Rotary celebrates 100th year

By Michael Touchstone, Jefferson Rotary Club

RotaryJefferson Rotary Club included the public joining them for birthday cake on Saturday, May 6th, from 11 to noon in front of The First National Bank, as they celebrated the 100th birthday of The Rotary Foundation.

The Foundation was the result of a speech by then Rotary Pres­ident Arch Klumph at the Rotary Convention in 1917, in Atlanta, Georgia. The Foundation struggled for years until the death of Rotary Founder Paul Harris in 1947, who asked that instead of monuments or flowers, that any donations received in his name be given to The Foundation. Rotary received over $1.3 million as a result, and then began to grow. Later, in 1947, Rotary Interna­tional began its first program, awarding scholarships for inter­national graduate study. The Foundation continued to progress until 1979.

When what was to become Rotary’s number one priority was decided by the new Health, Hunger, and Humanity program. 3-H, as it was called, chose as its first goal to immunize over 6 million Philippine children against polio. In 1980, 3-H set a target date for the elimination of polio by 2005, and the fight was on.

Through the years, 3-H and later PolioPlus would battle polio around the world; raising almost $220 million by 1988. Then in 2007 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave Rotary a $100 million challenge grant, which they raised to $200 million in 2009. By 2012, Rotary had met and exceeded that challenge by contributing $228 million to fight polio. Because of these efforts, and in partnership with W.H.O. (The World Health Organization) and others, the number of countries with active polio cases had dropped to two by 2015. As the end is hopefully in sight for the effort against this disease, Rotary continues to expand its hu­manitarian work in other areas.

Promoting peace, providing clean water, establishing child­hood and adult education, and supporting and helping local economies to grow whenever possible, are all important priori­ties worldwide.

“Service above Self” continues to be our…

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