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Rotary and Polio
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Rotary keeps the pressure on polio

Service organization partners with Gates Foundation to raise US$550 million to end polio forever

 For 20 years, Rotary clubs have remained determined to do whatever is necessary to achieve a world free of the crippling disease polio.


Recognizing this commitment — as well as Rotary’s important role as a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative — the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation recently awarded Rotary a US$250 million challenge grant, which Rotary will match with an additional $100 million.


This raises to $550 million the total funds generated by the two organizations since the Gates Foundation awarded its first $100 million challenge grant to Rotary in 2007. The funds are dedicated to polio eradication activities in polio-endemic and high-risk countries.


Although polio epidemics may be a distant memory in most of the developed world — the last case of naturally occurring polio in the United States occurred in 1979, and cases have been reduced by 99 percent worldwide — it still threatens children in parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. But for as little as 60 cents worth of oral polio vaccine, a child can be protected for life.


However, a major funding gap now faces the polio eradication initiative. Twenty years of steady progress is at stake, and polio could stage a dangerous comeback unless additional resources are secured, which is why Rotary and the Gates Foundation have forged this historic funding agreement.


Since launching its landmark PolioPlus program in 1985, Rotary, an international humanitarian service organization, already has contributed more than $700 million to the cause, in addition to countless volunteer hours logged by Rotary club members worldwide. With that kind of track record, Rotary readily accepted the funding challenge from the Gates Foundation. Rotary’s membership of 1.2 million women and men — representing 33,000 clubs in more than 200 countries and geographical areas — embraced the effort by digging deeper into their own pockets, planning special fundraisers, and rallying community support. They know that the goal of a polio-free world is within reach, and that success is the only option.


To learn how you can participate in this historic opportunity to end polio once and for all, please visit http://www.rotary.org/en/EndPolio/Pages/ridefault.aspx.



Bill Gates Jr. administers oral polio vaccine to a child in Hanoi, Vietnam.



Polio Eradication – “You can do it” from Rotary International on Vimeo.

After 25 years of hard work, Rotary and its partners are on the brink of eradicating this tenacious disease, but a strong push is needed now to root it out once and for all. It is a window of opportunity of historic proportions.


Reaching the ultimate goal of a polio-free world presents ongoing challenges, not the least of which is a US$535 million funding gap through 2012. Of course, Rotary alone can't fill this gap, but continued Rotarian advocacy for government support can help enormously.


As long as polio threatens even one child anywhere in the world, children everywhere remain at risk. The stakes are that high.

"If we all have the fortitude to see this effort through to the end, then we will eradicate polio."

- Bill Gates


PolioPlus Fund

Since the PolioPlus program's inception in 1985, more than two billion children have received oral polio vaccine. But Rotary's work is not done: The disease has not yet been eradicated. Contribute to the PolioPlus Fund online or by mail to support Rotary's goal of a polio-free world.


More is needed to end polio


Please continue to contribute

$200 million raised
Thank you.


What polio eradication costs


From 2010 through 2012, an estimated US$850 million per year from all sources is needed in donor contributions to fund the final eradication phase. This level of expense is expected to decrease as wild poliovirus transmission is interrupted in the four remaining polio-endemic countries and outbreaks in previously polio-free countries are reduced. The budget for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative is revised quarterly to reflect changes in epidemiology as well as financial contributions made by Rotary and other donors to the program.


Contribute to polio eradication


Let others know about Rotary's progress by placing the fundraising graphic on your club's or district's website. Visit the web ad page to get the html code to put this graphic on your website and have the fundraising numbers automatically update.


Rotary's Challenge is our response to the two grants totaling $355 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help eradicate polio, which goes until 30 June.

Make a one-time gift or enroll in recurring giving to help End Polio Now.


More information

Rotary Foundation tax identification number: 36-3245072




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