Structures around the world, including the new Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation campus in Seattle, provided backdrops for the powerful message: End Polio Now. Those three words – representing Rotary’s pledge to rid the world of this crippling childhood disease – illuminated structures during the week surrounding February 23, Rotary’s 106th anniversary.
Although the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation campus at 500 Fifth Avenue North in Seattle is still under construction, the illumination projected on the northeast side of the campus was visible from Mercer Street and 6th Avenue North. The building was lit on Wednesday, February 23 at 6:00PM and remained lit through the night.
Bill Gates, Sr., local Rotarians Ezra Teshome, Rosemary Aragon, Pete Taylor (Tacoma Rotary Club), Roy Mann, Stan Miner as well as staff from the Gates Foundation witnessed the illumination in Seattle. KPLU Humanosphere blogger, Tom Paulson, also attended and wrote about the illumination in his daily blog. humanosphere.kplu.org/2011/02/before-bill-gates-there-was-ezra-and-the-sprocketeers. In addition, ABC News highlighted Rotary’s work around the world with a spot featuring Itzhak Perlman. abcnews.go.com/Health/video/battle-eradicate-polio-12981942.
Rotarians worldwide have contributed more than $1 billion and countless volunteer hours to the polio eradication effort. “We’re delighted to help spread Rotary’s message and to recognize Rotary’s leadership in the fight to eradicate polio,” said Apoorva Mallya, Program Officer at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Gates Foundation has provided more than $355 million to the Rotary Foundation’s PolioPlus program in support of Rotary’s hands-on efforts to eradicate polio.
Polio eradication has been Rotary’s top priority for more than two decades. In addition to the Gates Foundation, Rotary is a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, along with the World Health Organization, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and UNICEF.
Along with the Gates Foundation campus, other sites illuminated on February 23, 2011 included: India’s Charminar in Hyderabad, India; the KPT Government Building in Karachi, Pakistan; Kanazawa Castle, in Kanazawa, Japan; Taipei 101 Building, Taiwan; the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy; Fort San Cristobel in San Juan, Puerto Rico; the New York Stock Exchange Building in New York City, USA; Byblos Castle in Byblos, Lebanon; and the Dutch Parliament Building in The Hague, The Netherlands. Photos of the lightings are viewable on the Rotary International website. www.rotary.org/en/mediaandnews/presscenter/lightings/Pages/ridefault.aspx
NOTE: The attached photo, provided courtesy of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is available for use on club websites and newsletters.