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HomeNewsArchivesSt. Thomas-St. John Rotary Joins Bill Gates to Eradicate Polio

St. Thomas-St. John Rotary Joins Bill Gates to Eradicate Polio

Feb. 24, 2009 – Polio eradication has been Rotary’s top priority since 1985, with more than $1.2 billion contributed to the effort to date. Polio is now endemic in only four countries: Afghanistan, India, Nigeria and Pakistan.
In November 2007, Rotary International received a $100 million Gates Foundation grant, and it made a commitment to match it by raising $100 million. More recently, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded an additional $255 million grant, and Rotary responded with an additional $100 million, bringing the total committed by both to $555 million.
The $255 million grant is one of the largest challenge grants ever given by the foundation and the largest received by Rotary in its 104-year history. Rotary will spend the grant in direct support of immunization activities carried out by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, which is spearheaded by Rotary International and its partners: the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and UNICEF. Rotary will distribute the funds through grants to WHO and UNICEF.
In order to meet its obligation under the Gates Challenge, Rotary is challenging each club to organize a public fundraiser annually for the next three years. In October, the Rotary Foundation trustees approved special Paul Harris Fellow Recognition, which begins July 1, featuring a certificate with the End Polio Now logo.
In an effort to meet this challenge, the clubs of St. Thomas and St. John have decided to use their annual Paul Harris Dinner as a way to raise funds for the Gates Challenge. The dinner is an annual event at which members of the community and Rotarians are recognized for their contribution to the local and global community. The evening includes dinner, dancing and a silent auction that funds local projects. (Paul Harris founded Rotary in Chicago on February 23, 1905)
This year it will be held at the St. Peter Mountain Great House on March 21. Tickets are $125 per person, and the event will be open to the public with advance ticket purchase. Funds for the Gates Challenge will be raised through the sale of “Platinum tables.” A Platinum table will cost $5,000 for 10 people and will include a full-page color ad in the program. $3,000 of the donation will go directly to the campaign to eradicate Polio. If so wished, the donor may select two individuals to be honored at the event. Donors are encouraged to honor local community-minded people.
Tickets for this very special event will be available for purchase at Draughting Shaft, Modern Mus ic, Just Secrets and Touch of Gold, beginning Feb. 16. Platinum tables can be bought by contacting Sue Boland at 626-4231 or 779-2449.
At the International Assembly of Rotary International in San Diego, California, last month, Bill Gates said, “The world would not be where it is without Rotary, and it won’t get where it needs to go without Rotary.”
Rotarians throughout the world could not have achieved this recognition without the help and support of people, many of them non-Rotarians, from all walks of life. Help to End Polio Now and Make Dreams Real.
Read more about the partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation at http://www.rotary.org/en/Members/NewMembers/Announcements/Pages/090206_announce_mediacoverage2009ia.aspx

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