[Home]  [Up]

What are Matching Grants for International Humanitarian Projects?

Matching Grants assist Rotary clubs and districts in carrying out humanitarian World Community Service projects in cooperation with Rotarians in another country. The Rotary Foundation provides matching funds to clubs and/or districts for relatively small, one-time-only humanitarian service projects. Grants are awarded for a wide variety of projects such as agriculture, water, medical care/equipment, combating diseases, aiding the disabled, literacy and numeracy, and educational/occupational training. The project must involve active personal Rotarian participation.

The Foundation provides up to a one-to-one match of club and district funds, with a maximum grant of US$50,000. Starting 1 July 2002, the Foundation will provide a US$0.50 match for every US$1 cash contribution. It is important to note that this change does not affect District Designated Funds that are used as Matching Grant sponsor contributions.

The most important point to remember about Matching Grants is that they are a tool for Rotarians to use to complete humanitarian service projects. Each project represents a partnership between Rotarians in different countries — a partnership struck with the ideal of service as the goal.


The Matching Grant Process

The following information shows the steps involved in the Matching Grant process. Generally, complete applications take about 15 weeks to be processed. Submitting complete applications and all other requested information will expedite the processing of your request.

Phase I

• Identify and design project

Phase II

• Submit complete Matching Grant Application

• Receipt of application acknowledged by Foundation

• Application reviewed by Matching Grant staff to double-check for completeness and eligibility

Phase III

• Application forwarded to Rotary Foundation Trustees for their review and decision

Phase IV

• Trustee decision forwarded to Rotarian cosponsors. If the grant is approved, the primary project contacts listed in the application will receive an “announcement letter” which gives instructions on the cosponsors’ next steps in the payment process. Once all the necessary forms, contributions, and payee information is received, grant payment is made. If the request was not approved, the cosponsors will also be informed.

Phase V

• Grant funds released

• Project implemented

• Interim Reports submitted every six months for the duration of the project until it is completed

• Final Report submitted no later than two months after the project’s completion

• Receipt of Final Report acknowledged by Matching Grant staff

• Matching Grant file is closed


Matching Grants Eligibility Criteria and Guidelines

I.   Matching Grant projects are international service projects. The grant project must

      A.   Address a humanitarian condition that benefits a community in need

B.   Have significant Rotarian involvement

C.   Have visible Rotary identification

D.   Demonstrably benefit no less than six individuals directly

E.   Benefit the recipient community as a whole. The project must not be designed to help any individual(s) to obtain an academic degree or professional advancement, or for any individual(s) to attend a seminar, conference, or international exchange. Projects can involve educational training, but the training must be short-term in nature and provide for basic educational needs only.

F.   Not involve the establishment of a permanent foundation, trust, or permanent interest-bearing account. Grant projects can involve the establishment of a revolving loan fund, but must include training and detailed information regarding recipient payback schedules.

G.  Involve participation and monitoring by Rotarians of clubs/districts in at least two countries. One country will be the local or host project country (where the project is located), and one will be the international sponsor country. Grant applicants are partners in the service project and must work together closely to complete the project. To ensure this kind of cooperation, each participating club/district must establish a committee of at least two Rotarians to oversee and report both to each other every six months and to The Rotary Foundation on the project’s progress and completion.

H.  Not directly benefit a Rotarian; an employee of a club, district, or other Rotary entity, or of Rotary International; or a spouse, lineal descendant (child or grandchild by blood or legally adopted child), a spouse of a lineal descendant, or an ancestor (parent or grandparent by blood) of any living Rotarian or Rotary employee.

I.    Not duplicate any existing Foundation or other Rotary-sponsored program

J.    Exclude any liability to The Rotary Foundation or to Rotary International except for the amount of the grant

K.  Be distinct, i.e., of a different type or category of project from any other projects for which the same applicants have already received a Matching Grant within the past five Rotary years. (This does not prevent the replication of successful projects that benefit different communities.)

II.   Matching Grant funds (which include club/district funds to be matched by the Foundation) cannot be used

A.  For the purchase of land or buildings or the construction of substantial buildings. Acceptable construction projects include service roads, wells, reservoirs, dams, latrines, toilet blocks, and water supplies. These projects are eligible as long as the construction is not a structure in which individuals live, work, or spend a substantial amount of time such as buildings, containers, and shelters, or carry out any type of activity, such as schools, hospitals, and clinics, including any type of manufacturing, processing, and/or storage. If the grant project depends upon the construction of a building, that construction must be funded by additional (that is, nonmatched) club/district funds or funded by a cooperating organization. The Foundation will not release Matching Grant funds until such construction is completed.

