Polio Plus

Rotary Club of Annapolis Raises Funds to Eradicate Polio

Annapolis, MD (November 22, 2019) –The Rotary Club of Annapolis held the Maria Maher Wine Tasting Fundraiser November 10 at the home of Elaine and Jay Shanley of Annapolis.

The annual event, named in memory of Maria Maher, a beloved Rotarian who helped establish the fundraiser several years ago, raised $5,000. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will match that figure 2:1 toward Rotary International’s program to eradicate polio from the world.
The ongoing program, Polio Plus, provides vaccines to combat the paralyzing and devastating – yet preventable disease. Currently fewer than 100 instances of polio still exist, with cases confined to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Nigeria.
Event chair Luisa Gil recruited fellow Rotarians Kevin Hurley and Bill Davis as wine servers, and thanked generous sponsors for supporting the event: Annapolis Market House, Bay Ridge Wine & Spirits, Blackwall Hitch, Cabot, Costco, Flamant, Main & Market, Café Mezzanote, Rentals to Remember, Saucy Salamander, The Palate Pleasers, and Trader Joe’s.
Photos attached (1) Kevin Hurley, Luisa Gil, and Bill Davis, servers; (2) Chuck Ferrar with hostess Elaine Shanley; (3) Carol Gausz and Phil Reynolds.
Photos courtesy of Don Roland and Dave Mattingley.

This year of 2017 marks the 30th anniversary of Rotary’s initiative to eradicate polio from the entire planet. In the late 1970’s, more than 350,000 new cases were reported world-wide.  In the Philippines, polio was rampant and the government asked for assistance.  The Rotary Foundation responded with an initial team to distribute the Salk vaccine.  The results were so positive the Rotary Foundation established the Polio Plus program in 1985 to raise funds to distribute the vaccine around the world.


Since then, Rotary has donated more than $1.3 billion to support Polio Plus.  Through the active encouragement by Rotary, world governments have contributed more than $10 billion.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has contributed more than $350 million and has pledged to contribute two for one for each dollar contributed by the Rotary Foundation through the year 2018.


As a result Rotary’s leadership and action, polio has now been reduced by more than 99 percent throughout the world.  Three countries remain with new cases each year – Afghanistan, Nigeria, and Pakistan.  Active programs with the support of their governments are in place in each country.  Polio Plus continues to need the help of the Rotary Foundation and all Rotarians.