Couple’s $1.1 million gift boosts push to eradicate polio

Rotary member Terry Caster and his wife, Barbara, gave $1.1 million to Rotary to help eradicate polio.
Photo Credit: Alyce Henson/Rotary International

Rotary member Terry Caster and his wife, Barbara, announced a $1.1 million gift to Rotary to help eradicate polio. What’s more, their gift will be matched two-for-one by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, resulting in $3.3 million in new funding for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative

The Casters' gift is one of the largest-ever individual contributions to Rotary for polio eradication. In addition to supporting our No. 1 goal of a polio-free world, the couple gave $750,000 to the Rotary Peace Centers to fund a peace fellow’s studies every other year. Both gifts were made to The Rotary Foundation in December.

"Barbara and I are blessed to be fruitful in our family business, A-1 Self Storage," said Terry, the company's founder and a member of the Rotary Club of La Mesa in California. "We've always felt it is important to give back and help others, so we are involved in numerous charities. 

"But as a Rotarian, I can think of no cause more worthy than Rotary's work to end polio and promote peace," said Terry, who received Rotary's Service Above Self Award in 1993 for his humanitarian work.

Since the 1960s, the Casters have actively supported humanitarian efforts in San Diego and across the border in Tijuana, Mexico. They founded Serving Hands International in 1982 to help the poor in Baja California. After meeting Mother Teresa, the couple were inspired to expand SHI’s work in Mexico.

Rotary is a leading partner in the fight to end polio. Through our advocacy, fundraising, and public awareness efforts, Rotary has helped reduce polio cases by 99 percent worldwide. The End Polio Now, Make History Today fundraising campaign makes contributions work three times as hard with matching funds from the Gates Foundation. 

The announcement of the Casters' gift was made in San Diego at Rotary's International Assembly, an annual training event for the incoming class of governors who represent Rotary's 537 districts worldwide.

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