$1.00 from a Rotarian earns $1.00 from the Government of Canada and $1.00 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to End Polio!

End Polio 3-4-1

After several months of negotiations between the Canadian government and senior Canadian Rotary leaders, the Canadian government has agreed to match Canadian Rotarian donations to Polio through the Rotary Foundation. The match from the Canadian government is 1:1 but the other exciting news is that the Gates Foundation will also match 1:1 on the Rotarian donations to make it a 3:1 donation on behalf of Canadian Rotarians. There is a $1 million limit on both the government and Gates donations. The match is for donations made between 1 June 2012 and 31 March 2013.

Members of the service club Rotary International have been working hard to rid the world of Polio since 1985.   Since that time more than 2 billion children have been immunized in Rotary International’s most ambitious program ever.  To date Rotary and its’ members have contributed over a billion dollars.  Rotary’s leadership inspired the World Health Assembly to pass a resolution to eradicate polio, which paved the way for the formation of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988.

In 1988 there were 125 countries where children were afflicted by the disease. India, long regarded as the nation facing the greatest challenges, has been polio-free for 18 months. Polio remains endemic in three countries – Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

Thousands of Rotarians around the world have volunteered during National Immunization Days to immunize children.  The PolioPlus program helps Rotary fund operational costs, such as transportation, vaccine delivery, social mobilization, and training of health workers, and support surveillance activities.  Rotarians work to encourage both donor and polio-affected governments to commit the political and financial resources needed to eradicate polio.

Now Rotarians are delighted to receive news that after several months of negotiations the Government of Canada, the Rotary Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation present an opportunity for Canadians to get even closer to ending polio- forever.   The Government of Canada, though the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) will support the Rotary Foundation's fundraising goal of $1 million toward polio eradication by providing funds to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) at a ratio of $1 for every $1 raised by Rotarians in Canada, up to a maximum of $1 million. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will likewise provide funds of equal value at a ratio of $1 for every $1 raised by Rotarians in Canada. This will result in every dollar raised by the Rotary Foundation in Canada until March 1, 2013, leveraging an additional $2.

The District Governor for Rotary International District 7820 (which includes Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and the French islands of St Pierre & Miquelon)) is Tom McCaughey – who says this is literally a shot in the arm for Rotarians.  “This initiative will generate a greater awareness and understanding by Canadians of efforts regarding polio eradication; a way for Canadian individuals, groups, and organizations to contribute directly to polio eradication; and additional resources for polio eradication.  Since 1988 we have watched polio shrink from 125 endemic countries to 3.  We are 99% of the way there.  We cannot give up.  We are too close.  If we gave up we would be back where we were in 1988.  We must seize this opportunity by acting immediately, or risk breaking our pledge to the world's children."

A 2010 study found that if polio transmission were to be stopped by 2015, the net benefit from reduced treatment costs and productivity would be $40 billion to $50 billion by 2035. 

You may donate to End Polio Now and take advantage of the matching dollars at http://www.trfcanada.org/

Text of news release courtesy of District 7820