International Service

Editor's note: The following letter was sent to DG Larry Horton.
Dear colleague, Governor Larry Horton.
I am Vitalii Lesko, Governor of D2232, Ukraine. There is only one District in Ukraine. I am a Governor in the country where there is a war.
Since the first days of the war, the Rotarians of Ukraine have devoted all their time to the prevention and elimination of humanitarian crises that are constantly breaking out in different parts of Ukraine. The situation now is no better than it was at the beginning of the war. Threats and volumes of the crisis are only growing. Tens of thousands of people have already died. Millions of people were left without homes and livelihoods. Tens of millions were forced to leave their homes and flee the war.
In the very first days of my service as Governor, I visited all the front-line cities, all our humanitarian centers, talked with Clubs and Rotarians.
Kharkiv. 140 days under daily shelling, bombs, rockets, artillery, 20 km to the front line. Most of the residential buildings and infrastructure facilities were destroyed.
There are 8 Rotary Clubs in the city and a large humanitarian hub, which has also been hit by enemy missiles.
Zaporizhzhia. 2/3 of the territory of the region is under occupation. Hunger, violence, torture. Rotarians receive waves of refugees from the occupied territories, and under constant fire, continue their service.
Mykolayiv. From the first days of the war, enemy tanks broke into the city. Our army managed to free the city and throw the enemy back almost 20 km in heroic and fierce street battles. With wild anger, the enemy has been bombing peaceful residential areas with bombs and rockets for several months.
Shelter Box has announced that eight District 5495 clubs have been acclaimed "Hero Clubs" in 2021-22 in recognition of their contributions to the organization.
Gold Status ($5,000): The Rotary Club of Prescott Frontier
Silver Status ($3,000): Rotary Club of Scottsdale, Phoenix 100 and the Rotary Club of Sun Lakes.
Bronze Status ($1,000): E-Club of the Southwest, Rotary Club of Scottsdale North, Rotary Club of Sedona, Rotary Club of Verrado (Buckeye).
A total of 11 clubs within the district made contributions to Shelter Box in 2021-22.
Total District giving all sources: $ 28,491
ShelterBox support from U.S. clubs through RY 2021-22 was incredible, with 10% of all Rotary clubs in the U.S. achieving HERO club status.
ShelterBox responded to crisis all over the globe helping tens of thousands of households. As we turn the page to a new Rotary Year, we hope to continue building our total number of HERO clubs in 2022-23. Let’s do all we can to help even more families affected by conflict and disaster.
ABOUT HERO Recognition: HERO recognition is open to Rotary clubs, Districts, Rotaract, Interact, EarlyAct, RYLA, RYE, Rotary Community Corps, Friendship Exchanges, District and RI Fellowships, Action Groups, and any club or district approved group.  HERO is a recognition, not a pledge. Individual donations count towards club HERO club progress. Awards are distributed quarterly via ShelterBox Ambassadors or from myself.
 Clubs can level up through the Rotary year (become a bronze, then donate more to reach silver or gold).
Learn more about where we are responding here
IMAGINE, the impact a district full of HERO clubs would make for people displaced and in need of ShelterBox aid. With your help, we can turn imagination into reality.
Thank you so much, your support and advocacy are truly appreciated.
Bill Tobin
Shelter Box

The Rotary Clubs of Guatemala de la Asunción and Yorba Linda Sunrise are thrilled to announce that the Guatemala Literacy Project (GLP) Global Grant for the 2021-2022 Rotary year has been approved by The Rotary Foundation! Global Grant #2124415 is for a total amount of US $568,327!

Three District 5495 clubs were among 134 clubs and 22 districts that contributed to this Global Grant, which will provide the gift of literacy, education, and training to more than 7,200 children and teachers in rural Guatemala, manly during the 2023 Guatemalan school year (January to October).

District 5495 clubs that contributed to the global grant: Phoenix 100, Peoria North Rotary Club and the Rotary Club of Sun City West.

While this grant will have an enormous impact, there is still have more work to do if we are going to end poverty and illiteracy in Guatemala. Continue supporting Guatemalan students during the 2022-2023 Rotary year by joining Global Grant #2238721, hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Valle de Guatemala (D-4250) and Rice Lake, WI (D-5960)!


Ukrainians aren’t reading this in the paper—they’re living it!   Results of the war in Ukraine is a JARRING example of need. Ukraine Rotary District 2232 has just received four $50,000 Disaster Response Grants from the Rotary Foundation…and there’s more.  In March alone,  ALL Donations to The Rotary Foundation--$15 million--were prioritized for providing water, food, shelter, clothing and medicines through Rotary Districts in Ukraine and those on its borders, supporting Ukrainian Refugees. PLUS—123 Disaster Response Grants of $3.6 million has gone to support those affected by the war. 

Rotary and Rotaract Clubs in Europe, and around the world, are working with local members to disseminate information  and provide  transportation, medical equipment and shelter for the Refugees.

Let us support them too.

It is easy: log in to Rotary Direct—sign up for $10.00 a month—make a life better.



