The Rotary Club of Newton, Massachusetts, USA held a community forum on May 29, 2018 to introduce their pilot Global Grant focusing on Addiction Prevention Education. Nearly 100 people attended, including addiction and public health professionals who served as facilitators and subject matter experts in discussions with members of the Newton community and representatives from 15 different Rotary Clubs in Districts 7910 and 7930.


The program titled, Rotary Addiction Prevention Seminar, was strategically designed as a scalable model for community-based prevention education through Rotary.  Driven by Rotary in collaboration with public health and prevention professionals, the Seminar brings together representatives from many important community sectors to learn about and discuss the brain science of addiction, the vulnerability of the developing brain, and some key driving forces of the addiction epidemic.  Topics include tobacco, marijuana, alcohol and opioids.


The success of the Newton event reinforced the vision that Rotary can and will serve a fundamental need in strengthening public understanding of addiction and how best to address it at the local level.  The Global Grant will target communities throughout New England, an area of the US that has been hit hard by the addiction crisis, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



With support from Districts 7910 and 7930, the Rotary Club of Newton is now gathering the financial support from International Partners to meet the $12,000 or 30% of the total required by Rotary International. Clubs and Districts from Belgium, Canada and India are among those being recruited. US Clubs and Districts located throughout New England will provide approximately $37,000. The final amount is to be funded through RI’s Global Grant program. This groundbreaking, landmark grant that has a multi-district scope and long-term global vision as a blueprint model for Rotary, will initially enable ten communities within six states to implement this prevention education program through community forums and corresponding high school curriculum geared to freshmen and sophomore students.


An evaluative component is being built into the design of the initiative. A partnership with an esteemed New England university is in development for the measure of data and analytics detailing the impact and outcomes of the project.  


Several neighboring Rotary Clubs to Newton will deliver the program in advance of the Global Grant in the next 4-6 months to serve the growing momentum and interest throughout the Northeast area of the United States.


RAG-AP leaders delivered a presentation to 350 Rotarians from around the world at the Rotary Convention in Toronto that featured the Newton hosted program as a scalable model for needed community-based addiction prevention education. Between the presentation and the traffic at the table in the House of Friendship, many connections were made and there was a surge in membership to the Rotarian Action Group for Addiction Prevention.

We will continue to provide updates on this important project as progress is made.