K.R. Ravi Ravindran, Chair of the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation (and also Past President of Rotary International)

“You have a responsibility to serve as a lighthouse for our foundation when the fog of life seems to leave you wandering in circles”

In the thick of a global health pandemic, PP K.R Ravi Ravindran sought to inspire Rotarians to rise up to the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19, in order to be triumphant in the coming times. With millions of new COVID-19 infections, loss of lives and tough economic strains, he pointed out that it was our responsibility to restore hope in our communities.

“Rotary cannot sit back and watch things unfold; children must get an education, classrooms need to be built, projects to be visited and new clubs to be formed. We have to survive”.

With nostalgia, he narrated heartwarming instances when Rotarians surpassed expectations in the heart of global calamities; “Rotarians are resilient and are able to withstand challenges that others would succumb to. After the 1919 Century Spanish flu, Rotary membership increased by 19% and in 1921 after the great recession, membership went up by 28%. In 1957 after the Asian flu, membership Increased by 3% and in 2009 after the swine flu, our annual contribution to Rotary Foundation went up by 20%.”

Ravi went on to highlight Rotary Foundation’s swift response to COVID19. He reiterated that in a matter of weeks, The Rotary Foundation had ordered COVID19 specific disaster response grants for approximately 30million dollars. That philanthropic response from Rotarians around the world was phenomenal; despite most being directly affected. Many have fallen ill, others lost their lives and for most, jobs and revenue lost.

The PP reassured us that the trustees of the foundation were up to the challenge and were keen to rise above the current situation with the support of their members. He continued by adding that “leadership is most challenged when people face independent threats; when customary ways of working are no longer possible and when confusion and anxiety overflows.” 

He conveyed his faith and trust in Rotarians that when the time comes for the distribution of COVID19 vaccines, this would be done in the same vigor witnessed during the eradication of Polio in Africa. He encouraged all Rotarians to be inspired by the COVID19 pandemic.

He reminded us:

  • That we must be hopeful.
  • That in each of us lies a passion that needs to be reawakened at this dire time.
  • That we must bring upon the change that we want to see.
  • That after all is said and done, we will be measured by our ability to step out boldly for our communities at this time of need.

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