This month my focus is on the purpose and power of partnerships.

We have a history of partnerships at all levels of Rotary. We partner member to member, club to club, district to district, all finding support from the wide variety of The Rotary Foundation's programs, projects, and grants. How powerful this continues to be!

But only in the last several decades have we paid much attention to the idea of partnering with organizations outside of Rotary. Most would agree this change led to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which has accomplished so much through each partner sharing its expertise and working together with a common purpose. This public-private partnership for global health is on the verge of eradicating an infectious disease affecting humans for only the second time in history.

Simply put, partners agree to cooperate in advancing mutual goals. In so doing, they accomplish much more than one entity can alone. We now understand that to maximize our impact, Rotary must establish innovative partnerships, not just at all levels within our organization, but outside of Rotary as well.

Our second major partnership initiative has been the Rotary Peace Centers program. In little over a decade, our peace centers have trained more than 1,100 individuals. Through this program, Rotary Peace Fellows develop the skills they need to serve as leaders and catalysts for peace and conflict resolution both in their communities and around the globe.

Thanks to the ongoing work of the Joint Committee on Partnerships, which includes RI directors and Foundation trustees, the number of Rotary partnerships continues to grow. The Partnerships page at Rotary.org (go to About Rotary, then choose Partners) has a tremendous amount of information. Please take a few minutes and explore the page. Make sure to scroll all the way down to learn more about the partners and – most important – how your club or district can get involved.

As we head toward 2018 and consider which New Year's resolutions we will make, dream big about the service opportunities waiting for us with our dedicated partners.

Make 2018 the year to take advantage of all that Rotary offers and see how much more productive and effective we can be using the power of partnerships.

Best wishes to you for a very happy new year.

Paul A. Netzel

Trustee Chair 2017 - 18

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