International Service

Rotary strives to achieve its objective of “Service Above Self” through activities in five primary areas. These are often referred to as the Five Avenues of Service.

One Avenue of Service is International Service. In this Avenue, Rotarians strive for the advancement of international understanding, goodwill and peace through a world fellowship of business and professional persons united in the ideals of service. International Service projects are designed to meet the humanitarian needs of people in many lands, with particular emphasis on the most underprivileged children and families in developing countries.

Polio Plus

For over 30 years, Rotarians everywhere have been at the forefront of the battle to rid the world of polio. In that time, polio has been reduced from a worldwide scourge to having a presence in only three countries. But polio is contagious, and it could come flaring back if we don’t keep up the fight. Learn more about the fight against polio or donate to the effort.

  • Polio Eradication Committee – This committee’s top priority is eradicating polio. The funds raised in our district support immunization campaigns in developing countries where polio remains a threat.

    Chair: Fred Heilich (Tuscola),

Global Grants

Through the Global Grants program, Working with Rotarians in the affected areas, District 6490 has carried out humanitarian projects to improve the lives of people in such far-flung places as India, Nigeria, Haiti and Kenya through education, water projects, medical care and more. Learn more about Rotary International’s Global Grants program.

Download: Apply for a Global Grant or Global Grant proposal worksheet.

These District 6490 committees can help guide you through the Global Grants process:

  • Global Grants-Humanitarian Executive Committee – This committee approves all grant applications in the Humanitarian Global Grants areas of focus, approves District Designated Funds and oversees the District’s Global Grant activities.

    Chair: Heather Stoa (Decatur),

  • Global Grant-Humanitarian Mentoring Committee – This committee assists and advises clubs with writing and submitting grant applications, provides support on reporting requirements and educates and encourages clubs to participate in Global Grants projects.

    Chair: Rick Davidson (Tuscola),

Welcome to the Wonderful World of Humanitarian Global Grants!

If your club is interested in making a difference, a Humanitarian Global Grant will help you do this. Humanitarian Global Grants promote peace; fight disease; provide clean water, sanitation, and hygiene; save mothers and children; support education; and grow local economies. To learn more about the good Rotary does in the world, and to apply for a Humanitarian Global Grant go to:


District 6490 Humanitarian Global Grant Committee

Ask us for assistance with your grant!

The Steering Committee is composed of the DG team, the DRFC, the GG Chair, plus two additional members who are responsible for:

  1. Insuring compliance with the Policies, Memorandums of Understanding, and reporting requirements set forth by TRF and our District,
  2. Qualifying clubs each year to participate in Global Grants,
  3. Recommending approval of requested DDF to the DG and DRFC,
  4. Reviewing grants before submission to TRF, and
  5. Developing guidelines to simplify the application process.


The Mentoring Committee is comprised of members who have written and implemented grants who are responsible for:

  1. Assisting and advising grant writers from initial community needs assessments to final reports,
  2. Reviewing grants and compliance before submission to the Steering Committee,
  3. Educating clubs about Global Grants,
  4. Qualifying clubs each year to participate in Global Grants, and
  5. Developing guidelines to simplify the application process.


District 6490 Global Grants Guidelines

District 6490 requires a signed District GG Proposal Worksheet, a signed Memorandum of Understanding, annual Club Qualification for participation in a Global Grant, and willingness to share your project through presentations to other clubs or the District and in District newsletter articles. Grant applications should be submitted to the District Steering Committee for review before submission to TRF. Members of the District Global Grants Mentoring Committee can help new grant writers with the grants.

  • District Designated Funds are limited to $10,000 per grant.
  • DDF will be held for 12 months. The grant approved date will be set by TRF determination of one year prior to report due date.
  • Priority for DDF is given to Grants originating in our District.
  • Grant applications should be submitted to the District Steering Committee for review before submission to TRF. Members of the District Global Grants Mentoring Committee are available to help new grant writers with the grants.


