During his years as RI's general secretary, Edwin H. Futa was affectionately known for his comic showmanship, which brought an element of entertainment to the announcements he delivered during Rotary's annual conventions and the International Assembly, a training event for incoming leaders.
weather reports and his
costumes for the assembly's talent night, from Neptune to Zorro, were legendary.
Earlier this month, Futa
was recognized in a different way, for his
generous giving to The Rotary Foundation
was greeted with a standing ovation from Rotary leaders and staff during a ceremony at Rotary International World Headquarters, where he
was inducted into the Arch C. Klumph Society.
The society honors those who have contributed US$250,000 or more to the Foundation.
"Everyone assembled here today has felt Ed's genuine love for Rotary and its Foundation," said John Osterlund, general manager of the Foundation, in introducing Futa.
"For eight years, I had the privilege of working directly for Ed
," Osterlund noted.
"I learned a considerable amount from Ed
and the leadership example he
set ... In addition to being my boss, Ed
became a friend."
Since his retirement from the post of general secretary in 2011, Futa has continued to serve on the Rotary Peace Forums Committee and as an RI representative to the United Nations.
gives to the Foundation to support Rotary's
peace program because it's an investment in people.
"I believe the people-building aspect is the most important and the most long-lasting aspect of the Foundation," Futa
said in an interview after the ceremony.
"We can build wells, and wells will crumble after a while.
But the legacy people leave, especially well-trained professional people, will last longer than any wells and monuments we could build."
Futa has been a member of the Rotary Club of East Honolulu, Hawaii, USA, since 1979.
recalled how he
came to join.
"I knew nothing about Rotary
at the time," he
"I was invited, like many of us are, by my banker to join him for lunch.
As one starting a business at the time, I considered my banker an important person.
I was surprised most of the people there were people I knew from the community anyway.
I felt quite natural in that grouping."
As general secretary, Futa oversaw many changes in Rotary.
During his tenure, the Foundation appointed the first woman to serve as a trustee and Rotary elected its first female director.
leadership, the Foundation celebrated record giving in 2009-10.
laid the groundwork for the Foundation's Future Vision Plan, the Foundation's new approach to granting funds.
biggest contribution was realizing that the strength of the organization is based in the talents of its staff and acting on that knowledge to assist staff to grow as professionals.
remains committed to Rotary
because it is an effective and positive use of his
"I never feel it is a waste of my time," he