Rotarians For Fighting AIDS, Inc. (RFFA) was founded by Marion Bunch of The Rotary Club of Dunwoody, Georgia/USA. Marion brought a personal perspective to the battle against AIDS when she lost her son, Jerry, to this disease in 1994. Her action began in 1997 by forming a partnership with AID Atlanta (a local AIDS Service Organization) and creating an AIDS Awareness Program for Georgia’s middle and high school students which is still in operation today and has reached over 450,000 students.
Marion was invited to Africa in 2001 and made multiple important international contacts on that trip. Upon her return, she gained a reputation as a passionate speaker on the subject of HIV/AIDS throughout Rotary. In 2002, the RI President, Bhichai Rattakul, heard her speak and requested assistance in creating a plan “to help the victims of AIDS, especially the orphans and vulnerable children.” Responding, Marion formed a multi-sectoral, public/private partnership called ANCHOR (Africa Network for Children Orphaned and at Risk). In 2004, the partnership obtained $8.1 Million USD for a five year grant to help provide care and support for 122,000 orphans in six African countries.
At the same time, the RI Board of Directors approved the formation of Rotarians For Fighting AIDS, Inc. (RFFA), a Rotarian Action Group of Rotary International. RFFA operates in accordance with Rotary International policy, but is not an agency of or controlled by Rotary International. RFFA is an independent 501©3 organization, and Rotary International is not liable for the activities of RFFA.
RFFA is directed by a 13 person Board of Directors comprised of 13 Rotarian leaders from four continents. RFFA is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia USA, and daily operations are run by the Founder and CEO, Marion Bunch and a small staff. RFFA has established Country Teams in ten African countries.
RFFA’s purpose is to provide assistance and support to Rotary clubs, districts and multi districts in planning and implementing large scale, community development and humanitarian service projects. Because the power of Rotarians influence at the community level is well known, RFFA has been successful in establishing partnerships and generating substantial funds for their programs.
RFFA is considered Rotary International’s Resource Group for HIV/AIDS. Rotary Clubs and Districts throughout the world look to RFFA for guidance regarding their particular HIV/AIDS project plans. The RFFA website offers Rotary Clubs who need support for their AIDS project the ability to link up with Rotary Clubs that can provide resources via RFFA’s ProjectMATCH program.
Rotarian Action Group
As a Rotarian Action Group (RAG), RFFA invites Rotarians from all over the world to join them and engage in the AIDS battle.
Any Rotarian interested in HIV/AIDS can review RFFA activities and be linked to global AIDS assistance efforts. A Rotarian Action Group or RAG is an association of Rotarians from around the world who are dedicated to a particular, unique area of service. Members of a RAG conduct hands-on, global service projects that advance the objectives of Rotary International.
Each RAG is officially approved and recognized by the RI Board of Directors, but functions independently of Rotary International and sets its own rules, dues requirement and administrative structure. Rotarian Action Groups shall be entitled to use the Rotary Marks, consistent with existing RI policy governing use of the marks. Rotarian Action Groups shall be entitled to communicate with the worldwide network of Rotary clubs, districts, and multi districts as per RI’s communication policy.
Rotarians For Fighting AIDS (RFFA) was the first RI Board approved Rotarian Action Group in 2003.
To date there are 16 different RAGS, most of who are dedicated to global health issues. Rotarian Action Group membership is open to Rotarians, spouses of Rotarians and Rotaractors. The size of an individual RAG, and the international structure, enables service projects that benefit from the expertise and collaboration of Rotarians.