The top philanthropic priority of Rotary, and the cause to which Rotary donates the most money worldwide, is our campaign to eradicate polio. Rotarians, along with our partners, have reduced polio cases by 99.9 percent worldwide since the very first Rotary project to vaccinate children in the Philippines in 1979. We are close to eradicating polio, but we need to finish the fight - “almost” isn’t good enough when this crippling disease threatens children in this era of easily available global travel and refugee flows.

Club President Paul Wynkoop has established a goal of $26.50 per Club member for our club this year, which began July 1st, 2019 and runs through June 30th, 2020. .   

To date, Rotarians have helped immunize more than 2.5 billion children against polio in 122 countries. For as little as $0.60, a child can be protected against this crippling disease for life. You can easily see that your donation goes a very long way at 60 cents per child. 

While we focus on polio plus donations during the month of October, you can, of course, make a donation at any time during this Rotary Year. Your gift to the PolioPlus Fund is eligible for Paul Harris Society recognition. You may also donate online, here, or by writing a check to the Club and marking it “for Polio Plus” before giving it to our Treasurer or her representative at any Club meeting. 

Donations from Club members who have achieved their first Paul Harris Recognition are matched 3:1 (for every $3 donated, the Club matches it with $1). And, Club members who have yet to achieve their first Paul Harris are matched 1:1 when their donations to the Annual Fund and/or Polio Plus reach $500 - which means the Club donates $500. After the Club match, all Polio Plus donations are matched an additional 2:1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which means that for every dollar plus the Club match donated by a Rotarian, the Gates Foundation will add two dollars, up to a total of 35 million dollars each year. 

Polio eradication, for us, is relatively simple - we donate to help move this enormously important global project forward. It’s not dangerous for us. But for eradicators in Nigerian, Pakistan and Afghanistan, the situation remains quite dangerous, and they still labor under the threat of disruption, or worse - a mother and daughter team immunizing children were shot dead in northern Pakistan this past winter. It can be an extremely tough and challenging fight in the tribal areas of northern Pakistan along the Afghan border, given normal population flows exacerbated by war and threats of violence, Yet - the teams persist, now under much more stringent government protection.  

In addition to these three countries, in which the transmission of the wild poliovirus has never been stopped, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), in which we Rotarians play a key role, also supports countries that experience or are vulnerable to the rise of vaccine-derived polio viruses (VDPVs), which are rare and only occur when polio vaccination rates are low. When VDPV cases occur, high levels of vaccination, robust surveillance, and rapid outbreak response are critical.

Here is where the numbers stand this week:

GPEI is also working to strengthen surveillance and immunization systems in the African and Eastern Mediterranean regions of the World Health Organization to ensure that polio has truly ended and immunity against the virus improves. In many countries of the world, surveillance against polio is maintained through the GPEI, and vaccination activities continue, to make sure children remain protected as long as there is polio anywhere.

This Fact Sheet provides a good one-page summary of where we are on a global level, and of the end game against polio.

 Pete Leenhouts, as our Foundation Committee Chair, can provide more information should you need it. Please help us attain our goal - the complete eradication of polio! 




Interested in being a sponsor?
Download the website sponsorship guide