Paul Harris in 1915Paul Harris was the founder of the world’s first service club, the Rotary Club of Chicago, in 1905. His intention was to recapture in a professional club the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of his youth. That Rotary Club in Chicago grew to become the global service organization of today, Rotary International (RI).

A major part of the work of Rotary International is carried out through The Rotary Foundation (TRF). The Rotary Foundation is a registered charity that supports the efforts of RI to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange.

It is supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.

Programs TRF supports include Polio Plus, a program designed to eradicate Polio from the world. It supports Humanitarians programs, including grants to fund club and district service projects and matching grants for international projects.

Paul Harris in his office at Rotary headquarters, 1945.In Bangkok South we have received funding for multiple water systems in several provinces, for hospital equipment in Singburi and elsewhere, and for many other projects over the years. The Foundation also supports educational programs: like Ambassadorial Scholarships, Group Study Exchanges, Rotary Grants for University Teachers, and Rotary World Peace Scholarships.

The Paul Harris Fellowship is named after Paul Harris, who founded Rotary over 100 years ago.The Fellowship was established in his honor in 1957 to express appreciation and recognition for a contribution of US $1000 to the Rotary Foundation.

A Paul Harris Fellow is an individual who contributes US $1,000 or in whose name that amount is contributed.  Every Paul Harris Fellow receives a pin, medallion and a certificate when he or she becomes a Fellow.  This identifies the Paul Harris Fellow as an advocate of the Foundation’s goals of world peace and international understanding.

Of the money we donate to the Rotary Foundation via Paul Harris Fellowships, 50% comes back to our District; 50% goes to the World Fund, from which we can apply for grants. District retains 20% of what comes back and the remaining amount (effectively 40 cents of each original dollar donated) is returned to us three years hence as District Designated Funds (DDF). Counting DDF and RI Matching Grant money, our club has probably received back far more than what our members have put in.

006 Paul HarrisWhile it is an honor to receive a Paul Harris Fellowship, it’s not about the recognition. It’s about what we can do in the World as Rotarians and supporters of the work of Rotary.

Like to learn more about the Paul Harris Fellowship Programme?

To learn more about the Paul Harris Fellowship programme or the work of The Rotary Foundation, or to nominate someone for a Fellowship, please click HERE and we will be in touch with you.