Resourceful fundraisers fuel Rotary's US$200 Million Challenge
Past District Governor Jeff Coup and Eric McDowell, both members of the Rotary Club of Milton, Pennsylvania, USA, join Rotary Pedals Out Polio riders at a stop in Milton to receive a contribution for the polio eradication campaign. Photo courtesy of the Rotary Club of Milton
Rotarians have raised US$185 million for Rotary's US$200 Million Challenge to help underwrite the cost of ending polio around the world. Although the challenge runs through 30 June, it is vital that fundraising efforts continue until the disease is finished.
Many clubs are enlisting the support of their communities. Rotarians in Australia and New Zealand, in cooperation with 20th Century Fox, held a benefit screening of the movie Conviction at 36 theaters in February, netting $54,000 for Rotary’s challenge. A fashion show sponsored by the Rotary Club of Fremont Warm Springs Sunrise, California, USA, garnered more than $52,000 in March. And in a weeklong project organized by the Rotary Club of Pondicherry-Cosmos, Pondicherry, India, 3,000 students at Petit Seminaire Higher Secondary School raised $25,000.
Walking in Tanzania to end polio
More than 320 Rotarians and friends of Rotary walked through Moshi, Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, in June, raising about $38,000 and boosting awareness of the disease. A marching band, polio surviors, and Rotarians wearing red End Polio Now T-shirts led the walk, organized by the Rotary Club of Moshi and several others.
Reginald Mengi, founder and executive chair of IPP Group, one of the largest conglomerates in East Africa, called on businesses to help eradicate polio. Leading by example, Mengi contributed $32,000 to the event.
"This is called corporate social responsibility," he said. "You must give back to the community."
Both Mengi and Stephen Mwanje, 2010-11 governor of District 9200, encouraged parents to have their children immunized against polio.
"We must be aware and take all measures, since the disease can spread here within a short period of time," Mwanje said.
Rotarians ride in Pennsylvania
District 7370 (Pennsylvania, USA) sponsored a four-day, 330-mile bicycle tour of all 34 of its communities. Rotarians and friends donated at least $25 each to ride in the June event, called Rotary Pedals Out Polio.
"Most people made donations online, as 'virtual' riders," said Past District Governor Jeff Coup, who came up with the idea for the tour and has served as the district's PolioPlus subcommittee chair since the program began in 1985. "We also had radio and a lot of newspaper coverage all through the district. Some clubs arranged for police escorts for us as we entered or left town. One arranged a PolioPlus billboard on our route."
The fundraiser netted more than $21,000 for Rotary's challenge. Key to its success, said Coup, was "a great district committee that did the publicity, did a website with all the information, processed all the donations," and handled other tasks. "The event really reawakened awareness of the polio eradication cause in our district among Rotarians and the general public."
Plan for World Polio Day
It’s not too early to plan for World Polio Day, 24 October, an excellent opportunity for your club and district to support the global effort to eradicate the disease.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
For more examples of polio eradication fundraisers and other news about Rotary's US$200 Million Challenge, subscribe to the End Polio Now newsletter.