What a party! Read how the $31 million amount was reached, literally at the end of the evening. 
On Saturday, Oct 17, 550 Rotarians and guests from District 5340 and a few other Districts gathered at the grandstand Mission Tower Ballroom at The Del Mar Fairgrounds for a celebration of Millions for Hope Rotary Foundation fundraising. HOPE stands for Health, Overcoming Poverty, Education. This is our district initiative to benefit The Rotary Foundation’s mission to advance world understanding, goodwill, and peace through the improvement of health, the support of education, and the alleviation of poverty.
The party started with a social time in the courtyard outside the ballroom. We enjoyed entertainment by the Mira Costa College Jazz Band.
Once inside the ballroom, we heard the story about how our district was challenged 2 years ago to raise money for the Rotary Foundation.  During the dinner, we learned how the goal for the amount to be raised became, over time, 15 million dollars.  By July 1 of this year, our district had reached the $10,000,000.00 level. The funds raised were the result of a major effort to have our district's Rotarians place estate gifts to the Rotary Foundation in their estate plans.
To see photos from this great party, click here.
Janice and Matt Kurth with RI President K.R. Ravindran
After dinner, we learned that a Rotary couple in our district now belong to the Arch Klumpf Society.  RI President K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran made the official presentation of the award recognition orb to  DG Dr. Janice Kurth and her husband, Matt Kurth.  
A break after dinner provided a great way to get everyone to get up and move around. The DJ played music for dancing for about 15 minutes.  Then it was time for the main event, the remarks of RI President K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran. 
When RI President Ravindran began his  speech, he said that he usually has to talk to his audience about giving to the Rotary Foundation.  He said that he couldn't do that here in Rotary District 5340.  We are already generous
contributors to the Rotary Foundation.  He then proceeded to tell us about the impact that Rotary International has on the health policies of governments of countries that are are still active in the eradication effort.    We don’t often hear about the influence RI has with heads of state.  He related his experience of being at meetings of heads of governments in Africa.  In a conversation with one of the leaders he was able to ask that this leader pressure the heads of state of both Pakistan and Afghanistan to work with Rotary to finish the job of polio eradication.  When this leader then spoke to the conference, he  announced that he would do just that!  Because of the success Rotary has had in eradicating polio, RI has influence that we don’t realize we have because of our success.  In his discussions with these leaders, he spoke about the economic and social impact should the eradication effort cease before all of the world is certified as polio free.  
President Ravindran also told the story from his own country, Sri Lanka.  After a tsunami devastated a region and destroyed a hospital, Rotary clubs in Germany worked with Rotarians in Sri Lanka through the Rotary Foundation to replace the destroyed hospital.  The new hospital includes a very well equipped neonatal intensive care unit. He spoke about visiting that hospital shortly after it was completed.He told us about a tiny preemie that was struggling to breathe and had tubes everywhere. He said he was touched by this and actually spoke to the child to encourage it to fight and succeed. 
About two years later he was visiting that same hospital and met a young child. He carried this child as he again toured the hospital.  He noticed that there were fewer preemies in incubators.
Af the end of the hospital tour, the doctor in charge told him that the child he was holding was the same premature infant that had captured his attention in his earlier visit. The doctor also related the fact that no child had died in that hospital unit since the hospital opened. Because of Rotary, premature babies are surviving and the availability of excellent prenatal care caused a reduction in the number of premature infants needing the neonatal intensive care unit.
This is but one example of how the Rotary Foundation allows each one of us to Be A Gift to The World.
After his speech, he donned dark sunglasses and participated in a celebration patterned after the Blues Brothers.  Committee members  converged on the stage to join in a raucous celebration.  The long awaited announcement revealed that our district had raised a total of $15,500,425 in about 800 days!.  This caused a gasp to be heard around the room that was followed by applause.
RI President Ravindran holding
the key
The computer slide announcing
the fantastic total!

At this point, the DJ began to play music for dancing as everyone began to celebrate the success in reaching the previously announced goal of $15 million. However, this wasn’t the end of the story - - - RI President Ravindran had to ask the DJ stop his program so he could make another announcement. Once the music stopped and the crowd became quiet, Ravi announced that someone in attendance at this gala had spoken to him on stage. That person said he would match the amount that our district had raised!!  The stunned crowd now realized that the total amount raised in District 5340 now had become $31,000,850.  The announcement caused another buzz of excitement. This was an unimaginable and remarkable result for District 5340! 
RI President and his wife, Vanathy, will have fond memories of the fun party. They can tell the story of the great effort of Rotarians in District 5340 in supporting the Rotary Foundation demonstrated how Rotarians can Be A Gift to The World.