The Rotary tradition of giving back exceeded all expectations at ‘The Rotary Foundation Centennial Celebration Dinner’, hosted by Rotary International District 9800 and managed by Southbank Rotary. Held at the unique and spectacular Peninsula at Docklands on Wednesday 31st May, 380 Rotarians and friends enjoyed an evening of world-class entertainment, including inspiring guest speakers, exquisite food and wines and lively auctions. With the goal of achieving $1million in donations and bequests to the Foundation at this event, a staggering $5 million was raised.
The night was simply incredible. The technical brilliance of the Rotary brand visual displays with rotating wheels really set the scene as guests entered the room. The uplifting opening performance from the Choir of Hard Knocks, directed by Dr Jonathon Welch AM, was both appropriate and the perfect reminder of why believing in people and investing in communities changes lives for the better.
Master of Ceremonies was leading international business journalist and ex Rotex President, Amanda Drury, with the keynote speaker being incoming Rotary International Foundation Chairman, Paul Netzel. As Netzel shared the statistics and video footage on Polio eradication, it was clear that everyone was overwhelmed at seeing achievements since the Foundation dedicated itself to the cause in 1953. Also speaking was Alistair Gee, Chief Operating Officer of the Institute for Economics and Peace who managed its strategic partnership with Rotary, and was Co-Convener of ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign.
Over the past century 20 million volunteers have helped immunize 2.4 billion children, preventing 16 million infections, averting 1.6 million deaths, raising $1.6+ billion and investing $14 billion overall. In 2017, there have been only 5 reported cases of Polio in the world. Good work is not done for accolades but reflecting on the enormity of what a community can achieve together is important.
These messages along with video footage from various other projects around the world have been made into commercials that will be broadcast on national TV throughout the year. Photographers and videographers captured all performances and speeches, which can be shared with Rotarians worldwide. We will have YouTube footage available next week along with photos on our District Website.
A heart-wrenching performance of ‘You Raise Me Up’ by Nicholas Jones, recipient of the OSA/Australian Music Events “Scholar of the Year” prize, followed as again, video footage showed the beautiful faces of children around the world who have been touched by Rotary’s work.
The menu was thoughtfully planned, the speeches inspiring, the entertainment thrilling and the generosity humbling. The open auction, silent auction, jewelry raffle and donations were enthusiastically embraced, resulting in five times what was expected, and highlights how much work went into the planning and execution by many hardworking volunteers.
Renowned Australian singer Danielle Matthews accompanied by Dr Jonathon Welch closed the dinner with a powerful rendition from The Phantom of the Opera, and it took no encouragement for the dance floor to fill once the band started playing.
It was a truly memorable evening, and the generosity of those who contributed to its success and to the financial result will help to ensure that the Rotary Foundation will continue its work for the next one hundred years of ‘doing good in the world’.
If you would like to give a gift to The Rotary Foundation during this our 100th year, the easy way to do this is:
Please contact DG Neville John (0417 387 216), PDG Dennis Shore (0412 332 226) or Philip Archer (0448 999 555) to assist with the giving process.
Click on the photos above to explore our Photo Gallery with many more photos.