Rotary International is one of the largest service organizations in the world, bringing together business and professional leaders to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and to advance goodwill and peace around the world. There are over 30,000 Rotary Clubs worldwide and over 1.2 million Rotarians. There are six areas of focus where Rotarians focus their efforts: peace and conflict prevention/resolution, disease prevention and treatment, water and sanitation, maternal and child health, basic education and literacy, and economic and community development.
Perhaps one of the most notable projects spearheaded by Rotary International was the establishment of the PolioPlus Program in 1985, which was the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication. Rotary has contributed more than $1.6 billion and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries. Rotary is part of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) and works with the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the polio eradication effort. Currently, there are only three countries that have never stopped transmission of the wild poliovirus: Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan. In 2015, there was less than 75 polio cases confirmed worldwide. Every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication will be matched two-to-one by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation up to $35 million a year through 2018. Together, we are “this close” to ending polio.