Does Rotary Deserve More Credit?



Internationally, significant fundraising efforts are taking place. According to information given in Washington, D.C., by government and Rotary Foundation Officials, Rotary is number three in world contributions among major contributors. First is the United States Government, second is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Does this surprise you?  Because we as Rotarians have contributed 1.2 billion dollars since embarking on our number-one priority, many of us assume we have done the most.  If one considers the volunteer hours Rotarians give to the effort, perhaps we have.  Nevertheless, we tend to forget what our own government and others are doing.  Some of us are critical of people like Bill Gates for not giving Rotary enough credit.

Not long ago, Rotary General Secretary John Hewko pointed out the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation had contributed 1.5 Billion Dollars. He is a friend of Rotary and has influenced others like Michael Bloomberg to make contributions through Rotary.  Recently Michael Bloomberg's Foundation contributed $100 million because of Gates' endorsement. John Hewko has asked District Governors to help Rotarians understand Bill Gates does go out of his way to give Rotary credit.  Hewko pointed out:

"Mr. Gates has repeatedly given credit to our hard work and leadership.  As but one of many examples, consider that on the evening of the Bloomberg announcement, Mr. Gates and Mayor Bloomberg appeared on the popular Charlie Rose television talk show in the United States.  During the program, Mr. Gates praised Rotary’s leadership in polio eradication: “They’ve been involved from the very beginning,” he said. “We wouldn’t be anywhere near where we are without Rotary’s key partnership.” 

Many other governments and organizations worldwide are joining the funding alliance. The following recently appeared on

"A generous donation of $120 million (Dh440 million ) was also announced by General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, ahead of the discussions, which were conducted as part of the first Global Vaccine Summit in the capital.

“With global polio cases at a record low, the world has an historic opportunity to eradicate this debilitating disease within the next six years. Together, the international community can successfully tackle this challenge at this critical moment, and create a world without polio for future generations,” Shaikh Mohammad said.

General Shaikh Mohammad allocated specific contributions from his donation towards Afghanistan and Pakistan."

Given all who have joined the war on Polio, Rotary remains the service organization that has committed its focus to eradicating polio and will be given the most significant recognition when the war is won.  This is true, that is, if each of our Rotary clubs keeps up the fundraising effort.  Even with all those contributing in amounts large and small, not enough funds are available yet to win.  Winning, of course, means protecting children in impacted regions of the world and protecting all the children of the world from this devastating disease reemerging and spreading in the future.