Tips for Successful Global Grants from Experienced District 6490 Grant Writers


  1. Read ALL of the information available on The Rotary Foundation web pages before beginning a Global Grant.
  2. Projects must originate with the Host Rotary Club or Community Corps. The needs must be theirs!
  3. Relationships, Relationships, Relationships! The relationships grant writers have with the host Rotarians are vital to the success of the projects.
  4. Grant writers and/or primary committee members must be willing to visit the project site one or more times. There is no substitute for being on location in person.
  5. Before committing to a grant, evaluate the dedication of the partners and any NGOs associated with the grant.
  6. Develop a realistic timeline – everything always takes longer than expected. Grants typically take at least a year to plan.
  7. Limit your grant to one area of focus. Impact will touch multiple areas, but for ease in implementation and evaluation, choose one.
  8. Know your TRF Grant Coordinator
  • Have him or her on board as your grant consultant. Call them. They can help, and your calls keep them up to date - even if things are not going well. They understand!
  • The Grant Coordinator will help with past, present and future grant success.
  • The Grant coordinator will approve your reports for the 6 month and 12 month evaluation. This is a MUST to keep District 6490 current with reports and insure that other clubs within the District can participate in future Global Grants.
  • The Grant Coordinator is your coach; this assures that your grant will meet Global Grant guidelines, and the final report will be much easier.
  1. Money Matters
  • Establish a separate U.S. bank account for grant funds.
  • Receiving funds from TRF into your club’s global grant account assures the financial responsibility required of international partners.
  • Require two Rotarian signatures from the club. Club members who are bank officers are good choices.
  • Keep copies of all checks, wire receipts, and withdrawals.
  • If you are in the field, find a way to document transactions such as a simple receipt book with copies.
  • Some cash may be used, but written receipt is required.
  • Start your final report as soon as funds are received by keeping these statements organized.
  • ALL monies spent must be for the exact items listed on the budget sheet or approved by your Grant Coordinator. Items may be purchased from a different vendor as the budget sheet is submitted long before the grant is actually implemented. Talk with your Grant Coordinator for permission to add an inflation aspect to each item.
  • Budget item changes can be accomplished with your Grant Coordinator's approval.
  • For the final report you will be required to produce each bank statement from the beginning to the end of grant, no matter how long the grant takes to complete.
  1. Communications
  • Keep a file of all written correspondence and emails between host committee members and primary committee members and with the Grant Coordinator (email goes directly to Grant Coordinator’s desk; email is documented in the grant with the Grant Coordinator’s answer and means a quicker response because questions are attached to your specific grant).
  • Keep a log of all phone calls and discussions.
  • Keep a record of all meeting minutes.

HAVE FUN! Participating in a humanitarian global grant is a wonderful way to experience other cultures, make new friends, and change the world.

Rotary Youth Exchange

District 6490 is very active in the Rotary Youth Exchange program, which involves hosting international students in the U.S. and sending our local students to study abroad. These exchanges have a powerful, lasting impact on the students and host families alike. Learn more about Rotary Youth Exchange.

  • Rotary Youth Exchange Committee -- With the aid of designated club-level Youth Exchange Officers, this committee assists eligible high school students (Inbounds and Outbounds, 15-17 years of age 1 year prior to departure) in applying for and completing a year overseas as Rotary youth ambassadors representing their country, community and Rotary Club.

    Chair: Terry Weir (Marshall),

Other Committees

Here are other District 6490 committees that help carry out the mission of International Service:

  • Friendship Exchange – The Friendship Exchange Program is an international exchange program by Rotarians, Rotary couples and Rotary families. It provides participants with the opportunity to experience other cultures by staying in the homes of Rotarians, visiting their clubs and participating in the lifestyle/activities of their communities. Exchanges are often reciprocal. District chair helps members in establishing an exchange between participating clubs.

    Chair: Liz Skinner (Monticello),

  • Global Grants and Peace Scholars – The District Scholarship Committee functions as a subcommittee of the Foundation Committee. It has the responsibility of recommending to the District Foundation Committee the types of scholarships the District offers.

    Chair: Tom Hodson (Champaign West),

  • Shelter Box USA Committee – Providing humanitarian relief and aid in the form of equipment and materials that provide shelter, warmth and comfort to popl displaced by natural or other disasters.

    Chair: Tom Hodson (CHAMPAIGN WEST),

We Are People of Action Making A Difference.
District Events

Matching Points Campaign Any Paul Harris Fellow Recognition Amount points generated by donations made to The Rotary Foundation Annual Fund-Share or Polio-Plus from December 1, 2018 to January 31, 2019 will be matched by D6490. Basically, you will receive double the points! You may choose to keep them for yourself or give them to someone else. Click here for the matching points form.

Heart2Heart The Heart 2 Heart program is acooperative effort between Rotarians primarily in the "Heart of America" (Zones 30 and 31) and in the "Heart of Mexico" (Districts 4170 and 4140) Click here for a video of a recent trip to Mexico.

Presidential Citation. Let your club get the recognition it deserves. RI recognizes outstanding clubs with the Presidential Citation. You can find the criteria by clicking here.
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