The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Bill Gates helps Rotary

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


Bill and Melinda Gates are no strangers to polio. Melinda has an Aunt Myra who worked for many years taking reservations for Delta Airlines. Prior to moving to Dallas she had previously lived in New Orleans until the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina. Melinda’s aunt has polio since she was a little girl and wears brace.

Because of this Bill and Melinda’s children are well aware of polio. Otherwise it would be just a historical fact they learned at school.

In 1989 the Gates Foundation made its first donation of $50 million after Ted Turner donated $25 Million. It was Ted’s idea that as Bill was twice as rich as him, he should donate twice as much!

In January 2009, Bill addressed the annual Rotary conference and informed all Rotarians attending, and Club members worldwide that with our help we would eradicate polio together.

A generous US$355 million gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would be given to Rotary if our organisation could part match with US$200m by June 2012, to be used in the fight against polio.

Rotary accepted this challenge on behalf of all its members worldwide and was successful in raising the money by January 2012 – six months ahead of schedule.

In June 2013, the Rotary International Convention was this time held in Lisbon, Portugal, a meeting attended by our District Governor elect Dick Nathan. (Dick reported back on this to the Club during his visit on 2nd September – please see separate article).

During the convention the following announcement was made by Jeff Raikes, the Gates Foundation’s chief executive officer “Going forward, the Gates Foundation will match two-to-one, up to US$35 million per year, every dollar Rotary commits to reduce the funding shortfall for polio eradication through to 2018”. “If fully realised the value of this new partnership with Rotary is more than $500 million. In this way, your contributions to Polio eradication will work twice as hard”

Jeff’s announcement went into more detail, which can be found, on the Gates Foundation Website.

The joint effort is called End Polio Now-Make History Today.

Should you wish to make a donation to this cause, please send a cheque or postal order made payable to Eradicate Polio to our Foundation Chairman Dr Seye Lokulo-Sodie or contact him via Lewisham & Penge Rotary.

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