AUF Support Remains Strong

Support for Africa University continues to grow among the local congregations of The United Methodist Church, (UMC). In 2016, the Africa University Fund (AUF) apportionment was number one among the seven general church funds.

United Methodist congregations invested close to $2.2 million into Africa University in 2016.  Earmarked for operational expenses, their gifts represented 94.85 percent of the goal set in the church-wide budget for last year. There were several appreciable gains for the AUF, including an overall positive trend in giving.

The number of annual conferences investing 100 percent of their asking to the Africa University Fund in 2016 rose to 34, its highest level to date. Four annual conferences — Indiana, Texas, North Alabama, and California Nevada — invested in the AUF at 100 percent for the first time.

For Indiana United Methodists, realizing this breakthrough whilst also completing a $1.6 million campaign to endow a chair in agriculture and scholarships at Africa University, was especially gratifying.

“We see the connectional witness of United Methodists increasing as a result of the good work of Africa University,” said Indiana Bishop Julius C. Trimble.

In the Texas Conference, where year-on-year giving climbed from 88.13 percent to 100 percent, Bishop Scott Jones commended the university for “providing wonderful leaders for the whole continent...well-educated, committed leaders with a strong foundation in Wesleyan tradition.”

Five annual conferences — Eastern Pennsylvania, West Michigan, New York, Oklahoma Indian Missionary and North Alabama — gave more than 100 percent. North Alabama congregations increased their year-on-year giving by 29 percent in 2016. They invested 113.80 percent of their asking to the AUF. 

“Investing in the ongoing ministry of Africa University is a way to make a profound impact on today’s and future generations," said Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, who leads the North Alabama Conference.

In the California Nevada Conference, giving to the AUF increased from 64.75 percent in the previous year to 100 percent in 2016. All but one of the eight conferences in the Western Jurisdiction gave at 100 percent. California Nevada’s dramatic shift put the Western Jurisdiction within a $456 of the goal of 100 percent across the board. 

“United Methodists see Africa University as a tangible success — a story of impact and hope — that they can all unite around and help to grow well into the future,” said James H. Salley, associate vice chancellor for institutional advancement.