The Foundation is the $1 billion charitable arm of Rotary International. To mark the centennial, Rotary aims to raise $300 million by July 2017 for its campaign to eradicate polio and for service in communities around the world.
Established in 1917 with a donation of $26.50, The Rotary Foundation is dedicated to advancing world understanding, goodwill, and peace. Through grants and other resources, Rotary members develop sustainable projects that promote peace, fight disease, provide clean water, support education, save mothers and children, and grow local economies.
Rotary’s top priority is the global eradication of polio. Rotary launched its polio immunization program, PolioPlus, in 1985 and in 1988 became a leading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative along with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and more recently, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Rotary has contributed more than $1.5 billion and countless volunteer hours to eradicate polio. Through 2018, every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication will be matched 2-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, up to $35 million a year. Since the initiative began, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to less than 71 confirmed in 2015.