East Ohio Conference Campaign Enters Public Phase

The East Ohio Conference campaign to build and furnish a dormitory for women at Africa University entered its public phase in January 2020, with more than $579,790.00 in gifts and pledges realized towards the goal of $1.5 million.

Bishop Tracy Malone and fellow trustees during February 2020 Board meeting.Initiated by Bishop Tracy Malone in June 2019, the "Teach • Reach • Bless" campaign is a response to the on-campus housing challenges associated with enrollment growth at Africa University. The initiative received overwhelming support when Bishop Malone, a member of the Africa University Board of Directors, presented it in her Episcopal Address at the East Ohio Annual Conference in June 2019.

“The East Ohio Conference campaign…affirms our long-standing support of Africa University and our shared value of providing students with wholesome housing accommodations and community life while pursuing their education,” said Malone.

An East Ohio Conference campaign to build two dormitories at Africa University in the 1990s met with tremendous success and the conference currently has more than $2 million invested in endowed scholarships for Africa University students.

“East Ohio’s ties to Africa University are deep,” said Rev. Dr. William McFadden, who along with fellow AU Advisory Development Committee member, Dr. Maggie Jackson, was appointed to co-chair the campaign.  Following the Episcopal Address at the annual conference, a steering committee for the "Teach • Reach • Bless" campaign was formed and every member of the committee as well as the Bishop’s cabinet made a financial commitment to the campaign.

“East Ohio is part of keeping the dream moving forward,” said Jackson. “Giving is ongoing. As ministry grows and evolves, there are always needs and we must continue to find ways to give so that East Ohio contributes to the ongoing development and growth of Africa University.”

New students check into dorms on campus.Africa University prioritizes higher education access for women. Currently, female students comprise 58.4 percent of Africa University’s total enrollment, compared to an average of 25 percent for other universities on the continent of Africa. Around 250 female students could not be accommodated on campus from August to December 2019. The university brought more than half of those students into on-campus housing in January, with the opening of a new dormitory donated by Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas. However, administrators expect that a significant number of female students will still have no option but to remain off-campus when the new academic year begins in August 2020.

“We know that women are among the most vulnerable in society and commuting to the Africa University campus puts female students at serious risk,” Malone said. “Some female students can find themselves in unhealthy relationships or living in unhealthy environments in order to have housing to attend school.”

United Methodist congregations and individuals across the Ohio East Episcopal Area are being invited to support the campaign financially and pray for the students, faculty and administrators of Africa University. This is a three-year campaign with December 31, 2022 set as the final date for receipt of gifts.

If you’re a member of the East Ohio Conference and wish to invest in the campaign, make your check payable to your church, and be sure to write Teach • Reach • Bless on the memo line. The amount collected will be sent to the Conference lockbox and included on your church remittance form under Fund 9915.

Visit the "Teach • Reach • Bless" page of the Conference website at www.eocumc.com/teachreachbless to learn more about the campaign. If you live outside the East Ohio Conference and wish to support this effort, visit support-africauniversity.org and click on “Make a Gift”. You may also mail your check, made out to “Africa University” with “Teach • Reach • Bless” on the memo line, to the Africa University Development Office, P O Box 340007, Nashville, TN 37203-0007.