By LARRY JONES
Governor, District 7190
Rotarians around the world are celebrating the announcement from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that it is renewing the partnership with Rotary International to continue the battle to eradicate polio.
This additional commitment of up to $450 million underscores the viability of the combined worldwide effort to eliminate this disease. When polio was at its worst it was crippling 350,000 people, mostly children, each year. Today, largely due to the coordinating efforts of Rotary in partnership with foundations like the Gates organization and governments worldwide, polio annually is crippling fewer than 50 people each year. And soon, the number will be zero.
Similarly, Rotary partners with other organizations around the world in a wide variety of activities. Dozens of Rotary-founded organizations connect Rotarians to wherever the need is greatest. In communities around the world, local and international organizations partner with Rotary clubs to solve problems as only private partnerships can.
Rotarians in District 7190 contribute more than 44,000 volunteer hours each year, with an approximate in-kind value of $780,000, to polio eradication efforts that directly benefit our communities, and Rotary is attracting new members who are looking for a way to connect to service opportunities.
How about you? In addition to participating with the many ways local Rotary clubs are making a difference, you also will develop and establish a strong network of professionals who share business and community values similar to yours. Even more, you will have many opportunities and ways to participate in dynamic projects around the world together with 1.23 million Rotarians in more than 33,000 clubs worldwide. Whether you’re traveling for pleasure or volunteering to better humankind, virtually anywhere there is a need you can find Rotary already working in that community.
You probably already give some service to the community. Otherwise, I doubt you’d still be reading this message. But, would you like to go deeper? Do you want to learn more? Just contact me, and I’ll make sure to connect you with Rotarians engaging the community where you live or where you work.
This year the international Rotary theme is “Rotary Connects The World.” But, it’s not just a theme, it’s a way of shaping your efforts. We are on the lookout for passionate people with a desire — indeed a need — to serve their community, globally and locally. It starts with you. Reach out to me or another local Rotarian today. Then, let’s get busy!