|U.N. Foundation invites church to apply for grant|
Mothers with sick children wait to see a doctor at
the San Pedro Health Center near Huambo, Angola. A UMNS photo by Mike
By United Methodist News Service*
Feb. 12, 2008
Bishop Felton E. May
The United Methodist Church has been invited by the United Nations
Foundation to apply for up to $5 million to underwrite a campaign to
strengthen its global health ministries.
The fundraising, education and outreach campaign would aim to raise
$100 million over three years and especially would support the church's
efforts to eradicate malaria and other diseases of poverty in Africa.
Bishop Janice Riggle Huie, president of the United Methodist Council
of Bishops, received the invitation in mid-January through the United
Nations Foundation, which is helping to facilitate the grant process.
The development was announced Jan. 26 by Bishop Felton E. May,
interim chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global
Ministries, and the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United
Methodist Communications, in Fort Worth, Texas, where the church will
hold its top legislative meeting this spring.
Underwriting support was being provided by the Bill & Melinda
Gates Foundation, the two church leaders said in making the
The denomination plans to submit a formal grant proposal in a process
that began last May with a letter of inquiry. Both May and Hollon said
many details must be worked out regarding the grant, operating the
campaign, and ministries that will be supported by the campaign.
"We at the U.N. Foundation feel this is an extraordinary opportunity
for the people of The United Methodist Church," said Elizabeth Gore,
executive director of partnership alliances for the U.N. Foundation, in a
Jan. 15 letter to Huie.
"The immediate success of Nothing But Nets has built momentum among
the people of the church in support of eliminating malaria," Gore said
in the letter. "It is our goal to work in partnership with you and
executive leadership over the coming years to save lives and inspire the
launch of an inspirational movement within the church."
Collaborating for global health
The United Methodist Church has long been a key player in the fight
against malaria and other diseases of poverty, having operated
hospitals, clinics, schools and mission centers across Africa for more
than 160 years.
In recent years, the denomination has increasingly sought ways to
partner with other organizations––particularly in its global health
initiatives––to leverage funding and gain greater access to networks and
knowledge that can contribute to substantive global change. Partnering
organizations have welcomed the church's on-ground infrastructure
already in place to aid vulnerable people.
In 2006, the people of The United Methodist Church joined with the United Nations Foundation, Sports Illustrated and NBA Cares to become one of the founding partners of Nothing But Nets,
a global grassroots effort to prevent malaria through the purchase and
distribution of insecticide-treated mosquito nets to children in Africa.
The campaign has raised more than $18 million so far. More than a
million African children die from malaria every year.
The Rev. Larry Hollon
Last October in Seattle, The United Methodist Church was the only
faith group represented at the Gates Foundation's Malaria Forum. Both
May and Hollon participated in the forum that brought together more than
300 scientists, physicians, public health leaders and top government
officials from across the globe.
Global health is one of four areas of focus identified by the
denomination as part of its long-term vision. "Our goal is to ultimately
create conditions for better health for people all over the world,"
May said health ministries continue to be an integral part of the
denomination's worldwide outreach. "Today, the Lord is calling us to
tackle the diseases of poverty––those plagues that must and can be
controlled. Such work is our God-given responsibility," said May.
The church also has a long history in education, advocacy, medical
ministries and creating public awareness of health issues including
HIV/AIDS, another of the diseases of poverty. The 2004 General
Conference set up a Global AIDS Fund to address this health issue.
*This story is based in part on a joint news release issued by United
Methodist Communications and the United Methodist Board of Global
News media contact: Marta Aldrich, Nashville, Tenn. (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com
The Rev. Larry Hollon and Bishop Felton May on the Gates Foundation invitation
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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
United Nations Foundation
Nothing But Nets Campaign
Malaria Initiatives of The United Methodist Church
United Methodist Global AIDS Fund