Springtime in Wisconsin means that our Presidents-Elect have just returned from PETS, full of inspiration and ready to collaborate with their club members on what their club's vision and plans will be for the new Rotary year. As the District Rotary Foundation Chair, I hope that your club will consider planning and implementing a district grant. We were able to fund fifteen district grants this year, with our District Designated Funds (DDF) lasting until December 2023 as the committee approved grant applications on a monthly basis.

(In photo: Diane Whitmore picks produce during a volunteer event at River Run Farm for Harvest Against Hunger, a program of Rotary District 5030 (Washington, USA) that makes fresh, local produce that might otherwise go to waste available to people who face food insecurity by connecting farmers, truckers, volunteers, and food banks to bring resources into hunger-relief efforts across Washington state. Sequim, Washington, USA. 8 November 2023. Find the story in "Rotary" magazine, March 2024.)

District grants, which award up to $14,500 of DDF per grant, align closely with Rotary's areas of focus, including promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, supporting education, saving mothers and children,growing local economies, and preserving the environment. By investing in projects that advance these areas, clubs contribute to Rotary's broader mission and impact, helping to create positive change both locally and globally. Successfully implementing district grant projects can also enhance a club's visibility and reputation within the community.

District grants empower clubs to make a direct impact on their local communities by funding projects tailored to address specific needs and challenges. This localized approach ensures that resources are allocated where they can make the most significant difference, benefiting individuals and families within the club's area. Additionally, district grants offer clubs a high degree of flexibility in selecting and implementing projects. With the autonomy to choose initiatives that align closely with their community's priorities, clubs can ensure that funds are utilized efficiently and effectively. This flexibility allows for creative solutions to local issues and enables clubs to tailor their efforts to suit the unique needs of their communities.

Rotary clubs can also choose to collaborate on district grants. By working together and pooling resources, clubs can undertake larger-scale projects or address complex challenges that may require collective effort. This collaborative approach maximizes the impact of each club's contributions and strengthens relationships between clubs.

Clubs should submit their applications by the end of May in order to be considered in the first round of approvals, which will be announced in July. Please remember that a club must wait for approval of their grant application before beginning any project implementation. The application for 2024-25 District Grants will be available on the district website by the end of March. In the meantime, club leaders can also make sure that their club is on track to qualify to lead grants, as all requirements must be met by June 30, 2024. I can't wait to see what our Rotarians in D6250 come up with!