Economic and Community Development

Rotary's Area of Focus

Growing Local Economies

Economic and Community Development

Rotary supports investments in people to create measurable and enduring economic improvement in their lives and communities.

Area of Focus Statement of Purpose and Goals

TRF enables Rotarians to invest in people by creating sustainable, measurable and long term economic improvements in their communities and livelihoods by

  1. Building the capacity of entrepreneurs, community leaders, local organizations, and community networks to support economic development in impoverished communities;
  2. Developing opportunities for productive work;
  3. Reducing poverty in underserved communities;
  4. Supporting studies for career-minded professionals related to economic and community development.
Parameters for Eligibility

TRF considers activities targeting the following to be within the scope of the economic and community development area of focus:

  1. Access to financial services for the poor, which may include but are not limited to microcredit, savings, or insurance;
  2. Training related to economic and community development including but not limited to entrepreneurship, community leadership, vocational, and financial literacy;
  3. Small business/cooperative/social enterprise development and income-generating activities for the poor, including but not limited to the organization of village-wide businesses that provide employment;
  4. Agricultural development for subsistence and small farmers, including but not limited to the facilitation of access to markets;
  5. Community-led and coordinated adopt-a-village or comprehensive community development activities;
  6. Vocational training teams supporting the above activities;
  7. Scholarships for graduate-level study in programs related to local, regional or national economic development and programs specifically designated in community development.

TRF considers activities targeting the following to be outside the scope of the economic and community development area of focus and as such are not eligible for global grant funding:

  1. Community infrastructure projects, unless they result in a significant increase in the ability of community members to produce and distribute goods and services that create personal resources;
  2. Community beautification projects;
  3. Construction or rehabilitation of community centers.

Elements of Successful Humanitarian Projects and Vocational Training Teams

Global grants are:

  1. Sustainable – communities are able to address their economic and community development needs after the Rotary club/district has completed its work;
  2. Measurable – sponsors can select standard measures for their area of focus from the Monitoring and Evaluation Toolkit or use their own measures to show the good results of their work;
  3. Community driven – global grants are designed by the host community based upon the needs they have identified;
  4. Aligned with an area of focus – as defined in the policy documents.

Elements of Successful Scholarships

Global grants support graduate-level scholarships for career-minded professionals whose goal is to improve the economic and social well-being of those in poverty (poor, low-income or underserved communities). TRF considers the linkages among the applicant experience, the academic program and the applicant career plans when evaluating global grant scholarship applications.

  1. The applicant’s previous work experience in the field of economic and community development. Applicants are expected to demonstrate how their work contributed to the economic well-being of poor, low-income or underserved communities at the local, regional or national level.
  2. Academic program alignment with economic and community development:
    • Examples of preferred academic programs include social science degrees with a specific focus on economic and community development, and business degrees tailored for social business, micro entrepreneurship or microcredit;
    • Programs that will be favorably considered include those that
      • Focus on local, regional or national economic development strategies;
      • Focus on addressing economic issues of poor, low-income and underserved communities;
      • Support social business development, such as a tailored track within a Masters of Business Administration program;
      • Provide a business degree to teach entrepreneurial skills or startups at the local, regional or national level;
      • Include “community development” in the name of the program or tailored track;
      • Improve the coaching or advising capability of an individual working with small businesses or entrepreneurs.
    • Programs that will not be favorably considered include those that
      • Focus on purely theoretical, macro-level economics, politics or finance;
      • Support general private business development, such as a Masters of Business Administration for non-social professions;
  3. The applicant’s career plans as they relate to economic and community development.
    • Careers that will be considered favorably include at least one of the following:
      • Focus on issues to improve the economic and social well-being of poor, low-income and underserved communities at the local, regional and national level;
      • Are in a non-profit or social enterprise environment;
      • Are related to advocacy for economic and social well-being, e.g. for the poor, low-income, youth, women, underserved and indigenous peoples.
    • Careers that will not be considered favorably include those that focus on general business activities, general administration in a private or corporate environment or general social work.