Imagine No Malaria: Approaching the Finish Line


Imagine No Malaria bannerSPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Great Rivers Conference is nearing the finish line on its three-year, $2.5 million campaign for Imagine No Malaria.

As of Feb. 28, IGRC had collected $2,365,443 – which included $1,927,868 in contributions received along with $437,575 in pledge payments received. The total did not include the $17,832 received by the Conference office and remitted in the first week of March. That leaves the conference $116,725 short of the $2.5 million goal.

A Finish Line celebration is being planned for the opening night of the 2014 Annual Conference. Rev. Larry Hollon, executive for United Methodist Communications, which was the lead agency with the Nothing But Nets campaign that ignited the denominational effort, will be present to participate in the celebration.

Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton has urged IGRC congregations to take up a special offering during Lent for Imagine No Malaria.

“Bring your checkbook and I’ll bring mine,” Keaton said in preparation for the 2014 Annual Conference. “Let’s finish what we have started.”

Currently, there is $154,916 in unpaid pledges and another $25,448 in outstanding church goals. When those two amounts are combined with the cash in hand, we are over the finish line!

Funds were raised in a variety of ways to accomplish the goal. Trivia Nights, golf outings, special services, concerts, craft fairs, bake sales, soup luncheons, reverse offerings were just a few of the myriad ways United Methodists found to raise funds for Imagine No Malaria.

Here’s a brief timeline on where we have been with the Imagine No Malaria campaign:

  • June 2010 – In his episcopal address, Bishop Gregory V. Palmer challenged the Illinois Great Rivers Conference to raise $2.3 million. “We need to immerse ourselves in the vision of a world without malaria; dream dreams so big that without working together they cannot be done and absent God’s help we will surely fail. We need to attempt great things for God and expect great things from God.”
  • September 2010 – Bishop Thomas Bickerton, head of the United Methodist Global Health Initiative, reports urged collaboration in the efforts to beat malaria. He noted the goals of reducing childhood (under age 5) mortality by two-thirds and cutting worldwide poverty rates in half by 2015.
  • November 2010 – Imagine No Malaria releases its first installment of a $28 million pledge to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. In all, The United Methodist Church’s commitment is to raise $75 million. Funding from United Methodist Committee on Relief will be used to train African health boards providing delivery systems for malaria prevention, education and treatment – two years ahead of schedule.
  • Late November 2010 – Then-Spoon River District Superintendent Janice Griffith and Sangamon River District Lay Leader Pete Paulson are part of a delegation from Imagine No Malaria to distribute bed nets in Sierra Leone.
  • December 2010 – Campaign launched in the Spoon River District with a Celebration to Save Lives at Monmouth UMC.  IGRC Communications, in cooperation with Imagine No Malaria, establish resources for the Imagine No Malaria campaign.
  • March 2011 – Coin collection cans were made available to local congregations to collect spare change offerings to assist in the campaign. Although most fundraising campaigns are ladened with large “lead gifts” only one pledged amount exceeded $100,000, meaning the collection cans of small gifts combined to help IGRC attain its goal.
  • March 2011 – Reports say malaria deaths cut by one-third from the original one death every 30 seconds to one death every 45 seconds.
  • April 2011 – Actress Pauley Perrette, known for her portrayal of Abby Sciuto on the hit CBS TV show, NCIS, joins the Imagine No Malaria effort as one of its spokespersons.
  • September 2011 – The British Broadcasting Corp. reports that researchers will expand a clinical trial of a new malaria vaccine after promising results in a preliminary study in Burkina Faso, Africa.
  • October 2011 – Church leaders from the United Methodist Board of Church and Society, United Methodist Communications and the Board of Global Ministries urging Congress to avoid a 9 percent cut to malaria funding, saying that 3.8 million people in Africa would no longer have access to malaria treatment. Later in the month, philanthropist Melinda Gates praised The United Methodist Church, saying “the church has made malaria their business” by supporting Imagine No Malaria.
  • November 2011 – The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awards $3 million grant to Imagine No Malaria, bringing denominational efforts to more than $15 million.
  • May 2012 – Bishop Palmer announces that IGRC has raised 80 percent of its $2.3 million goal. The World Health Organization announces that malaria deaths have been cut in half, meaning “every 60 seconds a child dies of malaria,” instead of every 30 seconds.
  • August 2012 – A total of $50,000 was received by the Conference office for Imagine No Malaria, including $16,000  given in two farewell celebrations for Bishop Gregory and Cynthia Palmer at Normal Calvary and Fairview Heights Christ UMC, surpassing the 90 percent mark, leaving the conference with $255,000 to raise.
  • December 2012 – Bishop Keaton begins dreaming of an INM Christmas, challenging the IGRC congregations to finish out the Imagine No Malaria goal by year’s end, offering to don red flannel pajamas during the 2013 annual conference session.
  • May 2013 – Bishop Thomas Bickerton of the Pittsburgh Area joins the IGRC for its celebration of reaching its $2.3 million goal. In all, 720 of the 860 IGRC congregations have participated in the campaign. Illinois Great Rivers, along with Minnesota, are the only two annual conferences to have raised $2 million or more. Bickerton told how the IGRC inspired his conference (Western Pennsylvania) to raise its goal from $1.8 to $2.3 million. In the closing minutes of the annual conference, IGRC votes to increase its goal from $2.3 to $2.5 million.
  • September 2013 – A total of 20 different annual conferences have active Imagine No Malaria fundraising campaigns, joined by United Methodists in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Puerto Rico, Russia, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe West. In total, more than $53 million in cash and pledges have been raised toward the $75 million goal.
  • October 2013 – IGRC Coordinator of Congregational Development Mike Crawford raises more than $1,300 by running in the 36th Chicago Marathon. IGRC campaign has raised $2.145 million with $240,834 in outstanding pledges.
  • December 2013 – Imagine No Malaria reports raising $8 million in the last half of 2013, surpassing the $60 million mark. Four conferences – Holston, Illinois Great Rivers, Minnesota and Western Pennsylvania conferences – have raised more than $2 million each. Ten additional conferences begin financial campaigns, meaning 45 of the 59 conferences have now made financial commitments to the campaign.