Rotary News -- 6 March 2013

Rotarians in Canada, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have raised approximately C$6 million for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative through Pennies and More for Polio.

The Rotarians raised C$2 million of the total, which was matched dollar for dollar by CIDA and the Gates Foundation. Final fundraising figures will be available soon.

Matching contributions for the effort, announced by the Canadian government at a high-level side meeting on polio eradication during the United Nations General Assembly in September, were initially capped at $1 million. After the Rotarians exceeded their $1 million goal in December, however, the Canadian government and the Gates Foundation committed to match all contributions until 1 March.

“Canada applauds the successful efforts of Rotarians in Canada in collecting funds for combating this devastating disease,” said Julian Fantino, minister of International Cooperation, at the Rotarians for Peace Symposium in Toronto on 2 March.

"Canadian Rotarians are encouraged by the support from the Canadian Government over many years and in particular with the recent effort to raise matching funds well beyond the target of one million dollars," said Dr. Robert Scott, chair of Rotary’s International PolioPlus Committee. "The eradication of polio, with this and future cooperation, will more quickly become a reality."

"This innovative program is another example of Canada's and Rotarians' long-time commitment and leadership to ensuring children are forever protected from this debilitating yet preventable disease," said Chris Elias, president of the Global Development Program at the Gates Foundation.