Foundation honors Mittal for US$1 million donation for polio eradication
Usha and Lakshmi Mittal (center) were inducted into the Arch C. Klumph Society during a reception at the House of Lords in London. Also present were Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Jonathan B. Majiyagbe (left) and Rajashree Birla, a friend of the Mittals. Photo by Raymond Thatcher
The Rotary Foundation has honored Usha Mittal for her US$1 million contribution to Rotary's polio eradication efforts.
In a reception at the House of Lords in London, Foundation Trustee Chair Jonathan B. Majiyagbe presided as Usha and Lakshmi Mittal were inducted into the Arch C. Klumph Society, which honors people who give at least $250,000 to the Foundation.
"It seems fitting," remarked Majiyagbe, "to convene in the House of Lords, the seat of such a proud tradition of leadership, to recognize the future unfolding before us -- a future where our world is polio-free, a future where peace is possible."
Mittal and her husband, Lakshmi, chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, are originally from India but now live in London, where the company is based. Those attending the reception included Rajashree Birla, another major supporter of Rotary's polio eradication efforts.
In May 2008, Birla arranged a meeting with Mittal to discuss polio eradication. Mittal responded with a $1 million contribution to the Foundation in support of Rotary's US$200 Million Challenge. Rotary has committed to raising $200 million over the next three years in response to $355 million in grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for polio eradication.
"Polio is a devastating disease which still continues to cripple children in some vast populated areas of the world -- namely India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria, the four remaining countries where the virus is still endemic," said Mittal. "It is a disease for which there is no cure, yet a child can be protected for life with oral vaccine drops.
"I hope that my contribution to The Rotary Foundation will help their tremendous challenge to end polio worldwide, and that one day we will be able to live in a world where lives are no longer ruined by this terrible disease," she said.
Majiyagbe said the gifts from Birla and Mittal reflect the strong support the polio eradication initiative has received over the years from Indian Rotary clubs and from the country’s government, general public, and private citizens.
“I am privileged to be able to recognize Mrs. Mittal for her outstanding contribution to global polio eradication,” said Majiyagbe. “Through her dedication, we are one step closer to a polio-free world.”