Rotary Fellowships pitch in for polio eradication
Above: About 150 Rotarians and their families gathered for the New York City marathon in November to promote Rotary and raise $3,500 for PolioPlus. Below: Fellowship members from countries including France, Germany, and Tunisia wore Rotary shirts and shorts during a friendship run before the marathon. Photo courtesy of the International Marathon Fellowship of Rotarians
Rotary Fellowships are finding creative ways to do their part to meet Rotary's US$200 Million Challenge, including running in marathons and auctioning off quilts, to name a few.
In November, 150 members of the International Marathon Fellowship of Rotarians ran the famed New York City marathon. With the help of the Rotary Club of Metro New York City, the four-year-old fellowship attracted other Rotary clubs, families, and community members as sponsors to raise $3,500 for PolioPlus.
The event was a great opportunity for global fellowship, as the New York runners welcomed their counterparts from Andorra, Austria, France, Germany, and Tunisia. The day before the marathon, the Rotarians took to the streets to promote Rotary's causes, wearing shirts with the Rotary colors of royal blue and gold for a friendship run from the United Nations headquarters to Central Park.
"We were proud to wear our running shirts marked [with] Rotary along the New York streets," says Jean-Claude Brocart, of the Rotary Club of Toulouse Ovalie, France. "It was an unforgettable experience. All along the way, an enthusiastic and enormous crowd encouraged the runners."
The Rotarian's Wine Appreciation Fellowship challenged members to raise $100 each for polio, and pledged to match the first 50 contributors. Those contributors also received a lifetime membership in the fellowship. In December, the group sent a check for $10,000 to The Rotary Foundation, earmarked for PolioPlus.
The fundraising effort even helped the fellowship add new members, especially from India, one of the four remaining polio-endemic countries.
"Fifty Rotarians, many of them new fellowship members, participated. A new chapter is being started in District 5320 (California) as a result," says Past District Governor Conrad Heede, the fellowship’s president. "The success of this initiative and the recent increase in the Gates grant prompted us to set aside another $2,500 to match the additional contributions from 25 more new members with an interest in wine."
As a result, the fellowship sent another $5,000 in April to the Foundation.
The Rotarian Fellowship of Quilters and Fiber Artists plans to lend its talents to the cause during the 2009 RI Convention in Birmingham, England, 21-24 June. Rotarian quilters will auction off handmade quilts, with proceeds going toward polio eradication. Last year, the group raised $3,000 for polio during the RI Convention in Los Angeles. This year's convention attendees can visit the fellowship’s booth or check its Web site for more information.
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