo Eiwa School, currently Aoyama Gakuin, and was adopted by the Yoneyama family at the age of 19. He then pursued his academic career in the USA and studied at Ohio Wesleyan University and Syracuse University in NY State. Upon his return to Japan, he studied under Kaishu Katsu, a renowned politician in the Meiji period. He joined Mitsui Bank at age 29 and became a managing director in 10 years.

 In 1918, he went to the USA as a member of the governmental financial survey mission and met Mr. Kisoji Fukushima who was then a member of Dallas RC in Texas and was deeply impressed by the Rotary movement. He made a thorough research on its organizational structure and underlying spirit for 2 years and founded Tokyo RC in 1920.

 It was in 1917, a year before Umekichi traveled to the USA on a mission, Mr. Arch C. Klumph, the then RI President, established Rotary Foundation with the goal of “doing good in the world.” Last year 2017 marked its Centennial Anniversary, and 1.2 million Rotarians around the world renewed their resolution to do their best.

 Rotary is a service organization. There are two ways to provide services: firstly by sweat and toil (physical service), and secondly by making donations to support various service activities. Annual funds total 20 billion yen, as 1.2 million members contribute 17,000 yen a year on average. As for PolioPlus, 3,000 yen per member raises 3.5 billion yen, plus Bill Gates Foundation donates 7 billion yen. We also have permanent funds worth 140 billion yen, in addition to 14 billion yen of 10% investment profit accrued last year.

 Looking into our expenditures, in total 44 billion yen (about 400 million US dollars) is used for three service activities. One is PolioPlus to eradicate polio from the world just like we did with small pox. The polio patients are now reported only in Afghanistan and Bangladesh, and we achieved eradication in Nigeria thanks to our extensive vaccination program. The second is our Peace Fellowship Project. 100 Peace Fellows study for their Master’s Degree in Peace Centers set up in 6 universities in the world. 50 of them study in Chulalongkorn University in Thailand and the other 50 are divided into 5 groups of 10, who study Peace and Conflict Resolution in 5 universities. Here in Japan, the Peace Center is set up in ICU (International Christian University) where 10 fellows arrive every summer and study for 2 years. We render various assistance to them. The third is our Grant System. Half of the annual fund we pay to RI will be reimbursed to us after 3 years, which will become a District Grant to assist our various activities.

 I must also highlight the Global Grant worth 20 million yen provided by RI, by which Tokyo RC has been implementing the “Tohoku Sukusuku Project” in areas recovering from the disasters caused by the East Japan Great Earthquake. Each Rotarian is contributing 6,000 yen per head, which totals 7.2 billion yen by 1.2 million members. RI in Chicago is operating with the funds of 10 billion yen added by various other revenues, while the funds for our service activities are 40 billion yen.

 In our RD2580, we set the target of donations for 230 US dollars: 150 dollars for the annual fund, 30 dollars for the PolioPlus Fund, 30 dollars for the permanent fund and 20 dollars for the Peace Fellowship Program. In the past we used to ridicule the foundation as “Money Collecting Machine”. Now I want to call it rather “Votive Offering Box” asking for your good wishes. In Tokyo RC, the amount we collected were all beyond our target, except for Peace Fellow Program last year. As it was not well informed, we tried to publicize by inviting Mr. Kakutaro Kitashiro, Director of ICU, to make a table speech on Peace Fellowships. As a result, Tokyo RC’s collections exceeded our District’s target, and I am very grateful for your cooperation.

 The Rotary Foundation is dealing with a huge amount of money, and it was awarded 4 stars, which is the highest, for its financial management capability by the USA Charity Navigator, an independent rating agency for NPOs. Please rest assured as the foundation has gained highest accreditation for its transparency and accountability.

 The RI marks its 101th anniversary this year. Taking this opportunity, I would like to ask for your continuous support to its activities as well as to the Yoneyama Scholarship Project. If, by reducing drinking or dining-out you save, say 5,000 yen a month, then you can save 60,000 yen a year, of which perhaps you will be able to donate 30,000 yen to the Foundation, 20,000 yen to Yoneyama and the rest to the Kibonokaze (Wind of Hope) Scholarship Project. This year the Rotary Institute will organize a seminar on the Foundation in Kobe, and let me ask for your further understanding and cooperation. Thank you.