ImageOur Pennies and More for Polio challenge match has been incredibly successful. We have gone way over the top, raising and contributing $2.27 million!

Late last summer Rotarians in Canada accepted a challenge from the Government of Canada to raise One Million Dollars for Polio+ and CIDA would match it penny for penny, dollar for dollar. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also came on board and agreed to match Rotarians’ efforts to the same $ One Million.

The $ One Million had been agreed to as a stretch target for Rotarians and was within CIDA’s budget parameter’s. The Government of Canada gave us until March 1, 2013 to raise the funds, but given some unanticipated delays in getting to launch date, agreed that we could include contributions to Polio+ from June 1, 2012.

The name of the campaign came about from discussions surrounding the planned demise of the penny, but knowing that we would need to gather up more than pennies to reach the $ One Million mark. Well, that is what Rotarians and the Rotary family of Rotary Club’s Rotaractors and Interactors from coast to coast to coast did. Districts dug into their DDF, Clubs dug into their treasuries and held a variety of community events to raise awareness and funds to End Polio Now.

They went to work right away. By around the end of the calendar year and beginning of this year, we reached the $ One Million target. However, as every Rotarian knows every penny counts in our efforts to banish polio from the planet and by mid-February we had reached $1.5 million.

The Honorable Julian Fantino, Minister of International Cooperation was so impressed with our efforts that he announced at the Vancouver Peace Conference on Feb 23rd, that both the Government of Canada and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation would match whatever amount we had raised by the March 1st deadline. IPPC Chair, Bob Scott then challenged Canadian Rotarians to see if we could double the original target and get to $2 million. The response in the final week was incredible!

On March 1st, the Rotary Club of Toronto, as part of its centennial program presented a cheque for $100,000, to RI President Sakuji Tanaka, putting the contributions over the $2 million mark. When everything in process was tallied up, in total, more than $600,000 rolled in that last week. Absolutely fantastic!

Once again Canadian Rotarians have demonstrated our commitment to End Polio. We did that with the generous support of friends, families, our communities and other Rotarians like our friends in Zone 32. With the matching, our $2.27 Million results in a total of $6.8 million being contributed to the global initiative to rid the world of polio.  Our successful Pennies and More for Polio challenge was the result of much hard work, dedication and determination of so many Rotarians, with the wonderful support of our staff and those at CIDA and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

 A heartfelt thanks to everyone! We are Making a Difference and we will honour our commitment to the children of the world and end the scourge of polio. There is more yet to do, but clearly Rotarians are up to the challenge!