This afternoon at the International Assembly, we had the pleasure of announcing that the Challenge has surpassed the US$200 million mark and has raised US$202.6 million as of 17 January 2011.
In addition Jeff Raikes, Chief Executive Officer of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was at the Assembly and announced that the Gates Foundation has awarded The Rotary Foundation an additional US$50 million grant for polio eradication. The new $50 million grant from the Gates Foundation is not a challenge grant; it results from Rotary’s early achievement of the $200 million milestone and of the need for continued funding support for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative.
We must remember, however, that this achievement is just one more milestone in our journey to eradicate polio. Most importantly, our ultimate goal is the certification of the eradication of polio. Rotarians are continuing to raise funds for the challenge, which officially concludes on 30 June 2012, and as Rotary leaders, we should encourage their continued involvement. We are confident that we will far exceed our $200 million goal, just as Rotarians have done in all previous campaigns.
Thank you for all you have done and will continue to do to help us reach our ultimate goal, the certification of polio eradication. Together we will End Polio Now.
John F. Germ, Chair Robert S. Scott, Chair
Rotary’s Challenge Committee International PolioPlus Committee