By Rick Wolcott*
The East Ohio Conference Teach • Reach • Bless campaign to raise $1.5 million to build and furnish a residence hall for female students at Africa University is a success. One year after the public launch of the campaign on January 26, 2020 the commitment goal has been met. In supporting the campaign, laity and clergy are demonstrating a commitment to improving the education and wellness of women today for a better Africa tomorrow.
“I am joyfully overwhelmed by the Conference-wide support for building a dormitory for women at Africa University, providing female students a safe environment and community while pursuing their education. To each person and each congregation that has made a financial commitment to our Teach • Reach • Bless campaign, I say, ‘thank you!’ Your generosity will change lives,” said Bishop Tracy S. Malone.
Increasing enrollment and a lack of on-campus housing at Africa University, a Pan-African United Methodist institution, means that some students commute from remote areas and find affordable off-campus housing, putting them at high risk for living in and being subjected to untenable situations. It’s important to note that ground cannot be broken to begin construction of the new dormitory until all of the needed $1.5 million has been collected. To date, $516,097.52 has been received.
The Rev. Bill and Marty McFadden have offered a generous challenge gift of up to $250,000 to accelerate collection of the nearly $1 million still needed before ground can be broken on campus and building can begin on the new dormitory. The Teach • Reach • Bless campaign will receive from the McFaddens $1 for every $3 donated from any source during the 2021 calendar year.
“Marty and I are passionate about getting the dorm at AU built soon. We know that making a place for 90 women will result in a safe and transforming experience for them over the years. We have been thrilled to hear stories of women from all over sub-Sahara Africa who found at AU a future that otherwise would have been denied them. Graduates of AU are making an incredible impact in Africa and around the world,” said the Rev. Bill McFadden.
“I celebrate the generous challenge gift offered by Rev. Bill and Marty McFadden. Their gift could make it possible to break ground for the new dormitory early next year. For that to happen I ask that we each prayerfully consider how we can fulfill our individual commitments by sending in our donations this year,” said Malone. “If you haven’t made a commitment, it’s not too late to contribute to the campaign. Every $3 contributed in 2021 will become $4. Each donation matters. Together we can make this dream a reality!”
If the Teach • Reach • Bless campaign can collect $750,000 in 2021, the resulting $250,000 challenge gift paired with the already collected $516,097.52 would enable the needed $1.5 million to be sent to Africa University in early 2022 so that construction of the new residence hall could begin.
Visit the Teach • Reach • Bless page of the Conference website to learn more about the campaign and the ways that you can financially support it through online or mailed-in donations. On the page you will also find: a video explaining the campaign; resources for promoting the campaign to all age groups in your church; videos and an order of worship for holding an Africa University Saturation Sunday service at your church on a date of your choice; offering envelope labels; and much more.
*Rick Wolcott is director of Communications for the East Ohio Conference of The United Methodist Church.