Gates Foundation and United Methodists Meet

For several months conversations have been taking place in The United Methodist Church about an initiative to address global health concerns. Of particular interest is malaria. The people of the church have been enthusiastic and generous giving to Nothing But Nets which provides bednets to mothers with young children through the UN’s Measles Vaccination Program.
This interest has been inspiring. People are taking initiative on their own. Over the past year we estimate gifts from United Methodists (both pledged and in-hand) will approach three million dollars. This is quite a feat.

A major proposal is winding its way through consideration in the church to carry out a global health initiative that would emphasize working to end the diseases of poverty–HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. If affirmed, it would require partnerships with other groups who can bring global scale to the partnership and it would require cooperation across the entire church. It also will take years, if not decades, to see results.

Admittedly, it’s highly visionary. But that isn’t a negative, in my opinion. The church started hospitals and schools in the U.S. and in other countries with vision. Today some of those facilities are among the leading institutions in the country, if not the world. So, vision isn’t lacking in the history of the church. And to have this vision is not to be out of touch with reality.

So tonight I write from Seattle where, with a group of leaders of the church, we will meet with staff of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in an exploratory conversation to see if we have mutual interests and might find it useful to partner around these mutual concerns. It may be that the seeds of a partnership are being planted that will grow into a movement for global health that has the potential to bring meaningful change. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Join the conversation!

Post a reply in the form below.

Leave a Reply:

Gravatar Image