In the early 1980s, Rotary began planning for the most ambitious program in its history - to immunize all of the world's children against polio. The plan required collaboration with international, national, and local health agencies and took shape early in Carlos Canseco's year as RI President in 1984-85 when he appointed the Polio 2005 Committee. Dr. Canseco invited Dr. Albert Sabin, developer of the oral polio vaccine, to serve as a special consultant to the committee.

Rotary's pledge of US$120 million to fund its Polio Plus program was announced in October 1985 at the 40th anniversary of the United Nations. This ambitious commitment electrified the global public health community. Within three years, Rotarians had more than doubled their fundraising goal, donating US$247 million. The 1985/86 Rotary year, saw the five Saskatoon Rotary Clubs donate more than $90,000 to the Polio Plus campaign, with the Rotary Club of Saskatoon raising close to $30,000 of this amount.

In February 2002, Rotary rose to the challenge once again, announcing a Polio Eradication Fundraising Campaign to raise US$80 million to contribute to ongoing global polio eradication budget needs. To date Rotary International has contributed more than $600 million dollars US to fighting polio eradication in 122 countries, however more money is still needed to complete the task as four countries, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India, still remain as centres of polio epidemics. To assist in overcoming this final hurdle to world wide polio eradication, in November of 2007, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation gave Rotary International a grant of $100 million dollars US. This grant was conditional on Rotary raising a matching amount, and to this end in February of 2008, a three year fund raising campaign was announced by Rotary International to meet this goal.