Centralia Rotary Club Has New Paul Harris Fellow

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January 31, 2019

During the Centralia Rotary Club’s recent January 14 meeting, Crystal Lyons was presented a first-time Paul Harris Fellow certificate and pin. Speaker for the meeting was Lanny Lenker, Rotary International District 6510’s Rotary Foundation Chairman.

Lenker gave an outstanding description of the structure and purposes of the Rotary Fund’s three primary elements: Polio Plus, The Annual Fund, and The Endowment Fund.

• Polio Plus is the fund used to eradicate polio worldwide. During the 1980s, polio was infecting 350,000 new people each year worldwide. Polio is an infectious disease caused by the Poliovirus. The effects are muscle weakness, paralysis, or even death. Many Polio victims ended up in breathing devices, called Iron Lungs, for the rest of their lives because their bodies could not efficiently breathe without assistance. Rotary International started an effort to rid the world of Polio in the mid-1980s and has been joined by many organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which offers a 2-for-1 match for funds raised to a total of $150 million per year.

• The Annual Fund is the Near-Term investment fund where donations are placed in an investment for three years and then half the money is given back to the district for area projects. The other half goes to support Global Grants to help people all over the world in accordance with Rotary’s five avenues of Service. The Annual Fund is where the Centralia Rotary Clubs got some of the monies needed to improve Rotary Park in Centralia.

• The Endowment Fund. Currently the Endowment Fund has cash assets of over $400 million and expectancies of over $800 million. These monies stay in the investment portfolios and the income from them goes to support Rotary projects.

Lanny further explained that District 6510 has surpassed their goal of raising 75,000 Polio Plus dollars to be matched two-to-one by The Gates Foundation, and has raised over $136,000. Polio Immunizations are about 60 cents each, so the global impact is that 680,000 more Polio immunizations can be given to further reduce the new cases from the only 22 last year. A reduction from 350,000 cases a year to only 22 worldwide is a spectacular accomplishment!

Lenker urged Rotarians to fully support the Annual Fund, which will bring more dollars to Southern Illinois and our local communities for more great projects.

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