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Doing the Math!

The financial power of Rotary rests in The Rotary Foundation – it’s the engine that allows us to make such a tremendous difference in the world. So how do these “humanitarian grants” work? What types and limits are there? Here are some simple explanations:wcs-grant-calculator-image

DSG’s (District Simplified Grants) match at one-level, 1:1. So $800 for a club will be matched by $800 from DDF (District Designated Funds). The largest single DSG is $2000 Club + $2000 DDF = $4000 total. The funds can come from one or more D5100 clubs, but be sure to put all clubs related to one project on a single application. The key benefit of DSG’s is that they are simple and can be obtained quickly.

MG’s (Matching Grants) are matched at two levels. They get a much bigger “bang for the buck” than DSG’s. First District 5100 matches Club money 1:1. Then TRF matches DDF 1:1 and Club money 1:2.  That is a combined match of $3.50 for each club dollar.  DDF can also be contributed by the Host district (typically the developing country, where the project is located) as well as ours; and it can be matched by TRF.  And other districts can join in also for a multi-district project.

  • Example 1: A club in Yogyakarta Indonesia has $500 of funds, and proposes a $22,000 project. Lake Oswego and Seaside decide to join as co-sponsors. rcc-digs-hole-for-concrete-tank_crop_resizeIndonesia’s D3400 decides to contribute $1500.  Viewing the MG calculator for this project [sample as PDF, and as Excel file], we see that when Lk Oswego puts in $3000, Seaside needs to put in $2215.
    • The D5100 DDF match (1:1 for both LkOswego and Seaside clubs) then totals $5215.
    • Now for the second level of match by TRF adds $6715 (a 1:1 match for DDF from D3400 plus the two chunks of DDF from D5100); then TRF adds $2848 to match the three Club contributions (a 1:2 match of “cash” contributions by clubs). The total TRF match is $9573.
    • The key benefit is this: The $500 funds from Host partner RC Yogya Tamansari were augmented by $3000 of RC Lake Oswego funds, then augmented by RC Seaside; that total of $5715 through the 2-level matching turned into $22,000. D5100 Club funds can be tripled, more or less.
    • FYI, many districts do not match 1:1 like ours; some have little or no DDF to assist; but it’s always good to ask your Host Club partner what can be done in their District. Each $1000 of DDF by any District turns into $2000 after the TRF match.
  • A MG where you request a TRF match over $25,000 is a “competitive matching grant” – it requires additional forms and data (e.g. a “community needs assessment“). It is scrutinized by Staff and the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation. So, be sure you really need over $25,000 in TRF match – you can often break a large project into two parts. Note this is $25,000 in TRF funds; not $25,000 project value (a “normal” MG).05-building-the-wall_small

3-H (no longer available)

Exchange Rates. When completing a grant application, generally put the budget in local currency (IRP Indonesian Rupiah, GTQ Guatemala Quetzales, for instance).  Then use a single rate to translate to US dollars at the bottom of the page.  That rate is published by TRF (see this “exchange rate” on this web page).  If you get stuck, contact the Staff for TRF Humanitarian Grants.

Check out our WCS Resources and Forms page for lots of info on what is eligible for grants, how to do obtain various types of grants, tips and forms.

How much of each type? In D5100 it is common to have about 20% (the max) of the DDF for Humanitarian grants to be allocated for DSG’s – if that 20% is not fully used, it can be switch to regular MG’s late in the season. The other 80% of humanitarian grants is usually reserved for MG’s. In addition to grants, DDF may be allocated for Rotary scholarships of various types, additional GSE expenditures, PolioPlus contributions, etc.

While the deadline in D5100 is March 10 for MG applications (and to be received at TRF it is March 31) each Rotary year, it pays to do your grant applications earlier (e.g. Nov or Dec). The funds are applied, first-come first-served, to those MG applications that are complete, accurate, and meet the TRF requirements and D5100 policy.

The new D5100 WCS policy is here, and you should become familiar with it. Among other things, it provides: that D5100 clubs must collaborate on MG’s; it takes 2 clubs to partner to obtain $5000 in DDF or more, 3 clubs if $7500 or more, 5 clubs if $10,000 or more; $5000 is the minimum DDF for a MG; over $10,000 will yield a special review by DG & DRFC; clubs that make no or minimal contributions may be declined DDF (and other TRF program participation); for DSG’s the minimum is $250 of match, and Club contributions must equal/exceed DSG amounts.


DG = District Governor
DRFC = District Rotary Foundation Chair
DSG = District Simplified Grant (simplest, fastest kind)
MG = Matching Grant (2 levels of match, District then TRF)
TRF = The Rotary Foundation
GSE = Group Study Exchange


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