Rotary clubs are celebrating a major milestone reached in the humanitarian service organization's global fundraising campaign to eradicate polio – with nearly US$100 million raised .

 
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World Polio Day – Rotary nears halfway mark in challenge

 
In recognition of World Polio Day, Rotary clubs are celebrating a major milestone reached in the humanitarian service organization's global fundraising campaign to eradicate polio – with nearly US$100 million raised.
 
As part of a US$355 million challenge grant awarded to Rotary by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary clubs worldwide are aiming to raise a total of US$200 million by 2012.
 
Since 1985, eradicating polio worldwide has been Rotary's top philanthropic goal. In addition to the funds announced today, Rotary has contributed more than $800 million and countless volunteer hours to the protection of more than two billion children in 122 countries. The disease remains endemic in just four countries – Afghanistan, India, Nigeria, and Pakistan – although other countries remain at risk for imported cases.
 
"We have come a long way," said Glenn E. Estess, Sr., Trustee Chair of the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. "We have reduced the number of polio cases by over 99 percent. But we can't let up now. The remaining one percent is proving to be the most challenging, since the poliovirus persists in the most intractable parts of the world. We have the tools to eradicate this devastating disease. It's up to us to make sure we have the resources needed to reach every child."