SALT LAKE CITY – Utah Rotary District Governor Scott Leckman and Immediate-Past District Governor Beverly Christy are pleased to announce a donation in the amount of $1 million from LDS Charities, the humanitarian services arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This major gift to The Rotary Foundation, a non-profit corporation supporting the efforts of Rotary International to achieve world understanding and peace through international humanitarian, educational, and cultural exchange programs, will be used to continue Rotary’s ongoing effort to eradicate polio from the earth.
“We are grateful to the LDS Church for this generous donation on behalf of the world’s children. We are pleased to be in partnership with the Church in this greatest public health initiative in the history of humankind.” Leckman adds, “These funds will now be matched 2-to-1 by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one of our amazing partners in this effort.”
In 1979, Rotary’s first Health, Hunger and Humanity (3-H) Grant was to Rotarians in the Philippines to immunize 6 million children with the polio vaccine. The success of this effort led members worldwide to believe Rotarians could play a big role in public health. In 1985, Rotary announced its commitment to eradicate polio. It was the first organization to set this goal. In 1988, the WHO, joined in making the same commitment.
“When Rotary began the fight against polio about 1,000 kids in 125 countries around the world were diagnosed with polio … every day!” notes the longtime member of Salt Lake Rotary Club and a well-respected general surgeon in Salt Lake City. He adds, “In 2017, there were only 22 cases in the world – all in Afghanistan and Pakistan. That’s a drop in confirmed cases of more than 99 percent. Rotary has contributed more than $1.7 billion and countless volunteer hours to immunize more than 2.5 billion children in 122 countries. In addition, Rotary’s advocacy efforts have played a role in decisions by donor governments to contribute more than $7.2 billion to the effort. But we’re not yet to the finish line because as long as there remains a threat anywhere, it is a threat everywhere!”
“We are very grateful for this contribution and for the continuing positive relationship Rotarians in Utah have with LDS leadership,” states Carol Pandak, Director of Polio Plus at Rotary International, headquartered in Evanston, Illinois.
The church grant is specifically for polio immunizations for children in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
There are currently 35,565 chartered Rotary clubs in more than 200 countries worldwide, cutting across dozens of languages, political and social structures, customs, religions and traditions. On July 1, 2018 there were more than 1.2 million Rotarians “doing good in the world.”