EDITOR'S NOTE: The following report from the Rotary Club of Sanibel Captiva meeting at the Sanibel Community House on Friday, Nov. 13, was submitted by Shirley Jewell of the Rotary Club.

This week’s Rotary Column will focus on numbers. We’ll start with an amazing number $1,622,116.53; that is the amount raised here in the US during a unique fundraising campaign called The World’s Greatest Meal-WGM during November 2015.

This same event is held in 70 countries across the globe and gives Rotarians the opportunity to gather together; socialize; enjoy a meal, dinner, party, or organize a virtual social media happening giving everyone attending these events the occasion to learn more about Rotary International’s pledge to tackle global polio eradication through mass vaccination of children against this disease and encouraging all Rotarians to support this astonishing endeavor. 

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation match all monetary pledges 2 to 1 up to $15 million dollars a year.  Bill Gates said, “The eradication of polio is Rotary International's primary cause and will be until the job is done” – Susan Rea WGM Ambassador 

So let’s take the $1,622,116.53 from the US, add a 2 to 1 match from the Gates Foundation and now we’re talking $4,836,349.59 total, just from the US for one specific cause.  This translates to 8,060,000 polio vaccinations.  Now that’s a pretty large number.  Our Rotary District #6960 alone was able to raise over $46,000 at a recent WGM event in Cape Coral hosted by our District Governor, Cyndi Doragh. 

Another wonderful thing that happens at these events is the meeting and mingling with Rotarians from all over our District #6960, the country and around the globe.  Two distinguished guests at the recent “World’s Greatest Meal-WGM” event in Cape Coral were Rotarians, Susanne Rea -Past President of the Rotary Club of Cairns Sunrise, Queensland, Australia -WGM Ambassador and co-founder of this unique fundraising initiative and John Greening – Rotary International Great Britain/Ireland-RIBI Past District 1110-2013/14 Governor.

Sanibel Rotarian, Bill Rahe-immediate past president of our club, never fails to use these types of events to do a little networking.  Therefore, he struck up a conversation with Rotarian, John Greening, past RIBI district #1110 governor and invited him to visit our club Nov. 20 to give us an overview of what it’s like to be a Rotary District Governor in Great Britain/Ireland.  Now back to the numbers.

First off, Rotary International Britain/Ireland-RIBI celebrated its 100-year anniversary last year.  RIBI has 1800 Rotary Clubs and serves around 50,000 Rotarians.  Within District #1110 there are 62 Rotary clubs with a number of multiple languages spoken, mostly attributed to the presence of Oxford University within district. 

Okay, so what do you do as a Rotary District Governor during your 1 year term in office, well according to Rotary International there are basically 12 written down goals for this office examples are: setting club goals for the year, strengthening membership, developing service projects, developing Rotary leadership, connecting with district clubs, maximizing club visits, promoting Rotary’s public image, and encouraging giving and grants. 

John had a great deal to accomplish during his term as DG.  He drove about 17,502 miles to visit clubs within his district.  He had 339 Rotary engagements, around 39 engagements per month in office.  Most engagements include a meal, but surprisingly, only 10 chicken dinners the whole year.  John actually lost 5 pounds during his term in office.  His golf handicap went down from 23.5 to 21.3.   And he received 20489 Rotary focused e-mails.  As John said, “The things you do for Rotary”.

1 Rotary District #1110 recent highlight:  Sending a 3-member obstetrics/pediatrician health care professional team to Kabuli Mission Hospital and St. Patrick Surgical Ward, Uganda, Africa.  The team held a 2-week training session with pre-natal medical staff and mid-wives to help reduce maternal and infant mortality.  Cost of this medical mission $20,000.

Starting this week, Sanibel-Captiva Rotary will be returning to the Dunes Golf & Tennis Club, Sanibel for our 7 a.m., Friday morning meetings.  As usual, guests are always welcome.  Come check out the recent Dunes clubhouse renovations, have a wonderful buffet breakfast, meet great people, and enjoy outstanding speakers.