Rotary is a volunteer membership organization that brings together a global network of professionals and community leaders dedicated to improving lives and bringing positive, lasting change to communities around the world. We channel our international resources into promoting peace, alleviating poverty, providing clean water and sanitation, supporting education, and growing local economies. The global eradication of polio has been Rotary’s top priority since 1985 – and since then, polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases a year to just 37 confirmed in 2016.
Rotary’s international convention
is an annual event held in a different city around the world, and brings members together to share projects, advice and friendship. This year, Rotary will hold its 108th convention in Atlanta at the Georgia World Congress Center from June 10-14 – and is expecting 40,000 Rotary club members from over 175 countries to attend. The Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates the Rotary convention will bring $52.3 million into the local economy. Because of our global scope and cultural diversity, our annual conventions are often described as a “mini-United Nations” – providing our members with a platform to share their cultures and traditions. Rotary members will engage in a full agenda of workshops and hear from world class speakers.
Bill Gates will be the keynote speaker. Through the “End Polio Now: Make History Today” campaign established in 2013, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is matching two-to- one every dollar Rotary commits to polio eradication – up to US$35 million a year until 2018. Including the matching funds from the Gates Foundation, Rotary has donated $1.6 billion to polio eradication. More than 100 Rotary humanitarian projects will be on display at the Georgia World Congress Center that address polio, malaria, HIV/AIDS, poverty, hunger, illiteracy, the global water shortage and other challenges facing the world today.
Atlanta’s first Rotary convention took place 100 years ago, when The Rotary Foundation was established with its first contribution of $26.50 from the Rotary club of Kansas City, Missouri. The Rotary Foundation’s assets have grown to approximately $1 billion, and more than $3 billion has been spent on projects and scholarships that are transforming millions of lives around the world. Atlanta’s second Rotary convention was held in 1970. The Rotary Club of Atlanta was the first club in the state of Georgia, chartered by a founding group of 37 in August 1913. Today, the state of Georgia has 10,732 Rotary members with the city of Atlanta boasting over 800 members – including more than 500 belonging to the Rotary Club of Atlanta – making it one of the largest Rotary districts in the United States. Rotary clubs in Atlanta help homeless teens in partnership with Covenant House Georgia. Rotary clubs in Georgia have contributed more than $8.5 million to polio eradication – including $3.4 million donated by clubs in Atlanta. In addition to contributing funds, Georgian Rotary members have traveled at their own expense to immunize children against polio in India and countries in Africa.
Bill Nordmark is a recognizable name in the Atlanta community. In addition to being a past board member to the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Nordmark recently created the Atlanta Friendship Initiative to help with race relations. As a member of the Rotary Club of Atlanta with 27 years of perfect attendance, Bill served as the club president from 2009-2010. He was the chairman of the polio fundraising campaign, and he will be highly involved with the 2017 Rotary International Convention as it comes to Atlanta in June.