US$200 Million Challenge
The single greatest threat to Rotary’s top goal of polio eradication is a funding gap, which Rotary is helping to address. The Concert to End Polio, held in Chicago in March 2011 and featuring violinist Itzhak Perlman (below), raised more than $100,000 for Rotary’s efforts to eradicate the disease.
Confident in Rotary’s commitment to the effort, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation awarded Rotary two grants totaling $355 million. Rotary’s US$200 Million Challenge, which runs through 30 June 2012, had raised $184 million as of 30 June 2011.
Rotary’s leadership is a critical factor. “We invite donor governments from around the world to join the Gates Foundation and the ongoing commitment by Rotary’s 1.2 million members worldwide, and to rapidly make available flexible funding critically needed to implement all activities of the (Global Polio Eradication Initiative) strategic plan,” said Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Carl-Wilhelm Stenhammar.