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Helmsley Charitable Trust Grants $3 Million to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative

NEW YORK, September 23, 2023 — The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust today announced a US$3 million grant to support the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) and protect children around the world from polio.

Polio is a devastating, life-threatening, yet vaccine-preventable disease. In 1988, over 1,000 children were paralyzed by the poliovirus across 125 countries every single day. Since then, the GPEI has helped reduce the global polio burden by 99.9% through immunization and public health campaigns. Today, polio is circulating in just a handful of high-risk geographies and the world has a historic opportunity to stop virus transmission.

“Across our work, Helmsley is committed to breaking silos, building coalitions, and investing in community-led solutions. GPEI’s case for ending polio is so clear, and opportunity so monumental, we could not sit on the sidelines — we wanted to be a part of this historic effort,” said Gina Agiostratidou, a Program Director at the Helmsley Charitable Trust. “Working with the Initiative reinforces our commitment to forging deep, long-term partnerships that help build a world where everyone can live full, healthy lives.”

Helmsley’s contribution is intended to help achieve overall GPEI goals, including to:

  1. Vaccinate nearly 370 million children against polio annually for the next four years;
  2. Deliver broader health benefits alongside polio campaigns to underserved communities, including other essential immunization services, maternal and child health education, and Vitamin A supplements; and
  3. Continue to strengthen country health systems and prepare them to respond to emerging health threats, such as COVID-19, Ebola, and other diseases.

The grant reflects Helmsley’s broader support for resilient global health systems and investments in better healthcare that span all six of their program areas, reflecting their commitment to helping people live safer, better, and more fulfilling lives today while funding advancements in research and technology for a better tomorrow.


About the GPEI

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative is a public-private partnership led by national governments with six partners – the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Gavi, the vaccine alliance. Its goal is to eradicate polio worldwide.


Carey Meyers, Communications Director, +1 347 409 3588, cmeyers@helmsleytrust.org