Economic climate impacts two education fund campaigns
8/19/2003 News media contact: Linda Green ∑ (615) 742-5470 ∑ Nashville, Tenn
Tenn. (UMNS)- United Methodist officials are finding today's economic
climate challenging as they try to raise funds to increase the
endowments for historically black colleges and universities of the
United Methodist Church and to decrease student seminary indebtedness.
Miller, the chief executive officer of the United Methodist Foundation
for Higher Education, presented the difficulties in getting the two
campaigns off the ground during the Aug. 11-16 meeting of the United
Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
"It takes a long time to give birth to big things," he said. "We are in the gestation period."
he presented several reality checks to the board, he said the campaigns
purposes, "while noble and imperative," "are not emotionally
impacting," and "have no defined constituency.
The 2000 General
Conference authorized the board to raise $300 million from private
programs for the endowment of the 11 historically black colleges and
universities related to the church and another $200 million for Seminary
Student Scholarship Endowment. The United Methodist Foundation for
Higher Education took the lead in the campaigns.
Miller reported that $7,575 has been raised for the historically black
colleges campaign and $2,725 for the seminary student scholarship.
said the campaigns were "under funded" enterprises when approved by the
2000 General Conference and that before campaigns of this magnitude are
launched, $5 million to $10 million is needed for advance work. He also
noted the unstable financial marketplace and the foundation's inability
to provide leadership gifts to the endowments, making them hard to get
off the ground.
Board members voted to establish a task force to study the feasibility of conducting these campaigns.
study would provide the context and foundation for the two campaigns to
move forward," said Wee-Li Tan, Hampstead, N.H., chair of the board's
subcommittee on finance. The board recognizes that the two campaigns are
vital for the church and for the work of the board and that a 6-9 month
study would be "helpful in laying the groundwork and context for
setting us in the direction to help get this job done in whatever way we
can," he said.
The members voted for the agency to provide up to
$150,000 with matching funds from the United Methodist Foundation for
Higher Education to finance the work of the task force.
to Thomas Cole, former president of Clark Atlanta University, "although
we've been presented with a glaring problem, it will take intensity and
focused efforts to be successful. It is doable. Raising endowment
funds is difficult for anybody."
Elaine Stanovsky, Seattle,
Wash., also said the campaigns are doable. "There is a passion among
church people to continue to support the historically black colleges and
universities and to relieve seminary indebtedness, and it can be done
if we learn how to tell the story."
As the president of the Board
of Higher Education and Ministry, Bishop Janice Riggle Huie expressed
awareness in the change in the financial picture of the United Methodist
Church since the two resolutions were adopted by the 2000 General
"We believe in the mission of the campaigns," she
said. "We need a feasibility study for the purpose of saying not only
what we desire but what is reasonable, and to establish a pathway for
how to conduct the campaigns."
In light of the pending study,
Huie said the campaigns would be much slower than was intended and may
take on a different form. "A study will give us data to take to General
Conference and to be candid about the changes that have occurred."
"There needs to be a lot of seeds planted before there is fruit-bearing," she said.
the meeting, youth board members expressed concern about the scheduling
and length of General Conference and other church meetings.
youth said that although the church wants them to be included in its
total life, some of its actions suggest otherwise. They pointed out that
General Conference is held during exam times, making it difficult for
youth delegates. They also voiced concern about the length of church
board meetings, particularly those that last a week because they
conflict with class attendance and jobs. The youth also challenged the
board to look at the times and length of its own meetings.
behalf of its youth members, the board voted to send a resolution to the
Commission on General Conference asking that body to give consideration
to conflicts between General Conference and typical academic calendars
and report the findings to the 2008 General Conference.
In other actions, the board:
¬∑ Approved legislation for the 2004 General Conference;
Learned that Heinrich Meinhardt, a board member, assisted in Africa
University's receipt of $30,000 from the church in Germany and two
professors from Germany will teach gratis for two years in the faculty
of health sciences;
¬∑ Heard that Africa University increased its student fees from US$3,950 to US$5,200 annually;
Learned that more than $7 million in financial assistance through
scholarships and loans was provided to 4,977 United Methodist students
by the end of 2002; and
¬∑ Heard that more than $2.9 million in scholarships were awarded to 2,245 students for the 2003-04 academic years.
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