Imagine No Malaria will get a million-dollar-plus boost, thanks to a generous gift from a lifelong United Methodist who just wants to give back – the largest gift to date from an individual donor.
“I think it’s important that we all give back in some small way to make this world a better place for folks to live,” said Barbara Ferguson, a laywoman from Los Altos UMC who is donating $1.1 million towards the California-Nevada Conference’s effort to raise $2 million to save 200,000 lives through the United Methodist Church's Imagine No Malaria campaign. “My heart was tugging and I believed that I needed to do it (give to Imagine No Malaria).”
Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, who leads the denomination’s Imagine No Malaria efforts, said, “I am overjoyed by the receipt of this gift … I pray that it will be multiplied over and over. This gift represents the next wave of giving; the large gift connected to the grassroots giving strength of Imagine No Malaria is a winning formula.”
Ferguson decided to make the gift after hearing a presentation by Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. of the San Francisco Episcopal Area, upon his return from a trip to Angola.
“Barbara is a marvelous example of living into our calling to be disciples of Jesus. She faithfully looks for ways she can make a difference in people’s lives,” said Bishop Brown. “I am extremely encouraged by the creative ways in which people in the conference are getting involved in the initiative. Even prior to Barbara’s commitment, we have saved more than 8,500 lives on the continent of Africa.”
Ferguson has been a member of Los Altos UMC since 1985, is one of the leaders for the church’s Stephen Ministry, and has worked as a volunteer in the finance office for 17 years. Her late husband Earl Ferguson had a successful career in the computer science industry and helped to develop two companies that were awarded four patents. Eventually, one of the companies, Foundry Networks, went public. Following Earl’s unexpected death in 2003, Ferguson and her family have continued to resource efforts to make the world a better place.
Just a eight years ago, statistics showed a child died every 30 seconds of malaria. Today, malaria’s impact has been cut in half. According to the World Health Organization (World Malaria Report 2011), the disease now claims a life every 60 seconds.
About Imagine No Malaria
Imagine No Malaria is an extraordinary ministry of the people of The United Methodist Church, putting faith into action to end preventable deaths from malaria in Africa, especially the death of a child or a mother. With a comprehensive approach to fighting this killer disease, Imagine No Malaria empowers the people of Africa to improve health infrastructure and achieve a sustainable victory over malaria.