Caine: How Rotary positively impacts the world

Terri Caine
Aspen Rotary

Fighting poverty and eliminating terrorism are two of the goals for a new Aspen Rotary Club-sponsored world service project in Pakistan. The Aspen Rotary Club, as the International Partner for the project, promoted the matching grant opportunity to other Rotary Clubs in the region.

As a result of the Aspen Rotary Club’s leadership, the generous support of 11 other Rotary Clubs, Rotary Districts and Rotary International, $57,000 will soon be awarded for school supplies and scholarships in Pakistan to lead girls and women out of the vicious cycle of illiteracy, poverty and their families’ vulnerability to extremist and terrorist organizations.

The Roaring Fork Valley Rotary Clubs stepped up in a huge way to support this important project. Clubs in Snowmass, Carbondale, Glenwood Springs Sunset, Fruita, Pagosa Springs, Pueblo West, Telluride, Colorado Springs, Boulder and Durango all contributed to this project. The club donations were then matched by district funds and then matched again by Rotary International. This collaboration demonstrates the power of Rotary.

The Rotary Club of Lahore Jinnah Pakistan is the host club working in cooperation with the Marshall Direct Fund, a not-for-profit organization based in the Roaring Fork Valley, and founded by valley resident Silbi Stainton.

In a similar way, Aspen Rotary was also the lead Rotary Club in obtaining a Rotary matching grant for Argentina: The Aspen Bariloche Medical Exchange Program works to improve patient care for the Sister Cities of Aspen and Bariloche through education, philanthropy, and cultural exchanges. Aspen Rotarian Dr. Mark Purnell, of Aspen Orthopaedic Associates, and Aspen Rotarian Laura Pritchard, executive director of Aspen Sports Medicine Foundation, brought the idea of a Rotary matching grant to the Aspen Rotary Club and championed the project.

Also in Argentina and in Paraguay, the Aspen Rotary Club obtained a Rotary matching grant for purchasing medical supplies worth $23,694 to promote the prevention of cervical cancer through testing, materials for cataract surgery, and wheelchairs for physically disabled children. A third Aspen Rotary Club sponsored matching grant for $49,800 provided approximately 160 standard wheelchairs and 20 specialty wheelchairs to children in Argentina with severe handicaps.

The Aspen Rotary Club also supports a literacy project in Guatemala that delivers textbooks and computers to children who have no access to reading materials. The Guatemala Literacy Project requires the hands-on volunteer efforts of many Rotarians to distribute the books to remote villages.

A school supplies project in Torreon, Mexico, provides free kindergarten and primary education to children of extreme poverty that includes academic and bilingual education, plus daily nutrition. Last year, 140 children attended the school. With this year’s grant, the program will be increased to 300 students this year.

Also in Torreon, another Aspen Rotary Club matching grant provides free eye care to patients suffering from cataracts and other eye illnesses. The project helps the Center of Education and Surgery of Guerrero acquire the medical devices necessary to provide free cataract surgery to patients in Northern Mexico, including the Tarahumara Indians and Mennonites.

In Nepal, the Aspen Rotary Club helps provide solar panels and LED lamps to 165 households in the Humla Region, near Simikot. Rotarians from the Durango Rotary Club will be doing the installation of the solar panels and LED lamps while trekking in the Nepal Highlands.

In total, the Aspen Rotary Club contributed approximately $40,000 to matching grant projects this year. The Aspen Rotary Club funds were then matched by other Rotary Clubs, Rotary Districts and Rotary International to collectively contribute more than $235,000 to International Humanitarian projects this year.

Rotary is an international organization of business and professional leaders that provides humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world. The Rotary Club of Aspen has actively strengthened our community through service, fellowship and by example since its inception in June of 1971. For more information about the Rotary Club of Aspen, contact club President Terri Caine at