Bishop Delivers Historic Gift to Fight Malaria



Bishop Thomas Bickerton and the Rev. Gary Henderson (right) present Dr. Mark Dybul, executive director of the Global Fund, with a gift for $9.6 million, a donation from Imagine No Malaria, an initiative of the people of The United Methodist Church to eliminate malaria deaths. Photo by Jay Mallin, UMNS   See more photos

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton today presented a historic donation from the people of The United Methodist Church to the Global Fund. The gift of $9.6 million is the single largest contribution made by a faith organization to the Geneva-based institution. It came from United Methodists throughout the world who contributed to the Imagine No Malaria initiative through individual donations and grassroots fundraising efforts, ranging from pancake breakfasts to lemonade stands to 5K runs and the Pittsburgh Marathon.

“It is on behalf of and with much appreciation to the people of The United Methodist Church that we make this gift,” said Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, who leads the church’s Imagine No Malaria campaign. “Today we celebrate, with our partner the Global Fund, the work we are doing to end preventable deaths from malaria on the continent of Africa.  Our work is making a difference.”

The contribution makes The United Methodist Church one of the most significant non-government contributors to the Global Fund. The money will be used to purchase and distribute insecticide-treated bed nets and other tools to control malaria in Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

“The United Methodist Church’s contribution to fighting the scourge of malaria is admirable and outstanding,” said Dr. Mark Dybul, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “This money will allow hundreds of thousands of African children to sleep under a bed net, significantly improving their chances of living malaria-free lives.”

The check presentation was scheduled as part of an event on Capitol Hill that included lawmakers, United Methodists and members of a wide variety of secular and global organizations. It is among a number of global events held leading up to World Malaria Day on April 25. United Methodists have organized events for World Malaria Day to raise Imagine No Malaria funds with the theme of #BringChange.
In 2010, The Global Fund and the people of The United Methodist Church joined forces in the fight against malaria. At the core of this partnership is the Imagine No Malaria campaign, which puts faith into action by empowering the people of Africa to improve health infrastructure and achieve a sustainable victory over malaria. The partnership leverages the denomination’s network of hospitals and clinics in Africa and the powerful commitment of United Methodists, along with the scope and resources of the Global Fund to achieve impact on a greater scale than would be possible alone.

The United Methodist Church has pledged up to $28 million to help those at-risk enjoy malaria-free lives, and has raised $18.1 million for the Global Fund to date.  Imagine No Malaria is near its goal of raising $75 million for the battle against malaria.

The Western Pennsylvania Conference, where Bishop Bickerton serves, was a pioneer in the denomination's effort, which began with the Nothing But Nets campaign to provide insecticide-treated bed nets for families in sub-Saharan Africa. This June, at the WPAUMC Annual Conference session at Grove City College, representatives from local churches will bring a final offering for the INM campaign, which is set to end in 2016. 

Read op-ed piece Imagining No Malaria by Bishop Bickerton and the Rev. Gary Henderson