Patricia Darling, Phoenix 100



The world needs Rotary and YOU now, more than ever before.
You are making a difference. A case in point is the incredible support for helping Ukraine through the Disaster Relief fund of the Rotary Foundation, which now exceeds $13 million.
District 5495 made a donation of $10,000 in District Designated Funds in April to the disaster fund. The district amount matched an equal amount approximately contributed by clubs throughout the district.
The current amount raised globally as of May 25 totaled $13,182,470. The amount includes $10,136,104 in outright gifts, and $3,036,365 in District Designated Funds.
An impressive statistic is that the total amount contributed from Zone 26/27 – of which District 5495 is a member of – represents 19.5 percent of the total outright giving from across the world to the Disaster Relief Fund.
Zone 26 contributed $935,036 and Zone 27 gave $1,046,176 for a total of $1,981,212.
Thank you to all Rotarians in District 5495 for your support of the Ukraine Disaster Relief Fund.
Submitted by Bill Tobin, Rotary Relations Manager
Below are updates from ShelterBox responses in Ukraine and other areas. We appreciate all the support, donations and advocacy provided by district leadership to help ShelterBox respond to disaster and conflict. We have a big mission ahead and we need your help.
Exclusive Briefing Conflict and Crisis: ShelterBox responds in Ukraine and Yemen.: April 20th Noon ET / 9AM PT
Ukraine – CONFLICT
Our aid has arrived in Lviv in western Ukraine and distributions begin this week. Our team in eastern Europe is now working in Moldova while coordinating with partners in Poland and Ukraine. The number of people who've had to leave their homes is close to 10 million – that’s almost a quarter of Ukraine’s population. Over 4 million children are among those displaced (more than half of the country’s estimated 7.5 million child population).
We are working on three projects – two within Ukraine and one supporting those fleeing the country.
1.      We are working with People in Need to provide thousands of mattresses for collective centers like schools and churches in Lviv, Ukraine. Our aid has arrived in Lviv and will be distributed this week to collective centers - places where people fleeing conflict-affected areas are seeking shelter and safety. The mattresses will help people sleep and keep warm at night.
2.      We are preparing to provide shelter kits with tools and rope, high thermal blankets, hygiene kits including items like soap, washing powder and toothpaste, solar lights, buckets, and water carriers to help people in Ukraine survive in buildings damaged by the conflict. 
3.      We will be supporting refugees in neighboring countries with high priority items they can carry with them, like hygiene items and cash. Our teams are working with government representatives, Rotary, and other humanitarian organizations in Moldova to draw up our plans.
Dear District 5495 Rotarians:

I would like to personally invite you, your fellow Rotarians, your clubs and districts to JOIN our call for action TO END MALARIA in the world!

Rotarians Against Malaria - Global (RAM-G) is the official Rotary Action group that aims to bring all our local and regional efforts and knowledge on how to eliminate Malaria together, and to leverage what we learn in different parts of the world, to bring Malaria to ZERO everywhere. To do so, we have set our focus on raising awareness for Malaria within Rotary and beyond (through educational programs, community health workers and accessible resources to our members), as well as provide small grants for different interventions: treated nets, house spraying, rapid tests and treatment, medicines, community health workers, and more.

In the past years we have joined efforts with RAM-Australia, Seattle’s Malaria Partners International (MPI) and REMIT in various countries (e.g. Timor-Leste, Zambia, Tanzania, Colombia and many more). These collaborations have been rewarded with awards, such as the Program of Scale for Malaria work in Zambia in 2021. In addition, we partner with organizations such as the Global Fund for Aids, TB & Malaria, the President’s Malaria Initiative, the World Health Organization’s Roll Back Malaria program, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Vision and many more.

We strongly believe that after Rotary’s success to end Polio in the world, we can apply the same dedication, focus, commitment and knowledge to the fight against Malaria. 

How can Rotary make a difference? 
  • We can LEAD the way to zero as a global network and by simply SPREADING the WORD.
  • We can refine, share and SCALE UP Innovations by working hand in hand with local governments and organizations.
  • We can generate funds through donations and Rotary led activities to support projects globally.
How can YOU as Rotarian join the call for action? 
  • JOIN RAM-Global TODAY and receive more information on all our initiatives and efforts.
  • DONATE for one or more of our projects that are led by fellow  Rotarians in the world.
  • SPREAD the word and raise awareness that Malaria causes over 600,00 deaths yearly and over 240 million cases worldwide each year.
  • CONNECT with us at the Houston Convention.
  • TAKE the LEAD by joining our RAM-G Board to help take Malaria to Scale
  • VISIT our website to receive detailed information on Malaria, our projects, how to donate and to become a member.
Thank you very much,

Chair & Co-founder of Rotarians Against Malaria

Several weeks ago, The Rotary Foundation launched the Rotary Disaster Response Fund to provide direct support for Rotary districts in Eastern Europe providing humanitarian aid to those impacted by the war in Ukraine.

The District 5495 Foundation Committee has announced it will match all club contributions with District Designated Funds (up to a combined total of $10,000) made to the Disaster Response Fund. Club contributions must be made directly to the Disaster Response Fund by April 30, 2022.

