Del Mar Fairgrounds to be site for first Rotary Millions for HOPE gala Oct. 17


From eradicating polio to promoting peace, local Rotarians have left a lasting impact on lives around the world.

To continue to change lives, Rotary District 5340 is hosting its first-ever Millions For HOPE Gala Oct. 17 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. Funds raised will benefit the Rotary Foundation, the charitable arm of Rotary International, a service organization of approximately 1.2 million people in 34,000 clubs around the world.

“The Rotary Foundation is a foundation from which Rotarians all over the world contribute to participate in projects and the good works that Rotary does,” said Janice Kurth, governor of Rotary District 5340, which includes more than 3,100 Rotarians in 67 clubs in San Diego and Imperials counties.

“Our district is very involved in projects locally and internationally. We’re very connected. We’re a tight network of people that work together, play together and do great things in the world together.”

The gala will celebrate the conclusion of the district’s Millions For HOPE (Health, Overcoming Poverty and Education) campaign. Launched in July 2014, the campaign aims to raise $15 million to support the Rotary Foundation. Grants from the foundation empower Rotarians to approach challenges such as poverty, illiteracy and malnutrition with sustainable solutions.

“This is the first time this has ever been done in the Rotary world,” Kurth said. “Nobody’s ever embarked on a campaign this big before.”

The district’s former governor, Louise Andres, initially came up with the concept for a million-dollar campaign. The campaign eventually grew into a multiyear project with a much larger goal.

“It’s a huge honor to be a part of the district that has undertaken this great cause,” said La Jolla resident Kurth, a former Del Mar Heights resident who has been a member of the Rotary Club of Del Mar since 2004.

“I’ve personally been involved in quite a few projects in multiple countries throughout the world that have been partly funded by funds from the Rotary Foundation. To be able to continue doing those projects means everything to me and Rotarians all over the world.”

With the fundraising campaign set to end in October, event organizers plan to share the campaign totals at the gala.

The gala begins at 6 p.m. with a no-host reception at the Mission Tower at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The program begins at 7 p.m. with dinner, drinks and a special speech from Rotary International President K.R. “Ravi” Ravindran.

Nearly 600 people are expected to attend.

“This is a very special event,” Kurth said. “It’s especially notable because the last time we had a sitting Rotary International president in our district for one of our district events was 1989. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

The gala is open to the public. Tickets cost $85.

To register for the event or donate to the cause, visit

For more about Rotary District 5340, visit