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Organizations flourish when staff feel valued, motivated, and can grow in their careers. Encouraging continued learning ensures that knowledge and skills stay relevant and up-to-date, which is beneficial to the individual, organization, and community.

Created in 2020 as a way to help encourage professional growth and build organizational resilience and adaptability, the Learning Fund provides financial support for changemakers and their teams to pursue professional development.  Support through the Learning Fund may go towards trainings, workshops, conferences, or other professional learning broadly aligned with Rotary Charities’ mission and guiding principles.


"I can’t express enough how rare it is to find a funder willing to dedicate funds to something that would otherwise be labeled as ‘overhead.’ Rotary Charities is committed to long-term change, and they understand the importance of investing in the nonprofit’s boots-on-the-ground individuals... this investment in our staff has not only multiplied to positively impact the mental health of our students and their families but also our school districts and communities." - Audrey Sharp, Leelanau Investing for Teens 

How it Works

The Learning Fund covers fees for professional development opportunities, trainings, workshops, conferences, and other related learning experiences.  Individuals may apply up to $500. Teams of 4 or more are eligible for up to $2,000 per Rotary Charities' fiscal year (July through June). Matching funds are not required.

Topic Areas

Topics areas may include, but are not limited to:

  • Board development
  • Communications & digital marketing
  • Evaluation
  • Financial management
  • Fund development
  • Goal setting & strategic action
  • Human resources
  • Time management
  • Collaborative skills
  • Community development
  • Decision-making
  • Facilitation
  • Leadership
  • Partnerships & mergers
  • Racial justice, diversity, equity & inclusion
  • Systems change

Support through the Learning Fund is not available for programs already underwritten by Rotary Charities (ie. Leadership Learning Lab, Leadership Coaching Cohort, or other learning experiences and professional development opportunities that already receive support from Rotary Charities). Funding is not available for school tuition and material expenses, strategic planning, reimbursements or debts, or travel and lodging expenses. 


Applicants must be affiliated as a volunteer, board member, or staff of a  501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, Native nation, local unit of government, or school district serving Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, or Leelanau Counties.

Approval of Learning Fund requests will be made based on:

  • Broad alignment with the mission, vision, and guiding principles of Rotary Charities
  • Ability of learning experience to foster one or more of the following:
    • Supportive capacities to help changemakers work better together
    • Capacities to support systems change
    • Capacities to support community development
  • Ability of applicants to describe how the learning opportunity will increase their capacity to meet their mission, improve their work, or help create community impact

    How to Apply

    • Learning Fund requests are accepted throughout the year via the online application below.
    • Requests must be submitted prior to the start date of the activity. Rotary Charities cannot provide funding or reimbursement for activities that are already underway or have already occurred. 
    • Applicants will receive notification of approval or denial within two weeks (typically sooner).
    • Disbursements will be made with our next regularly scheduled check run at the middle or end of the month. Checks will be made to payable to organizations, not individuals.
    • Participants must complete a brief Learning Fund Evaluation Survey within 30 days of completing the learning experience. Survey results will be used to help adapt the program.
    • Contact Kendra Luta with questions.

    Apply Now

      Learning Experience Resources

      If you haven't found the right learning experience for you and your team yet, check out these Learning Experiences.