Bill Gates made honorary member of Seattle club
William Gates Sr., center, helps fasten a Rotary pin to his son's lapel during the Rotary Club of Seattle's centennial celebration. Also pictured is Seattle club president Nancy Sclater. The club made the younger Gates an honorary member, joining his dad, who is already an honorary member. Photo courtesy of Mike Urban
Bill Gates, cochair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was made an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Seattle during the club's centennial celebration 5 March.
More than 1,000 Rotarians and community leaders attended the event, held at the Washington State Convention and Trade Center, to pay tribute to the club's 100 years of service. Gates, Microsoft cofounder and chair, delivered the keynote address.
"As Rotary spread across the globe, so did the principle of Service Above Self," he said. "Rotary provides the infrastructure for scaling up one of the best ideas that human beings ever had: that helping others is not just a duty -- it's fun and rewarding."
William Gates Sr., also an honorary member of the Seattle club and Gates Foundation cochair, attended the event and helped fasten a Rotary pin to his son's lapel.
Earlier this year, Bill Gates attended Rotary's International Assembly in San Diego, California, to announce a new grant of $255 million from the Gates Foundation to support Rotary's efforts to eradicate polio. That amount came in addition to the $100 million Gates Foundation challenge grant awarded to Rotary in 2007. The total matching effort in response is called Rotary's US$200 Million Challenge, which must be completed by 30 June 2012. Together, Rotary and the Gates Foundation have committed $555 million in the fight to end polio.
Seattle club president Nancy Sclater said the club has fully embraced Rotary's efforts to eradicate the disease.
"We absolutely must finish ensuring that polio never affects anyone again," she said.
Sclater also looked ahead to the club's second century of service. Its centennial project will create a support center for homeless families at a cost of $4.2 million.
The Seattle club is Rotary's fourth oldest and one of its largest, with nearly 700 members. During its 100 years, the club has raised millions of dollars to help support the visual and performing arts, enhance educational opportunities for youth, improve outdoor and recreational environments, provide food for the underprivileged, and distribute aid to the homeless and people with disabilities.