As Jesus commissioned the disciples to go forth and spread the good news of salvation into all the world, our focus is not limited to only Southeast Georgia, but extends to organizations working internationally that respond to people in need. As such, the Foundation developed the Africa Initiative to effectively focus our grant making efforts in Africa.
The Africa Initiative (2011 - Present):
FOUR ORGANIZATIONS. ONE MISSION
In accordance with the new Strategic Plan for 2011-2015, the Foundation committed has five years to a collaborative initiative called Together. The Together coalition brings together four Christian agencies to carry out a joint development program. The coalition partners are:
MAP International, a global health organization that partners with people living in conditions of poverty to save lives and develop healthier families and communities by providing medicines, preventing disease, and promoting health.
Church World Service, a global relief organization that works to eradicate hunger and poverty and to promote peace and justice around the world. It supports sustainable grassroots development, disaster relief, and refugee assistance, and it educates and advocates on hunger-related issues.
ECHO, a global agricultural specialist organization that works to improve the abilities of international community development workers assisting poor farmers by providing useful, important information and by networking their skills and knowledge with each other. It also provides hard-to-find beneficial food plants and seeds.
And the SMUMC Foundation, which will provide the initial startup funding for the coalition and serve as an active partner of the coalition.
Together will work in Northern Uganda to serve the poor and marginalized while capitalizing on the core competencies of each organization. Through this integrated development program the coalition will mobilize active community participation where individuals, families and communities can take responsible action to improve their well-being. Community empowerment, holistic integrated development and spiritual growth are important dimensions of this joint venture. The goal of the program is to build community resilience in the region.
The SMUMCF commitment is to “seed” the initial program startup. However, the ultimate goal is to encourage other donors, churches, foundations, and individuals to join in support of this endeavor. Therefore, a donor advised fund has been established with the National Christian Foundation in Atlanta to provide a vehicle whereby grants and other donations can flow through to the implementing partners doing the work in the field.
Distributions from the fund are determined by the Together Coalition Council. The council consists of one representative from each of the partner organizations and is guided by a written, detailed Memorandum of Understanding.
Through this MOU, the Partners recognize that we are blessed to be in a position to help others, and that it is a privilege to provide these services. The collaboration is based on mutual respect by each Partner for the competencies of the other Partners. We join together in this project with Christ-centered humility to work together with the poor to improve their lives. This work is done to bring hope and healing in a broken world, but it is also done out of a shared call to participate in the kingdom of God and to bring glory to God. Thus, as partners, we seek to carry out God’s work and to acknowledge that God is responsible for what is achieved.
For More Information, please visit the Together website at www.togethercoalition.org.
The Africa Initiative (2004-2011)
GIS mapping courtesy of Gray Payne in collaboration with Nina Payne, Jowett & Wood, Inc. Consulting Foresters.
The Africa Initiativerepresents partnerships between St. Marys United Methodist Church Foundation and established Christian humanitarian organizations working in Africa for the benefit of children, particularly those who have been orphaned, but who also suffer the dire consequences of AIDS / HIV, war and famine.
Giving Children Hope
The Giving Children Hope program respresents a continuing partnership between Church World Service and the St. Marys United Methodist Church Foundation. The goal is to protect the rights of and to provide support to orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) living in the countries of Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and more recently Zambia and Mozabmique, who have been affected by HIV / AIDS, war and famine that they may by empowered to manage their own well being and the stability of their families,to participate in the social and economic development of their communities, and to live in the shelter of hope.
ECHO (Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization)
The Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization (ECHO) and the St. Marys United Methoidst Church Foundation have established a partnership to create regional offices and formal partnerships in East and West Africa. These partnerships will make the agricultural resources of ECHO more accessible to individuals and programs - especially those that support, care and train orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) affected by HIV / AIDS, war and famine.