More than 65,000 people worldwide watched the #RotaryResponds virtual telethon on 2 May, which raised more than a half-million dollars for COVID-19 disaster response efforts.
In the online event hosted by Past Rotary International President Barry Rassin and Past RI Director John Smarge, members from around the world showed how their clubs and communities are fighting the pandemic caused by coronavirus. The money that was raised, more than $521,000, will fund at least 21 Rotary disaster response grants to pay for projects related to the pandemic.
The telethon, coordinated by Rotary Foundation Trustee Jennifer Jones, showed inspiring video messages from government dignitaries, including Alejandro Giammattei, president of Guatemala; Josephine Ojiambo, former Kenyan ambassador to the United Nations; Andrew Mitchell, member of parliament of the United Kingdom; Karina Gould, member of parliament of Canada; and BBC television personality Zara Janjua and RI President Mark Daniel Maloney. Musical entertainment included performances by Tara Watts and Rotary member Aaron Blomme.
“You [Rotary members] have risen to the occasion and adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, proving that the world needs Rotary now more than ever,” said Maloney. “I have never been more proud to be a Rotarian.”