Rotary Foundation

The Rotary Foundation

The mission of The Rotary Foundation is to enable Rotarians to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.

The Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation supported solely by voluntary contributions from Rotarians and friends of the Foundation who share its vision of a better world.

Rotarians partner together on National Immunization Day in Moradabad, India.



RI, Gates Foundation commit US$200 million

One of Rotary Foundation's best known projects is the Polio Eradication Project.  All clubs worldwide contribute to this fund.

Bill Gates, cofounder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, gives a baby the oral polio vaccine at the Shadnagar community health clinic in Andhra Pradesh, India, in 2002.

Rotary International announced a partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation on 26 November that will inject a much needed US$200 million into the global effort to eradicate polio.

The Rotary Foundation received a $100 million Gates Foundation challenge grant, which Rotary will raise funds to match, dollar for dollar, over three years.

Rotary will spend the initial $100 million within one year in direct support of immunization activities carried out by the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, spearheaded by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Unicef.

"The extraordinary dedication of Rotary members has played a critical role in bringing polio to the brink of eradication," says Bill Gates, cochair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "Eradicating polio will be one of the most significant public health accomplishments in history, and we are committed to helping reach that goal."

The polio eradication grant is one of the largest challenge grants ever given by the Gates Foundation and the largest grant received by Rotary in its 102-year history. Since 1985, Rotary has made polio eradication its top priority and has contributed $633 million to the effort. 

"Rotarians worldwide have worked very hard over the years to reach this point, and it is rewarding to see our approach validated in such a significant way by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation," says Dr. Robert Scott, chair of The Rotary Foundation Trustees. "We hope that this shared commitment of Rotary and the Gates Foundation will challenge other donors, including foundations, governments, and nongovernmental organizations, to step up and make sure we have the resources needed to rid the world of polio once and for all."

"This partnership is a historic milestone - and timely opportunity - for Rotary through the Global Polio Eradication Initiative to help eradicate a disease that once devastated a thousand lives a day," says RI President Wilfrid Wilkinson. "I know that we as Rotarians will accept the challenge and do our part to finish the job."

Burmese troops distribute Rotary aid in Rotary Shelter Boxes.