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Gates Foundation to host 2017 World Polio Day


For the first time, Rotary’s World Polio Day celebration heads to the West Coast of the United States. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of our partners in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, will host the annual event at its campus in downtown Seattle, Washington, on 24 October. You can watch the event live at 14:30 Seattle time (UTC-7) or view a recording later.

Sue Desmond-Hellmann, the Gates Foundation’s chief executive, will brief the supporters who attend — as well as the global audience watching via livestream — on progress in the eradication campaign. Only 11 new cases of polio caused by wild poliovirus have been reported this year, all in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

At the 2017 Rotary International Convention in Atlanta, Bill Gates renewed and increased his foundation’s pledge to match, 2-to-1, all contributions to The Rotary Foundation that are designated for polio eradication efforts. Rotary’s commitments and pledges from world governments and corporate donors, counted along with the Gates Foundation’s pledge, have made the campaign to eliminate polio worldwide $1.3 billion stronger.

Other speakers at this year’s World Polio Day event include Jay Wenger, director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s polio eradication efforts; Dean Rohrs, vice president of Rotary International; John Cena and Tiwa Savage, Rotary polio ambassadors; Ade Adepitan, a Paralympian and polio survivor; and Jeffrey Kluger, senior editor at Time magazine overseeing science and health reporting.

Attendees may also draw inspiration from the setting — the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation headquarters, near Seattle’s iconic Space Needle.

Last year, Rotarians in more than 90 countries registered over 1,400 events and fundraisers to mark World Polio Day in their communities and draw attention to Rotary’s leadership in the fight against polio. With your contributions and advocacy, as well as the Gates Foundation match, we’re aiming to raise $250,000 during this year’s celebration.

Register your event, or find resources for planning one, at Rotary clubs across the globe have already registered more than 700 events.