1.   There is one exception to the construction policy and that is, beginning 1 July 1997, The Rotary Foundation will award Matching Grants and 3-H Grants for the construction of shelters for underprivileged families. (See page 34 for the guidelines for such shelters, which are also available from The Rotary Foundation and by download from the RI Web site at

2.   Effective 1 July 2001, The Rotary Foundation will no longer support renovation (refurbishing or upgrading) of existing facilities through its Humanitarian Grant programs.

B.  For the payment of salaries or other personnel costs (other than necessary, one-time-only contracted technical expertise)

C.  For international travel expenses of any kind unless the travel is essential and integral to the project’s implementation. In such cases, only 10 percent of the project’s budget may be used for individual travel expenses.

D.  To support the operating/administrative expenses of any organization.

III. The Foundation will provide a 50 percent match of cash contributions effective 1 July 2002.

NOTE: Projects can be supplemented by funds from non-Rotary sources; however, the Foundation cannot match such funds. The Foundation will only match funds contributed by Rotary clubs/districts. In addition, the Foundation will not match the value of any goods or services donated to the project.

IV. The Rotary club or district that serves as the sponsor in the benefiting location is limited to five open Matching Grant projects at any given time.

V.  The Rotary Foundation will not use Matching Grant funds to reimburse clubs/districts for projects already undertaken and in progress or completed. The Foundation will only match club/district funds for international service projects that have been reviewed and approved by the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation prior to their initiation.

VI. If a Matching Grant project will be conducted in cooperation with another non-Rotary organization, the following conditions must be met:

A.  There must be significant Rotarian involvement which includes substantial numbers of Rotarians actively participating by giving their time, resources, and personal involvement in the project.

B.  The Rotary sponsor(s) must clearly demonstrate that the project is initiated, controlled, and conducted by Rotary clubs or districts involved, although non-Rotary participation is permitted.

C.  The project must have clearly visible Rotary identification designed to make the public aware of Rotary involvement.

D.  Both Rotary cosponsors and local Rotary clubs (where appropriate) must have knowledge of and endorse the non-Rotary organization as being reputable and responsible, and have determined that the organization is registered and acts within the laws of the project country.

E.   Matching Grant funds will not be provided to an existing project nor for activities primarily sponsored by a non-Rotary organization.

F.   The non-Rotary organization cooperating in such projects must agree to participate and cooperate in all financial review activities connected with the project.

NOTE: The Rotary Foundation Trustees have determined that no more than eight Matching Grant projects conducted with a single non-Rotary cooperating organization will be awarded each Rotary year. Applications for projects conducted with a single cooperating organization will be approved on a first-come, first-served basis.


What They Say About Rotary Foundation

Some more of what some Rotarians, Foundation alumni, and others who have worked with the Foundation have said about the international work of The Rotary Foundation:

Audrey Hepburn
discussing the PolioPlus program on behalf of UNICEF

 "From Seattle to Santiago, from Bogota to Bombay, and everywhere in between, the children of the world are waiting. They are the hope of the future, and you are their hope that the future will be bright. I thank you, Rotary, for alleviating the suffering of children."

Ian Oxman
Group Study Exchange team member from California, USA
describing part of his trip to Warsaw, Poland

"In Warsaw, Woijeich Sierpinski, a Rotary club president, took me on a tour I will never forget. We visited his parent's house — where they lived during World War II. There in the kitchen, under a dusty stack of crates was a secret wooden panel in the floor. Woijeich removed the panel to reveal a tiny room underneath the kitchen floor where his parents hid their neighbors — a Jewish family — during the war. As I stood speechless, listening to Woijeich describe how they evaded the Nazis, I realized the full value of the Group Study Exchange program."

Bertrand Rene Munier
Professor of Economics
Ecole Normal Superieure, Cachan, France
Ambassadorial Scholar 1967-68

"The Rotary Foundation's programs are all the more important because we live in world of sharp contrasts: fear and hope, illness and good health, poverty and wealth. Worse, we live in a world in which inequalities of income, unemployment — and presumably exclusion from well-being — have sensibly increased in the last fifteen years, not so much between countries, but within countries, developed and developing alike. In such a situation, the role of The Rotary Foundation is of the utmost importance."

[Home]  [Up]