From a dazzling performance by violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman to an additional US$255 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the year 2009 was an eventful one for Rotary and its campaign to rid the world of polio.

The Perlman concert, held 2 December in New York City, along with hundreds of Rotary club and district fundraisers throughout the year, helped push Rotary beyond the halfway mark in raising $200 million in response to the Gates Foundation grants.

As the new year dawns, we look back over these and other memorable moments of 2009 with our top 10 list of Rotary news events.

1. RI theme

RI President John Kenny reminded Rotarians that The Future of Rotary Is in Your Hands, unveiling the 2009-10 RI theme during the International Assembly in January.

Read more

See the video

Look for upcoming coverage on next year's RI theme, which RI President-elect Ray Klinginsmith will announce at the 2010 International Assembly , 18-24 January.  

2. Gates Foundation grants

Bill Gates announced in January a new award of $255 million in support of Rotary's campaign to rid the world of polio, raising the amount committed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to $355 million. Rotary has pledged to raise $200 million in response.

Read more

See the video

Learn more about Rotary's US$200 Million Challenge

3. Polio fundraisers

Rotarians' can-do spirit fueled a variety of creative and successful polio fundraisers, ranging from national campaigns in Austria and Germany on World Polio Day to the Concert to End Polio on 2 December, helping push Rotary past the halfway mark in meeting the challenge. "In the face of difficult economic times, Rotarians are heartily commended for their steadfast commitment and resourcefulness in reaching this milestone of support for global polio eradication," said Rotary Foundation Trustee Chair Glenn E. Estess Sr.

Read more about gains in the push to end polio

Read about the Concert to End Polio

Read more about polio fundraisers

4. Future Vision

Diversity played a key role in the June selection of 100 districts for the Future Vision pilot. The three-year pilot will test a new, streamlined Rotary Foundation grant structure and is set to begin in July 2010. Rotarians in pilot districts can join a LinkedIn group to discuss project ideas, share best practices, and learn from each other's efforts.

Read more about the selection

Learn more about the Future Vision pilot

5. President-nominee

Kalyan Banerjee, a member of the Rotary Club of Vapi, Gujarat, India, since 1972, became the RI president-nominee in October. He will serve as 2011-12 RI president.

Read more

6. Landmarks lit up

The End Polio Now logo was projected onto a number of iconic landmarks, including the British Parliament, the Colosseum, and the Sydney Opera House, on 23 February in celebration of the organization's 104th anniversary.

Read more and see a gallery of photos

7. 2009 RI Convention

More than 16,000 Rotarians from over 150 countries converged on Birmingham, England, in June to make the 100th RI Convention a success. Primatologist Jane Goodall, actress Mia Farrow, and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon praised Rotary's efforts to eradicate polio, and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu noted the organization's dedication to peace during the second Rotary World Peace Symposium.

Read more

8. International H2O Collaboration

An innovative collaboration between Rotary International and USAID will initiate long-term water, sanitation, and hygiene projects throughout the developing world and offer Rotary clubs and districts the chance to become more involved in these vital issues. The International H2O collaboration, launched in March, is focusing its efforts in the Dominican Republic, Ghana, and the Philippines.

Read more

9. Dolly Parton

Country music legend Dolly Parton and Rotary International announced a collaborative relationship in March to begin a new chapter in promoting early childhood reading. Rotary clubs in Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States are encouraged to support the Dollywood Foundation's Imagination Library, which provides a book each month to children from birth until age five. Parton will be a speaker at the 2010 RI Convention

Read more about the collaboration

10. Membership slogan

Rotarians have responded enthusiastically to the new membership slogan, "Each Rotarian: Reach One, Keep One."

Read more