The Rotary Foundation
I missed the last two Newsletters, sorry. We had got up to PolioPlus as we were looking at the history but I will take a jump into the late 1990s/2000s to a time when the Foundation came under considerable pressure. The problem was that we had adopted a programme that had become too popular, Matching Grants. Our club had several, most for projects in the Pacific Islands, and the grants were for relatively small amounts and matched club contributions. Most of the grants were for less than $5000, which was not over-challenging for a club but still carried a requirement for the Foundation to service and apply stewardship. We have always promised our donors that we will use their giving properly so the process had to apply to small grants as well as large.
We had two big-name accounting firms work through the costs of grants and while there were questions on their procedures from Rotarians with vested interests, in round terms it was costing TRF around $2000 to process a grant of $4000/5000. It was much more than just the cost of staff as bank fees and currency costs and a myriad of other items added to the cost. For an organisation that regards itself as efficient, this cost was much too high not just in money but also in staff burnout. I was around in Evanston at the time and  watched several excellent staff leave us as there was no sense of achievement in their work. Most of the grants were for immediate needs and had no sustainability built in.
The Trustees set up a Future Vision Committee made up of experienced Rotarians and it took a few years to develop a more effective spending model and to test it and implement it. It was worth it though as for some 14 years we have earned four star rating [the best] from Charity Navigator which rates charities and we are always well ahead in efficiency of such well known charities as Save the Children and World Vision.