Rotarian to donate $2 million to Help End Polio

Rotary's efforts to eradicate Polio have gotten a US$2 million boost from a Rotarians diamond and jewelry magnate

Harshad Mehta, a native of India who is a senior partner in the Belgium-based Rosy Blue diamond and jewelry company, has pledged to donate the money to Rotary’s polio eradication efforts over the next three years.
Mehta, the largest Indian donor to The Rotary Foundation, was inspired to make the commitment after learning about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s $100 million challenge grant for polio eradication. Rotary must match the grant dollar for dollar over a three-year period.

Foundation Trustee Chair Robert S. Scott recalls a conversation with him in December, when Mehta suddenly said, “I will give $2 million toward the match.” It was “a very exciting development and an extremely generous” commitment, says Scott.

Mehta, 60, joined the Rotary Club of Bombay Metropolitan in 1986 as a charter member. His previous contributions to The Rotary Foundation have totaled more than $1 million. Some of the money has been used to endow an Ambassadorial Scholarship that finances recipients’ studies at universities.

Mehta serves as chair of the United Arab Emirates operations of Rosy Blue, a family business that employs more than 15,000 people around the world. He’s also Armenia’s honorary consul in Mumbai and the vice chair of the Dubai Diamond Exchange. He is a past chair of the Gem and Jewelry Export Promotion Council and a past vice president of the Federation of Indian Export Organizations.

In his spare time, he enjoys reading, listening to music, walking, swimming, playing cricket, and spending time with his wife, three children, and five grandchildren.

In the final push to stop polio, Mehta urges Rotarians not to give up. “We must further strengthen our resolve as we are so close to the ultimate goal,” he says. “Any slackening at this point will result in a total loss of all the time, effort, and money put in over the past years.”

Polio Gains

Decades ago, polio outbreaks were a constant threat around the world. After the introduction of polio vaccines by Jonas Salk and Albert Sabin and a steadfast immunization effort, these outbreaks became part of history in most of the world.

Yet many still live under the threat of polio, which is why Rotary and its global partners are committed to reaching every child with the vaccine and ending this disease worldwide.

Major gains have been made in the global fight against polio:

In the 1980s, 1,000 children were infected by the disease every day in 125 countries. Today, polio cases have declined by 99 percent, with fewer than two thousand cases reported in 2006.

Two billion children have been immunized, five million have been spared disability, and over 250,000 deaths from polio have been prevented.

Contribute to stopping polio

The biggest obstacles to eradicating polio are the underfunding of the global initiative and insufficient political commitment from the remaining polio-affected countries. Rotary International believes the primary source for additional funds can and should be governments of polio-free industrialized countries. Your contribution through Rotary will help ensure that we keep doing our part to get the job done.

What your gift can do
* A contribution of US$135 will buy a bicycle to distribute vaccine to villages
* A contribution of $250 will buy T-shirts to make health workers highly visible during a National Immunization Day
* A contribution of $200 will buy 10,000 pamphlets to inform the public about an upcoming immunization campaign
* A contribution of $1,000 will buy 700 vaccine carriers to ensure the oral polio vaccine is maintained at the correct temperature
*All contributions to PolioPlus and PolioPlus Partners are eligible for Paul Harris Fellow Recognition.

Contribute to PolioPlus Partners
PolioPlus Partners allows individuals, Rotary clubs, and districts to support urgent social mobilization and surveillance projects submitted by Rotarians in polio-endemic, importation, and high-risk countries. In 2006-07, the Trustees of The Rotary Foundation allocated US$1 million to match, on a first-come, first-served basis, cash contributions to PolioPlus Partners at a level of US$0.50 for each $1 contributed.

Contribute to the PolioPlus Fund
The PolioPlus Fund provides global-level funds through Trustee-reviewed grants to the initiative based on strategic priorities. Learn more about PolioPlus Partners.

Give through Rotary
Friends of Rotary are welcome to add their support to Rotary’s number-one goal. Contribute online to the PolioPlus Fund today.



Share your ideas on Rotarian's $2 Million Donation to Polio Eradication effort, in approximately 100 words, and earn a Make-up

To Top
To top


Site Map


Site Map Links FAQ's Membership Rotary D7150 Rotary About Us Make Up Sigh-In Home