June 25, 2021
Today, our Rotary Club surprised 14 members by recognizing them as Paul Harris Fellows, primarily made possible through the legacy of our late club member, Charlie Whittaker, and his wife Maggie who gladly supported the suggestion of using Charlie's accumulated Rotary Foundation Points for this purpose.
Ab Moore explained how this came about, based on one of the Rotary Foundation's best kept secrets.
Ab first reminded us about The Rotary Foundation (or TRF as it is often known) being the charitable arm of Rotary International.
  • The Rotary Foundation manages donations and funding for global projects like polio eradication, promoting peace, providing clean water and sanitation, improving the environment, etc. When Rotary Clubs identify a project that they want to support to make the world a better place, they can apply to TRF for a global grant to match the funds already raised by the club(s) for that project. That's why it is so important to donate to TRF ... to help fund life-changing projects.
Ab then reminded us about the Paul Harris Fellow award (or PHF).
  • Paul Harris was the founder of Rotary, back in 1905. In his memory, the PHF award recognizes a donor's overall contribution of US$1,000 to The Rotary Foundation. Upon reaching this milestone (which can be done in increments over time, or all at once), the donor receives a special "Paul Harris Fellow" (PHF) Rotary pin and a certificate of appreciation. The donor's PHF designation is added to their personal Rotary profile as well as to Rotary International's list of PHF honourees. 
Each US dollar donated to The Rotary Foundation earns the donor one PHF "recognition point", and when 1,000 points have accumulated, the PHF can be given.
Most Rotarians are proud to achieve personal PHF status and a pin at least once. Multiple PHF donors can receive a new pin with embedded jewels that indicate the number of times they have reached PHF level. This too is a point of pride with many Rotarians.
However, some multiple-PHF donors are less interested in getting an additional pin for themselves and prefer to "donate" their PHF points to others. In fact, this is how clubs are sometimes able to award Honourary PHFs to recognize individuals for their exemplary community service, by using recognition points donated by other Rotarians.  
When a Rotarian passes away, their accumulated recognition points expire ... EXCEPT in the case of "Major Donors", in which case, the surviving spouse/partner maintains control of the Foundation recognition points during his or her lifetime. During his 43 years as a Rotarian, Charlie had become a Major Donor and control of his accumulated points passed to his wife, Maggie. 
A few months ago, Charlie's family and Ab spoke about putting Charlie's recognition points to good use. 14 club members (who all knew Charlie) were identified as having already started their own financial donations towards earning a PHF. Maggie agreed to allocate 500 points to each of these members from Charlie's collection. This amount wasn't quite enough to have each of these members reach the 1,000 point mark so eight living club members, who are each in the Paul Harris Society (meaning they regularly contribute $1,000 per year), were approached to ask if they would be willing to "top up" the accounts of these 14 members from their own accumulated points, and this was accomplished.
This option of combining a person's self-earned points along with donated-points from one or more other sources is one of Rotary's best kept secrets. That because until quite recently, it was thought that there were just two options for getting a PHF.
  • Either the recipient achieved the total 1,000 points through their own donations, to receive an "earned" PHF,
  • Or they received an Honourary PHF by having the total 1,000 points donated in their name by a single donor. 
Once we came to understand the option of combining points from different sources, it opened the door for what was achieved at our club today, with the announcement of 14 new PHF awards, to these members:
Michele Richardson, Bonnie Evans, Rick Le Feuvre, Brian Martin, Judith Martin, Martha Rogers, Gary Stewart, Jasmine Urisk, Carl Jadeski, David Latreille, Paul DeMarco, Ben McCarl, Justin Funk and Lynne McCurdy.
Congratulations to these new PFH recipients! 
We honour and thank Maggie Whittaker for adding to Charlie's exceptional legacy. And we also thank the additional donors for sharing some of their points with the 14 club members to help them reach the 1,000 point threshhold. And of course, we compliment the recipients for their own donations towards their PHF.
All together, combined efforts such as these will help our club in its quest to become a 100% PHF club!