Roger Champion, regional governor for Rotary District 6940, told Apalachicola Rotarians last week his term of 2016-17 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Rotary Foundation.

The foundation was founded at the 1917 Rotary convention when outgoing Rotary president Arch Klumph proposed to set up an endowment “for the purpose of doing good in the world.” In 1928, it was renamed The Rotary Foundation, and it became a distinct entity within Rotary International.

In 1929, the Foundation made its first gift of $500 to the International Society for Crippled Children. That organization, created by Rotarian Edgar F. “Daddy” Allen, later grew into Easter Seals. In 1947, the foundation established its first program, Fellowships for Advance Study, later known as Ambassadorial Scholarships.

Since the first donation of $26.50 in 1917, the foundation has received contributions totaling more than $1 billion

One of the greatest achievements of the foundation is their campaign to wipe out polio. In 1985, the PolioPlus program was launched to eradicate the disease worldwide. So far, in 2016, only 26 cases have been diagnosed limited to Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

Champion said the world must remain polio-free for three years before eradication is announced. He predicted the announcement will come very soon.

Champion said 88 cents of every dollar donated to the Rotary Foundation goes directly to charitable causes.

He said the current Rotary theme announced by Rotary President John Germ of Chattanooga, Tennessee is “Rotary Serving Humanity.”

Champion praised the beauty of Franklin County and District 6940, the largest in Florida stretching from Pensacola to the Big Bend. He told Apalachicola Rotarians the district is home to 2400 Rotarians in 50 clubs. He urged local Rotarians make a point of inviting potential club members to meetings this year.

Champion is the CEO of Champion Management Company and founded C & W Food Service and directed its growth until it reached $40 million a year in sales in 2008.

He is a member of Georgia Bar Association and Georgia Society of Certified Public Accountants.

He served in the US Air Force from 1967-70 and attained the rank of captain. His last assignment was Headquarters Squadron Commander for the Air Force Institute of Technology at Wright Patterson Base, Ohio. The Squadron consisted of over 400 non-commissioned officers and enlisted personnel.

The local Rotary Club always welcomes new members. Please contact Judi Stokowski at 370-0463 if you would like to join.