 All contributions to Rotary's Disaster Response Fund, through April 30, 2022, will be used to support relief and recovery efforts in Ukraine and surrounding areas. Rotary districts that have been affected by the Ukraine crisis will receive priority access to Disaster Response Grants until June 30, 2022.
The current decision specifically provides that Rotarians in Rotary Districts in (1) Hungary, (2) Poland, (3) Ukraine/Belarus (they are one district), (4) Czech Republic and Slovakia, and (5) Republic of Moldova and Romania are eligible for a Disaster Response Grant of $50,000 until June 30, 2022. When one grant is completed, another grant can be requested, to mobilize donations as soon as possible to make the most difference.
In summary, donations go to Rotary's Disaster Response Fund, and grants are made to Rotary members in the field. This channel of support gives donors the greatest assurance that contributions are going to help those most in need.
Disaster Response Grants may be used to provide basic items such as water, food, medicine, and clothing and for providing immediate aid to support refugees of this crisis.

Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund in support of Ukraine can be made here.

Although the Disaster Response Fund will be the main avenue for Rotary Foundation support, Rotary and Rotaract clubs are also encouraged to create their own responses to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

The Rotary Foundation and Rotarians around the world are stepping up to help citizens in Ukraine who are the victims of a war and the resulting humanitarian crisis. Below are several Rotary-initiated opportunities to lend assistance to those living in Ukraine.
The Rotary Foundation

From John Germ, TRF Trustee Chair, 2021-22
As one of the world’s largest humanitarian organizations, Rotary has made peace the cornerstone of our global mission. We are deeply concerned about the Ukraine crisis and need your help.

Rotary is made up of people of action, especially in difficult times. In response to the deepening refugee crisis, The Rotary Foundation Trustees have decided to prioritize contributions made to the Disaster Response Fund until 30 April 2022 to support disaster response grants for districts affected by these events. These expedited disaster response grants can be used to supply water, food, medicine, shelter, and clothing.

Half a million people have fled Ukraine and are in dire need of emergency aid. The United Nations estimates that number of refugees could grow to as many as 5 million people displaced. Rotary clubs in Europe and around the world have stepped up their relief work, some working on the ground to help displaced families.

With your donation to our Disaster Response Fund, we can support communities and help rebuild lives during this tragic time.  Click HERE to donate now.
Now through 30 June 2022, designated Rotary districts that border Ukraine and the Rotary district in Ukraine may apply for grants of up to $50,000 each from the Disaster Response Fund. These expedited disaster response grants can be used to provide relief to refugees or other victims of the crisis including items such as water, food, shelter, medicine and clothing.
During this same period, other impacted Rotary districts that wish to offer support to refugees or other victims of the crisis in their district can apply for $25,000 grants from the Disaster Response Fund.
Now through 30 April 2022, Rotary districts can transfer unallocated District Designated Funds (DDF) to support the Disaster Response Fund, directly supporting these Ukraine-specific humanitarian grants.
Contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund in support of Ukraine can be made here. All funds need to be received into the Disaster Response Fund by 30 April 2022 in order to qualify for use in support of the Ukrainian relief efforts.
Although the Disaster Response Fund will be the main avenue for Rotary Foundation support, Rotary and Rotaract clubs are also encouraged to create their own responses to the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.
Shelter Box
By Gene Medina, Pantano Rotary Club (Arizona)
Pantano Rotary in Tucson is implementing efforts to direct donations to Shelter Box USA ( to assist refugees from Ukraine to survive during this horrific and tragic times. The need is huge.
As most of you have seen, mothers and their children arriving at the Polish and other national borders with little more than the clothes on their backs.  As you would expect, there is a tremendous need for shelter and food. There is help needed NOW. Shelter Box is one avenue.
Shelter Box is a Rotary supported program that provide shelter.
There are at least TWO ways to donate:
1. Directly to Shelter Box: Simply go to the website above, click on the banner at the top
Ukraine Crisis-Appeal- Send Aid Now.
It will take you to the donation page and you can make your choice of donation. ($20 and beyond). As you complete the donation sheet, you can note our Rotary Club, Pantano Rotary, and our Rotary district, 5500 if you choose.
2. You can mail a check to Pantano Rotary Club Foundation, P.O. Box 1517 N. Wilmot Road, No. 276, Tucson, AZ 85712.
American Red Cross
The American Red Cross has opened an International Designation: Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis. Rotary District 5170 has set up a microsite so members can give a financial gift to support the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis. Click here.
The Ukraine Red Cross is leading humanitarian response efforts in Ukraine and are being supported by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Our funds raised will support the global Red Cross movement response to provide humanitarian relief to people affected by the crisis in Ukraine. 
Rotary Club in Poland supporting Ukraine refugees
The Rotary Club of Sopot International is accepting donations to directly help refugee families escaping the conflict in Ukraine. According to Club President Julian Gilbert:
"We are providing accommodation, food and health products for Ukrainian families with children who have had to leave their homes to find safe haven in Poland. We are hosting families privately and are providing all the help they will need during this traumatic time, especially for young children."
For information and to donate, visit: