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Timeline: Partners in eradicating polio

Rotary has been working to eradicate polio for more than 30 years. Since 1979, we have vaccinated more than 2.5 billion children. But we haven't done it alone. Here is a timeline for our partnerships.

  • 1979-early 1980s

    Rotary undertakes a series of polio immunization campaigns throughout Southeast Asia and Latin America, beginning with one in 1979 in the Philippines and followed by similar activities in Cambodia, Haiti, Morocco, Paraguay, and Sierra Leone.

  • 1985

    Rotary introduces PolioPlus – the first effort to immunize every child in the world with polio vaccine – and aims to raise $120 million. During its 1988 convention in Philadelphia, Rotary announces it has raised $247 million, more than double the target amount.

  • 1988

    Rotary pushes forward the global resolution to eradicate polio at the 1988 World Health Assembly in Geneva. It also spearheads the launch of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the World Health Organization, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF.

  • 2002-03

    Rotary launches the Polio Eradication Fundraising Campaign with a fundraising target of $80 million. The campaign, netting $135 million, eclipses Rotary’s goal. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation contributes $1 million when it honors Rotary with its Gates Award for Global Health, its first gift to Rotary’s efforts to end polio.

  • 2007

    The Gates Foundation announces its first major grant to polio eradication – a $100 million challenge to Rotary, promising to match funds raised by Rotarians.

  • 2009

    Bill Gates pledges an additional $255 million at Rotary’s International Assembly, and Rotary increases its fundraising goal to $200 million.

  • 2011

    Bill Gates speaks at the Rotary International Convention in New Orleans.

  • 2012

    Rotary raises $228.7 million, surpassing the original goal of $200 million. In the same year, Jeff Raikes, then-CEO of the Gates Foundation, announces an additional $50 million contribution to polio eradication efforts at Rotary’s International Assembly.

  • 2013

    An announcement at the Rotary International Convention in Lisbon sets the stage for a new extension of the partnership between Rotary and the Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation agrees to match 2-to-1 every dollar committed by Rotary, up to $35 million per year, through 2018. Throughout the campaign, Rotary exceeds its annual fundraising goal.

  • 2017

    On the heels of the success of the 2-to-1 matching grant, Rotary and the Gates Foundation announce an increased combined pledge of up to $450 million at the Rotary International Convention in Atlanta. Rotary’s new goal is to contribute $50 million per year over three years. With a 2-to-1 match, the Gates Foundation’s contribution will increase to $300 million if Rotary reaches its fundraising target.

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