Posted on Jul 12, 2018
Steven Solomon, the Senior Annual Giving Officer for Rotary Foundation Zones 25 & 26, gave an impassioned and eloquent speech.  He said, "I cannot tell you, that by giving to The Rotary Foundation, you will rid the world of all its problems. But, I can tell you, that you will change people’s lives. In fact, I’m a person whose life has been changed by Rotary!"
Steven started his presentations with thanks to the Rotary Club of Buffalo Grove, Illinois; this was the club that introduced him to the wonderful world of Rotary. They chartered his scout troop, sponsored his Interact Club, and through The Rotary Foundation provided his South Africa Rotary Scholarship. They even created a vocational scholarship to help with his Master’s program. He has been made an honorary Rotarian in two Rotary clubs and
Carlsbad Rotary made him a Paul Harris Fellow… +1! Steven feels he has received A LOT from Rotary and now it’s his turn to give back!
Steven shared his personal Rotary journey including, including his Rotary scholarship in South Africa, which was the most transformational experience of my life. Living in the kingdom of the Zulus gave him the chance to further my language studies, which led to other unexpected experiences. South Africa has been characterized by a history of deprivation and impoverishment. At the time, he was only 20 years old.
Rotary also provided the opportunity to live in Durban, which has the largest population of Indian people outside of India. He got to meet Walter Sisulu, one of S. Africa’s unsung heroes, on his 90th and birthday celebration. Sisulu spent 26 years behind bars. He was the one who introduced Nelson Mandela to politics.
Because of support from Rotary Foundation’s Annual Fund, his scholarship provided Steven with many opportunities to meet people that one reads about in history books. He showed many pictures and told about his relationship with Dr. Jane Goodall. She has has become the patron of the Rotarian Action Group for Endangered Species working to preserve and protect endangered species.
Steven also talked about showed several pictures with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in fighting the injustices of the apartheid regime.
Steven knows that The Rotary Foundation is an excellent vehicle for improving the human condition globally. This is your opportunity to transform lives. Talent is universal but opportunities are not. The Rotary Foundation is an agent of change that has awarded more than US $4.1 billion dollars in educational & humanitarian grants.
Here are some of the things Steven says he has learned:
  1. Volunteer, study abroad & apply for scholarships
  2. Continually thank those who help you (including your parents)
  3. Take advantage of every opportunity
  4. Truly learn from experiences- yours & others… even if the lesson learned is not to repeat that experience
  5. Through fundraising you can educate & motivate people to improve the human condition globally
The Rotary Annual Fund is the primary source of funding for Foundation activities that are transforming the world. Rotary’s contributions to the global polio eradication effort now exceed $1.3 billion. Since this program began in 1985, we have worked with our partners in this global effort to help immunize more than 2.5 billion children and reduced the number of polio cases by 99.9%. As of June 30, we have $418 Million in our Endowment Fund. Assets and expectations total over $1.173 Billion.
The Annual Fund-Share, which turned into District Designated, Funds which created Steven’s Rotary Scholarship. This gift to Steven was shared with the world, spreading goodwill, peace and understanding. Most important, Rotary created an ENGAGED citizen of the world!
There were several good questions from the engaged audience.  Then Steven closed with: Change lives, like you changed mine. Give today! Thank you.