Trustee chair sounds the call to Rotary’s US$100 Million Challenge
When the conversation turns to polio, Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Robert S. Scott is passionate about putting an end to the disease, and he believes Rotary’s US$100 Million Challenge will play a key role.
Scott, who also chairs the International PolioPlus Committee, spoke about the challenge during a recent Rotary media interview. The challenge is Rotary’s three-year fundraising effort to match the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s US$100 million grant to The Rotary Foundation for polio eradication.
“Each Rotary club is being asked to contribute at least $1,000 annually to the challenge for the next three years,” Scott said. “If you consider there are nearly 33,000 clubs in the world, their combined fundraising efforts would result in almost the full matching amount of $100 million.”
All Rotarians are invited to participate in the challenge, especially those who have joined Rotary since June 2005, when the last commitments to the previous polio eradication funding campaign were fulfilled. Rotary clubs chartered since that time are also a special focus.
“PolioPlus is Rotary’s only corporate program, and I believe that all Rotarians will want to share in the legacy of wiping out a disease that has caused so much disability and death worldwide,” Scott said. He added that Rotary Fellowships, Rotarian Action Groups, Rotary Foundation alumni, Rotaractors, and Interactors are also being invited to participate.
Although Rotary’s US$100 Million Challenge began 1 January, contributions started coming in earlier and have been credited since 1 December 2007. Rotary has until 31 December 2010 to match the Gates Foundation challenge grant. Contributions will be eligible for Paul Harris Fellow and other standard recognition, but no new recognition will be available.
Several resources are being produced to help Rotarians meet the challenge, including a DVD, PowerPoint presentation, brochure, and sample press releases. The tools will be available on the RI Web site and from RI headquarters and international offices. A task force is also providing oversight and direction to clubs and districts.
“Many Rotarians are also asking if Rotary’s US$100 Million Challenge is designed to supersede Every Rotarian, Every Year and the Rotary Centers Major Gifts Initiative,” Scott said. “The answer is no. Each effort is equally important, and Rotary is fully committed to funding all three.”
Will the Gates Foundation grant and Rotary’s US$100 Million Challenge cover the cost of eradicating polio?
“The $200 million that will be generated will be a vital catalyst in support of polio eradication,” Scott said. “However, more will be needed to finish the job. Rotary along with its partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative ― the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and now the Gates Foundation ― must continue to be advocates for donor nation support to help fund the push to finish polio once and for all.”